Do you ever find yourself reaching for seconds when you’re already full? Or grabbing a snack a half hour after a meal? Maybe you look down at the empty plate in front of you and barely remember eating?
Part 1 of this series lays the framework for you to get a handle on over-eating.
Let Me Introduce You to Abandoned Cat Syndrome
You know how a stray cat eats everything in sight because he doesn’t know when his next meal will be?
My warm-hearted mother-in-law has been rescuing stray cats for as long as I’ve known her, and there is a consistent pattern to each stray she brings into her home. After she sets him up with a never-ending food bowl, a few months later that same scrawny cat has a pouchy belly that sways back and forth when he walks.
This phrase came about when my husband (lovingly) compared me to his mom’s cats and their endless eating.
The solution for cats is to restrict food and meal times. But this doesn’t work on you or me because we can just go over to the cupboard and grab more food anytime we want.
Plus, I don’t know about you, but if I give myself restrictions and flat-out rules, I feel deprived and end up over-eating at my next meal or eating less than stellar choices to compensate.
The Solution is a Simple Mindset Shift
Tell yourself that you can eat all the delicious whole plant foods you want. You just have to…
Space eating out across the day.
(There’s that whole “time is what keeps everything from happening all at once” concept again.)
I have a lovely client I’m working with on this. When she finishes eating a meal, she tells herself that she can have more, just not right now. Maybe in three hours, if she still wants it. In fact, she actually packs away a second portion when she serves herself and puts it in the fridge for later.
Practice this mindset shift at your next meal. Remind yourself it’s not your last meal ever, and the food isn’t going anywhere. If there are leftovers, you can have more… but later on in the day. Or maybe tomorrow. There will be another chance.
If you need extra help, here are two effective ways to keep yourself from going back for unnecessary seconds.
Two Tried-and-True Ways to “End” Your Meal:
Brush your teeth
This signals that the meal is done and over with. Any new food you put in your mouth breaks that clean feeling.
Go for a walk
This allows some time for you get out of eating mode. By the time you get home, you’ll be ready to move on to something else.
Next week, in part 2 of this series, I’ll introduce my surprising method for curbing over-eating (you’ll probably never guess).
I just want to clarify that this is not about restricting calories. The goal is to work towards intuitive eating and stop when you are full, and it’s for those of us that continuously push past that point.
Now your turn.
What’s your trick to keep yourself from reaching for unnecessary seconds? Share in the comments below.
P.S. In Vegas June 20th, 2014,? Join me at Sensory Summer Explosion.
I’ll be guiding guests through sensual, mindful eating with a nourishing, indulgent vegan meal by one of my favorite local chefs, Leslie of Garden Grill. What a way to spend a Friday night!
Here’s a sneak-peak video for Sensory Summer Explosion to hold you over until next week’s post. Hint: this has a lot to do with next week’s post!
Update 6.23.14 – We had a blast at SE. I’ll post a video of my talk on falling in BodyLove through mindful eating soon. 🙂