We all do it at some point or another, it’s a human behavior that’s natural and comforting. A food tastes delicious so we want more of it. Simple as that. Right? Well, yes and no.
Normally after we over eat, the shame factor creeps in and rears it’s ugly head front and center. We overindulge, feel like crap and sometimes even decide to keep eating because we’re already doing it.
I get it, and again, it’s silly to think we’re alone in this cycle. Here’s where I want to stop the boat and flip the psychology behind the overindulging and why this behavior can actually serve as a positive.
Let’s put the shame and guilt feelings aside for a moment and look at it from a different angle, okay?
- Overeating brings awareness. Yes, again, eating too much can definitely create the guilt but again, let’s look at it from an awareness perspective. Putting shame aside, let’s see it for what it is. We overate, simple as that. Overeating creates a sense of “yuck” I’m aware of how I’m feeling at the moment. Both mentally and physically doesn’t it? Take for example eating an extra piece of chocolate cake after we’re already satisfied from the first. We reach for the second slice, eat it and then feel full, bloated and uncomfortable. Be aware of that. Journaling it if we need to have a source to fall back on. A tangible answer to a behavior we engaged in. Awareness is the first step to many changes. Being aware of how that extra food makes us feel can bring immense clarity if we tune into that.
- Extra calories might be just what we need. Put aside the emotional factor in the feast and let’s look at it from a physical point of view. Maybe we needed that serving of pasta because we had been restricting a bit too much during the week. Ever notice that if we overeat and go to workout the next day we might even feel our best? That surplus of fat and carbs might actually provide a serge of energy for that last mile in our run. Viewing the excess as fuel and energy might be exactly what we need.
- Feasting can create enjoyability. Think of Thanksgiving. For many of us it’s a time of gathering and community with loved ones, friends and family. It’s a time for giving thanks and enjoying an abundance of food choices together. Let’s be real, not everyone wants to be around us if we’re super rigid and have a plate of bland chicken and asparagus. People enjoy community, likemindedness and laughter. I’m not saying we have to overeat to make and keep friends. What I’m saying is sometimes it’s nice to eat in abundance or foods we typically don’t eat because it’s nice to laugh and surround ourselves with friends and food. In the past, I was the first one to turn down a night out with friends because I was so afraid we were going to a pizza joint rather than a place to grab a salad. I know I missed out on fun times and a slice of pizza wasn’t going to make or break my diet.
Next time we overeat, take out the shame and try to look at it from a different point of view. Who knows, that might stop us from repeating it over and over again.
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Have a great day.