How to Stop Overeating and Listen to Your Body

Ready to stop letting food control you?

Do you struggle with overeating, or are you frustrated that you can never seem to find the balance you're looking for between hunger, fullness, and satisfaction with food?

Let me share some real words from women just like you. 

"Hey Elizabeth, my #1 struggle in my relationship with food is trusting myself to believe I can stop eating when I'm full. And then following through with that promise to myself. I always say, "I will next time." And then I never do and feel like I'm damaging my relationship of trust with myself."

Or this one from another client, 

"My biggest struggle is binging. I can go periods of time when I am being super uptight about what I eat and I don’t binge at all, but as soon as I relax a little bit I am back to binge eating."

Or how about this, 

"It is easy for me to plow through a whole row of Oreos before I’ve even realized what I’ve done. Then I beat myself up for doing that. Another thing I do is tell myself I’ll eat just one of something, and then again, eat way more than I intended."

Let me ask you, did any of those words feel like they were taken right from your mouth?

Finding a balance with food is a juggling act. We start by being so sure we'll stick to our new "diet" or "meal plan", but as soon as we get hungry or want something that's not on our plan, we end up clear on the other end of the spectrum - overfull and guilty. 

So, how do you stop overeating and listen to your body?

I'm Elizabeth and I'm here to help you achieve the balance you're looking for with your nutrition - to help you make peace with food once and for all. (watch the video or read the script below)

 

3 STEPS TO STOP OVEREATING
 

There are 3 simple steps to helping you stop overeating and binging. They are:

1. Recognize what hunger and fullness feel like to you
2. Throw out perfection
3. Have a flexible plan

 

RECOGNIZE HUNGER

Let's start with #1. Do you even know what hunger and fullness feel like to you? Everyone feels these feelings a little differently. I want you to visualize a scale from 1-10. 1 is the most starving you've ever been and 10 is what I like to call "Thanksgiving stuffed" (because I know you've been there!). 

When honoring our hunger and fullness, our goal is to avoid the extremes. Extreme hunger often leads to overeating. Then when you've overeaten, you feel guilty. It's a vicious cycle. 

Let's start with something simple. Take a minute to think about your level 3. You're not starving, but you're hungry. What kinds of signals does your body give you? Do you get a headache? Nauseous? Does your stomach growl? Do you get grouchy? (Or what I lovingly call hangry). 

Pick your top 1 or 2 signals - I call them signals because it's your body trying to tell you something - and then LISTEN TO IT. If you need a meal, eat a meal. If you only have access to a snack, eat it right then. The key is to listen and act. 

Now, what number should you eat to to feel satisfied but not over full? Well, we know 10 is not our goal. This is another chance for you to listen to your body. What do you feel like when you're satisfied with your food? Does a little voice in your head say "that's enough"? How many times do we ignore that little voice that is actually trying to tell us we'll be totally happy if we stop there? 

Remember, the key is to LISTEN and ACT. Try it out. Start listening to your body and you'll be surprised what you've maybe ignored listening to for so long!

 

THROW OUT PERFECTION

The 2nd step to stop overeating is to throw out perfection. Yeah. I don't know why we as women feel like we have to be perfect at everything we do, but I know I'm guilty of it! In fact, I've been known to not start something unless I know I can start it perfectly! It sounds ridiculous saying out loud, but it's true!

When it comes to diets and nutrition, we think we need a "perfect" plan to follow. A perfect plan that eliminates all sugar, carbs, and anything that's not "approved" from day one. By day 3 (or about 3 hours into it if you're me), you're miserable. 

Get rid of perfection. Let me say that again... GIRL, GET RID OF PERFECTION. 

It's not realistic and it's not good for anyone. If you eat one cookie, don't tell yourself to eat 10 more because you've already blown it. (and don't worry, we'll talk about that in more detail in another video - that's a big hairy beast of a topic) Try eating one cookie, ask your body how it feels, and then reevaluate. 

And, if you do "blow it", be kind. Ask yourself what events led up to the binge. Did you allow yourself to get too hungry? Were there emotions that got in the way? Did you feel like you needed something to "satisfy" you more than whatever food you were going to eat? 

Whatever it is, just be kind to yourself. Throw out perfection and accept that you'll make mistakes!

 

HAVE A FLEXIBLE PLAN

Last step. Have a flexible plan. If you're one to work through lunch or get busy and skip a meal, this is especially important for you. 

It's hard to hear the signals in your body telling you it's time to eat when you don't actually have anything around, or are in your car, or are not prepared. 

My advice is simple. Always have a little food on hand everywhere you go. It doesn't matter what it is, just have something that you know helps fill you up or satisfy you when you just need something. 

Mine is a bag of trail mix. It doesn't need to be refrigerated and it's a filling snack for me when I'm on the go. Find something that works for you and be flexible! Remember things won't go perfectly all the time. But, do your best to follow the 3 steps to help you avoid overeating and binging:

First, understand and listen to your hunger. 

Second, THROW OUT PERFECTION. 

and third, have a flexible plan. 

If you need more help with the concept of understanding hunger and fullness cues, read my blog post all about this with a free workbook to help you identify what this looks like in your own life.