Ever wish you could back in time and stop yourself from eating something indulgent, fattening or too sweet?  Often our bodies tell us clearly when we have made a bad food choice by sending us a signal through a stomach ache, headache, gas, bloating or cramps.  If only our bodies could stop our hands from grabbing that food in the first place!   We live in a society where food is abundant and cheap, despite the rising food costs, – and at a cost where quality is cheap too.

We live in a society where food is abundant and cheap

We are eating more calories than ever before,  but receiving less nutrition. It is ever so easy to just grab something to snack on without thinking. 

While overeating is a problem, and indulgence is a vice, it is important to look a bit deeper and ask yourself WHY you are grabbing those mallomars or that second piece of chocolate cake in the first place. It is an emotional response to something at work, home or a relationship? Are you unhappy with your body, place in life or job? Are you mindlessly eating to forget something? Or do you just like to munch on something while you are bored, or because you need distraction? There are many reasons for mindlessly overeating – even things in our past can come up and haunt us, causing us to reach for the bag of chips and just not stop. 

We can’t change the past, but we can prevent future occurrences of overeating. Maintain portion control, and set yourself up for success by limiting your exposure to those weaknesses.  I have several weaknesses, but my main one is chocolate chip cookies, so I just don’t keep them in the house. I consider them special treats and will buy ONE when out and about near our neighborhood bakery. I sit on the bench and enjoy it, then walk away satisfied.  If I kept a bag in the house, they’d all be gone by tomorrow. Not sure what it is about them, I think it is the softness, the gooey center – all remind me of a happy childhood and when I am not feeling great, I just want to go back to that place.

Another way to prevent overeating is to make yourself balanced meals. Research shows that eating balanced meals help to eliminate sweet cravings. Fill up your plate with 1/2 veggies, 1/4 whole grains and 1/4 proteins and your body will feel more balanced and satisfied.

So before you take another cookie, mallomar or piece of chocolate, check in with yourself. Do you REALLY need it? What does it mean to you? Will you feel bad afterwards?  What could you do instead of eating – perhaps write, listen to music, talk to a friend, go for a walk, etc.?

For more information on mindless eating, check out Brian Wansick at mindlesseating.org. He has done fascinating research on the topic.