How to Put the Brakes on Overeating | TMOHP Episode 072

Telling yourself to “stop overeating” is one of the least effective ways to change your eating habits. There are smarter, simpler strategies to break overeating cycles. Today I have a 24-hour challenge for you that you can use to reboot your relationship with food.

So much overeating and emotional eating happens because we’re on autopilot. Because we’re going fast - too fast. Because we tell ourselves we’re too busy to make a different decision or we eat without awareness and don’t feel satisfied. Overeating happens when we’re thinking so many thoughts at once about the expectations we have for ourselves (unrealistic expectations, usually). We feel overwhelmed, so we overeat. Today I want to challenge you to put the brakes on overeating by slowing down.

I have A LOT of suggestions about how to do this. Some may be obvious to you, and some may be ideas you’ve never considered. All of these strategies take the power away from food and overeating and put you in the driver’s seat.

In this episode:

  • A 24-hour challenge
  • Why braking, or slowing down is so powerful
  • How to break patterns of eating on autopilot
  • More ways to slow down than you’ve probably previously imagined

[If you love this podcast, will you take 30 seconds to leave a review? It makes all the difference in my ability to share this information!]

Featured on the show:

  • Join me for the free 5-day Freedom from Overeating Workshop for Smart, Busy Women. In less than an hour a day I'll show you how to create freedom from overeating in your own life.
  • Not sure why you’re overeating, or what your Hidden Hungers are? Take the free Hidden Hungers Quiz and get a free set of resources matched to your results.
  • Your Missing Peace  is the program for women ready to stop overeating and emotional eating for good. Enrollment is open and NOW is the perfect time to join us! Go here to learn more
  • Private Coaching. One-on-one coaching is for you if you’re looking for something completely individualized and specific to your situation. Openings are limited. Learn more here.

Enjoy the show?

Full episode transcript:

Welcome to the Too Much On Her Plate podcast. I have another episode for you, and today I am talking about how to put the brakes on your overeating. Actually, I'm going to do more than talk with you about how to put the brakes on overeating. I have a challenge for you. I have a challenge that I want to encourage you to accept and to take on just for today. I want to encourage you to practice slowing down. Slow down. Today. That's the challenge, to slow down.

So much, so much overeating happens because we're on autopilot. Because we're going fast. Because we tell ourselves we're too busy to make a different decision. Because we're living our life and it just happens. The overeating just happens and we don't even think about it. Or because we're unaware or kind of aware and we're thinking so many thoughts all at once about the expectations that we have for ourselves and what we expect ourselves to do and what it will take to change our eating. And then we feel overwhelmed and so we overeat.

Today I want to challenge you to practice slowing down. Just slowing down. This is one of the most powerful things that you can do to put the brakes on overeating. So let's start by really slowing down. If you're somewhere where you can. Stop for a moment, close your eyes, maybe put your hand on your heart and take a deep breath. Take another breath, and now slow that breath down. Try to slow it down just one little bit. Breathe a little more deeply, exhale a little more fully. Draw your attention to what is going on inside of you. Pay attention to what you're feeling. Notice what you're thinking. Notice how it feels to slow your body down for just a moment.

And now I want to challenge you to spend the next 24 hours practicing and experimenting with slowing down. Slowing down all the things related to your relationship with food. The things that go into your decisions about eating. The things that go into your eating. The habits that you have. The thoughts that you have.

So many people ask me, how do I stop the autopilot eating? Eating on automatic pilot without even thinking about it? How do I stop the stress eating, the boredom eating? How do I stop eating to reward myself? How do I stop the binging and the overeating at night? How do I not give into cravings? The thing is, there is not one cookie cutter answer to any of those questions that works for everyone.

There is an answer that will work for you, and you start to access the information that you need to get that answer by slowing down. So slow down before you eat. Practice and experiment with slowing down the process of choosing what to eat. Take your time. Allow yourself to make a choice. Slow down your responses to wanting to eat. Take a pause, take a beat.

Now, this is really important. I am not giving you some kind of encoded or secret strategy to try to trick yourself into eating less. That's not what this is about. This is about slowing down and really becoming aware of what is going on. What are the thoughts that you have? What are the feelings that you have? What are the impulses that you have that lead you to make the choices that you make about what to eat and when to eat, and how much to eat?

Slow down and pay attention to the responses that you have when you have a craving, for instance. So you have a craving and you really want to eat this thing the chocolate or the pizza or whatever. You have a craving. I want to challenge you for the next 24 hours to just slow down what you do with it. Without a secret agenda. That's, you know, a diet mentality agenda that's not what we're talking about here. Slow down.

What would happen if you watch the craving? If you just observe it? What would happen if you took your time letting it unfold? What would that feel like? What would happen if you were just patient with the craving? If you didn't try to force any kind of outcome? And if you weren't in a hurry to react right by either fulfilling the urge that you have or trying to suppress it.

Again, my challenge for you for 24 hours is just to slow down. Watch what's happening. Watch the craving. Be patient. Don't force it. Try not to have any expectations other than noticing what happens when you slow down. Notice the craving or the urge to overeat, or the desire to binge. Slow down and just watch it.

What happens when you slow down? Does that feeling, does that craving, does that urge get bigger? Does it get smaller? Does it come? Does it go? What happens inside of you? Do you get impatient or do you feel calmer? Do you start to feel jittery? Do you get distracted? Do you forget about it? What happens?

Notice your thoughts, too. Notice if you are telling yourself to do anything. I have this craving. I should do something, I should eat, I should not eat. I should go outside. What do you notice about what your thoughts are telling you is supposed to happen and what your thoughts are telling you that you are supposed to, in air quotes, do just slow down. And again, I'm going to keep reminding you, the challenge isn't to change anything but your pace for the next 24 hours. Go slow.

So that's going slow before you can go slow during eating. You can go slow while you are interacting with food. Slow it down. Give yourself permission to taste. Notice the taste. See if you can be in touch with the taste just a little bit more. Slow down and be aware of the texture of the food. Feel the food in your mouth. Slow down and tune into your body while you're eating. What's going on inside your body? Do you feel tense? Do you feel relaxed? Slow down and tune into hunger. Give yourself permission to be present.

And as you're slowing down and doing this, experiencing the moment of eating, you might also notice that you have all sorts of thoughts going on that are trying to distract you or that are telling you that you shouldn't be eating or that you've eaten too much or that you want to eat more. Just be curious. Give yourself space and time to learn about what your relationship with food is like for these 24 hours.

So be present while you're eating. Be present during the experience of eating, and give yourself some spaces in between the eating. Put your fork down as you slow down, and don't just put your fork down and your glass down, but actually lean back in your chair and take another breath and be slow. Be in the moment. Be aware of what it's like to be in this meal in between the bites. What does it feel like in between the bites? Slow it down.

While you're in the moment of eating, while you are in the experience, you can slow down and make decisions while you eat. Do I want this bite? Which bite on my plate do I want next? Do I like the taste? How am I feeling about the temperature of the food? Am I feeling more or less satisfied than I was a minute ago? Am I done? , when you slow down, you can ask yourself questions. And when you take away all the other rules and head games, you can observe what's going on and you can make decisions that are grounded in you and your power and what you want, and what you feel and what you need.

So slow down the process of eating over the next 24 hours.

The final part of this practice that I want to challenge you to participate in if you take me up on this experiment to really learn how to apply the brakes with your overeating. The third part is to slow down after. After eating. Slow down after the meal or after the snack, or if there's a binge after the binge. Slow it down. Take another breath. Take a couple of breaths. Notice any dialogue or conversation that may be going on in your head. Notice how you are talking to yourself.

Slow it down some more and notice how you feel. What are the emotions that you're aware of? Notice your body. How does it feel? Slow it down. Slow down the transition between the eating that just happened, and the next thing that you are going to do. Give yourself a transition between eating and the next thing. Take some breaths if you want to, again, keep taking breaths. There is not a limit on the amount of breath that you get to take. And then in that transition, decide what you want to spend your extremely valuable time and energy on next. Make a decision about the next thing you want to be present with.

Decide not just what you want to do, how you want to spend your time and energy, but also decide how you want to talk to yourself and the thoughts that you want to think. When you slow down you get the gift of moving from reaction mode and autopilot mode and just doing the next thing mode. When you slow down, you get the gift of the ability to decide, the ability to be intentional. You get the gift of the ability to be in control of your life. Slowing down is one of the most empowering things that you can do.

So many smart, busy women who are frustrated with overeating or emotional eating, who feel like food is running them, who are so tired of the time and energy that is going into trying to control their relationship with food. So many, so many of the women that I talk to are going way too fast to be able to be present in a way that would even make it possible to make the choices they want to make with food and with eating and with how they take care of themselves.

So many women have lost their power to food and to overeating because everything is moving too fast and because they are in reaction mode. One of the most empowering things you can do is to slow it down. Slow it down. Put the brakes on. And notice what happens. That's the challenge that I have for you today. It is a powerful one, so go for it.

And if you're up for it, come join me on Facebook. Come join our private too much on her plate, Facebook group, and let me know what happened for you when you slowed down.

I'll talk to you soon.


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Your Missing Peace is the psychologist-designed program that provides the tools, the support, the coaching, and the confidence to create freedom from emotional eating and overeating. Finally - emotional eating help done right! Your Missing Peace is specifically designed for smart, high-achieving women who are DONE with diets, who want a lasting solution, and who are ready to take their power back from food, from overeating, and the scale. 

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