It’s a trap that many of us fall into and one that the majority of us want to avoid, so why is over-eating such an issue for so many people? Well first of all, the obvious answer – food is generally delicious and enjoying a good meal makes us feel good about ourselves. Then on top of that, there’s the social factor. Eating out with friends is a fantastic way to unwind and when we’re indulging in some social relaxation, it can be all the more difficult to say no to your favourite dessert.
So how can we avoid over-eating and move towards a healthier attitude towards food? First of all, denying yourself all of the foods you consider to be bad foods is the biggest mistake. For many people, what they aren’t allowed is all the more tempting and a total ban is likely to make healthy choices all the more difficult. This is especially true of those who are following a strict diet. Although consuming too many treats will obviously be a huge hindrance to your diet efforts, rewarding yourself for progress every now and then is a good motivational move.
Secondly, avoiding certain nights out where you know you will be tempted to over-indulge, be it with food or alcohol, is also a good idea. That’s not to say you should stop going out and eat only at home, but making sensible choices about the nights out you do have, and the people you have them with, will help you to have greater control over your diet.
Analysing your bad food behaviours to better understand your food choices is something I would recommend everybody does. If you are aware that you are more likely to over-eat during periods of unhappiness or if you over-eat to celebrate something, then you can use this knowledge to help yourself. For example, if you know that you are heading towards the fridge because you’re sad about something, then you will understand this is an instinctual reaction and you can do something positive instead. Try going for a long walk or even going to the gym. The endorphins you’ll get from exercise will far outweigh the temporary high from indulging in a feast. Similarly, if you know you eat unhealthy foods when you are celebrating an event, then you can either avoid food in such situations or make sure that there are healthy options available too.
Learning to control your over-eating can be a long process, especially if you have struggled to stick to a diet before. However, the confidence that knowing you have mastered this control can give you will quickly encourage you to continue making positive choices, leading to a happier and healthier you all round!