How To Stop Overeating: Part 1

Stop overeatingAre you a finisher? Do you typically eat until all the food in front of you is gone? Would you like to stop overeating?

If the answer is yes, you are certainly not alone. But you know that finishing everything regardless of whether you’re hungry or not will give you a gift you may not really want: extra pounds.

Naturally slim women (and men) eat differently. They eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re not.

Maybe they will overeat on rare occasions… like Thanksgiving, or on holiday in an exotic place. But mostly, they simply stop when they’ve had enough.

So, how do these magical people accomplish this herculean task? Well, they pay attention.

They pay attention to how the food feels in their body. And they notice that beginning sense of a slight fullness.

The food they’re eating begins to lose its allure. And they don’t like feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. So they make a quick, body-based decision: stop now.

This isn’t a struggle that they debate and weigh the pros and cons of, because there is no drama for them. And, they know that they will eat again the very next time they’re hungry.

How do the rest of us non-naturally slim people stop eating? Most commonly, we stop when the food is gone.

Or when we’ve simply run out of steam. And when we are physically uncomfortable.

If we’ve eaten from uncomfortable emotions to start with, we might stop when the eating has sufficiently distracted us from whatever was driving us to eat.

As you can see, there’s quite a gap between the stopping habits of the naturally slim and the rest of the world.

In the beginning, as babies, we all were natural eaters. If we were hungry, we cried and mom gave us a bottle or breast. And when we were done, we were done. We stopped.

No question about it. Nothing could entice us to eat when we weren’t hungry anymore. We were masters at getting our needs met.

Fast forward 20 or 30 or 50 years and here were are, having forgotten the basics of when to eat and when to stop. But, the good news is that we can relearn how to do this. It’s a learnable skill. You can learn how to stop overeating.

Here’s what you need to re-learn in order to stop overeating when you’re no longer hungry:

First, you need to be able to read your body. And so you need to sit down and get grounded.

Check in and decide if you are hungry. It’s really helpful to do this both before you eat and midway and three-quarters of the way through.

Know that in matters of hunger, the body rules. Your mind may decide where to go on your next vacation, but it’s your body’s’ domain of when to eat and when to stop.

I love something that Geneen Roth once said: Your mind will see food and always want more. The wanting is endless. Your mind has no limits.

But your body has limits. It can only hold so much. And in knowing when to stop eating, you need to go with your body.

Know there will be more food if you stop. And, if you’ve created the habit of being a finisher, know that creating a new pathway in your brain will involve some discomfort. Not deprivation, just discomfort.

Things will get easier. But start here. Know that the path to slim is knowing when to stop.

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