Okay, so you’ve tried eating without distractions and pacing yourself. You even went to your three trusted go-tos, but you still want to keep eating and you don’t know why. However, you know it’s not physical hunger. It can be helpful to understand the reasons why the desire persists.
Sometimes it’s the set-up that leads us to keep wanting more. It’s going to take practice to understand the reasons.
Here are some examples of situations that set you up for wanting to eat more, even when you know you are physically full:
You chose something you really
As I mentioned, satisfaction doesn’t just come from being physically full but also from being sensually satisfied, meaning you enjoyed what you ate.
• You can prevent this by exploring what you really want before you eat. This is where choosing ANY fist of protein and ANY fist of carb, regardless of how healthy it seems, can be helpful.
• If you realize part way through eating that you don’t really like what you’re eating or you’re not enjoying it, stop. Switch to something else or decide to wait until the next time you’re hungry to get what you really want.
• If you realize you don’t like what you’re eating, but there are no other options, decide that you will get something you love the next time it’s possible.
You were distracted while eating.
If you weren’t paying attention to your food and instead were focused on the gripping movie you were watching, your brain didn’t get to enjoy the food — it was watching the movie!! You might be physically full, but the eating experience didn’t really register. Practicing non-distracted and paced eating tips help avoid this.
You were eating something extraordinary.
In other words, you were eating something that you don’t normally eat or have access to. Fear that you won’t get that particular food again can bring about feelings of future deprivation that can promote overeating to “store up” the experience.
While you might not be able to have that exact food again, such as when you’re visiting a country that you likely won’t visit again, think about how you might recreate the experience at another time when you are hungry. You might think about learning to make the food or checking your local neighborhood for similar foods.
You were triggered by environmental cues.
The following external cues can lead to overeating: too much food on your plate, not wanting to waste food, eating to get your money’s worth (think all-you-can-eat buffets), trying to fit in and keep up with your fellow eaters and so many more!! ONE-TWO PUNCH can help you visualize what and how much you are eating so the outside distractions can be shut down.
You were responding to an emotion.
When a craving or drive to eat doesn’t come from physical hunger, eating won’t satisfy it. You will want to keep eating, thinking that at some point it will be enough. But, you weren’t hungry in the first place.
Eating has served as a distraction, but you are still left with the boredom, stress, loneliness, frustration, sadness that was present when you began. To prevent this it’s important to resist eating when you know you’re not physically hungry and search for something else to respond to the emotion.
Check out the feeling lists in this section to help in your exploration of emotions. They are categorized into four generally titled sections, but I think you’ll see that not every emotion fits neatly within a category.
For instance, is “shocked” an exact feeling of anger? Is “ambivalent” an exact feeling of afraid? The categories are meant to guide you as you search and explore your emotions. Don’t get caught up in where a particular emotion fits.