It starts with a craving, a little voice telling you to reach for something more. You've finished your meal, no signs of hunger but you start feeling snacky. You open the fridge grab some fruit..nope, not satisfied. You move to the cupboard, its got to be salty you are after, you grab the half eaten bag of chips, better polish it off. You know what's great with salty? Something sweet! Back to the freezer, ice creams calling.
Those late night snacks, searching the fridge to satisfy a craving, eating past the full feeling..anyone relate? I've come to learn first hand this behavior is almost always driven by a craving. I haven't tackled the subject on the blog and want to share my experience.
You can easily fall into the deep end searching for answers to why you overeat. What if we looked at overeating as just a habit. Just like any other bad habit, there's a way to change it. So you may feel stuck in the habit of overeating, but stop focusing on the actual behavior (eating). Turn your attention towards the trigger that initiates the habit, the craving.
Overeating in my opinion, comes from cravings.
There are two types of cravings:
Your diet is lacking something and trying to compensate. Example: I've seen this in a lot with clients I coach. They come to me complaining that they can't stop eating at night. With a simple look at their diet during the day, I find they are way too low in protein, they are cutting all carbohydrates or keeping calories too low. Then they find themselves ravenous at night, searching for carbs and sugar. This is the body's way of screaming for calories fast, because it feels starved.
Emotional food cravings. Look at it this way, if you’re by yourself at night, watching tv and are drawn to the thought of snacking your way through the evening, ask yourself why. Are you lonely in that moment, did you have a stressful day? Tune into your body and listen to what you really need, it usually isn't more food. And hey, some of us just have a fun time eating carefree, and that's great to do on occasion! But if it's a regular occurrence, what is it costing you? Extra weight on your body, lack of confidence, low energy?
Action Plan for the Overeater:
Make sure your diet is balanced. Most people eat the same things out of habit and aren't aware of the daily macronutrient balance (protein, fats and carbs) they need. I am happy to help you find that balance, it is such an easy fix to help get rid of the late night cravings. Alternatively, you can track your food for a week and see if it looks like you have an overall balance.
Journal. Figure out what you may be craving in your life and not getting. Connection, love, fun etc. These missing feelings can leave us with trying to fill ourselves up in other ways.
Try to make your life as stress free as possible. Often times overwhelm and stress triggers cravings, especially for things like sugar. Know that eating the sugar to try and help this will only further stress the body. Deep breathing, meditation and a big thing for me is making sure my home and work space is organized. Your physical environment has such an incredible effect on how you feel.
Get Support. Someone to talk to, to motivate and coach you to rewire habits. To bring in new healthy habits that are aligned with your goals!
*If it's serious binge eating you are dealing with, I highly recommend the book "Brain Over Binge", it has some great insights.
I hope these tools help and motivate you to get control of any bad habits, whether it's overeating or something else.
Look at your goals,
what habits are standing in the way of you achieving them?
Defining my goals, and taking inventory of my habits was key in my weight loss journey. When you are aware of what's holding you back, the easier it is to make an action plan for things to change.