When it comes to health and weight loss, I find that women land in one of two extremes; they are either overeating or undereating. In Part 1 of this 2-part series, I am talking about 5 signs that you may be overeating and why it’s keeping you stuck.
And I am also sharing 5 tips to overcome it. Are you overeating? Stay tuned to find out!
Are you feeling overwhelmed by life and all.the.things? Does it seem impossible to have even a single moment for yourself in the midst of the day-to-day chaos of life?
If so, I created something that I think will help you begin to take baby steps to find that time to focus on yourself for just a few minutes every week. This is the exact method I use every Sunday to get myself ready for the week.
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The other exciting news is that episode #100 of the podcast is getting closer and I will be doing an epic giveaway associated with that episode. So, you’re going to want to stay tuned and not miss a single episode!
Don’t Obese People Just Need to Eat Less?
For most of my life, I assumed that anyone who was obese, or just overweight for that matter, fell into the camp of people who overate. I thought that if these folks could just control their eating habits, they could lose weight easily.
However, as I began coaching women, what I found was the exact opposite.
Many of the women I have worked with are chronic undereaters. And undereating can cause as many weight issues as overeating. It’s not something we really understand as a society; hence the need for this two-part series on the consequences of not just overeating, but also undereating.
But, the fact is, some women do overeat. In this episode, I’m going to help you discern if that is you and if so, what you can do about it.
How Can You Measure Overeating?
One of the trickiest things about overeating is that it’s difficult to measure. What may be overeating for me would not necessarily be overeating for my husband or for you.
I do think, though, that there are some signs you can look for and some adjustments you can make if you decide that overeating is a problem for you.
Before I get into the 5 signs you may be overeating, I want to be very transparent with you and say that I fall into the overeating camp of women. When I went through my own health journey, I had to use the very tips I will share with you today to get my eating under control.
But suffice it to say that I have never struggled with undereating in my entire life. I use food to cope with circumstances, and I just generally have a hard time saying no to food.
Are you ready for the 5 signs you are overeating? Let’s jump in…
Sign #1- You Eat Until You Are Stuffed
If you tend toward overeating, you may know it because, at every meal, you find yourself eating beyond your comfort level.
Maybe you have to loosen your belt or unbutton your pants. Maybe you feel that uncomfortable pressure on your waistband. You feel too full. Maybe you think to yourself, “I should have stopped after the first serving of that.”
Sign #2- You’re Never Satisfied
Another sign that you might be an overeater is the feeling of never being satisfied. When you’re eating, you always want more.
Do you ever say something like, “It just tastes so good I can’t stop.”? If so, that’s a sign that you may struggle with overeating.
Sign #3- You Have a Scarcity Mindset
This is something I really struggle with. It’s the mindset that says there will never be this food that tastes this good again. So you have to eat as much as possible while you have the chance.
This seems to be a particular issue when it comes to eating out or having a special meal.
We feel like we won’t have it again so we have to eat more and more of it. And the fact is, other than a small set of circumstances like a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, we can replicate almost any food we enjoy.
Sign #4- You Eat Extremely Fast
This is one sign that I see over and over again in the women I work with. This is the woman who never puts down her fork to take a drink of water, to enjoy the taste of what she’s eating, or to engage in conversation with those around her.
It’s just a race to the finish. This woman is always finished eating before the people she’s eating with are done.
Sign #5- You Miss the Pleasure of Eating
Going along with sign #4 of eating too fast, when you do eat too fast, you miss the physical pleasures of eating.
You don’t really taste the food. You miss the flavors, the textures, the sheer joy of putting a bite of something amazing in your mouth, and chewing it.
When the meal is done, you might feel like you didn’t really taste it at all.
The Path to Success
The biggest problem I see with those who claim that their weight loss plan is the only way is that they almost never take into account whether a woman is an overeater or an undereater. And it matters.
If an undereater restricts food intake, she is going to move farther and farther from her goal, as her body tries to make up for the loss of calories. But for the overeater, limiting food amounts is exactly what she needs to do.
As you can see, there truly is no one-size-fits-all approach to health and weight loss.
Figuring Out Which Path You Should Take
When I begin working with a new client, the very first thing I do is assess their food intake. And this is what drives me crazy about most weight loss businesses and coaches. They just assume that less food is needed and their plans are all about eating less.
I have my new client track and log their food for 7-10 days so that I can see exactly what approach I need to take with this woman.
This is the most pivotal part of the journey for every woman I work with.
If I have a woman who is an overeater and she doesn’t decrease her food intake, she’s not going to meet her goals.
But if I have a woman who is an undereater, and I tell her to reduce her food intake simply because that’s what everybody tells overweight people, she is not going to meet her goals either.
The Honor Where You Are Step
This first step that I take with clients is something I call the “honor where you are” step. It’s a knowing and an acceptance of where you currently find yourself in your journey.
The problem is that too many women want to try the things that are working for Susie down the street without taking into consideration where they are right now on their particular journey.
Some of the things Susie is doing might work for this woman; I’m not saying they won’t. But we can’t decide what’s going to get you where you want to be until we know where you are right now.
I can’t guide a woman toward her health goals unless she and I both know where she’s starting from. Only when we have all the data can we lay out a path for success.
Creating a Path
Once we know where we’re starting from, the next step is creating a path to get where you want to be.
In order to figure out where you are, the first question to ask yourself is, are you eating 3 balanced meals per day? Do those meals contain a handful of protein, a handful of real food carbohydrates, (sweet potato, potatoes, rice) a thumbful or two of fat, and some type of vegetable?
If you are an overeater, this forces you to slow down and pay attention to what you’re really eating every day. Whether you’re eating meals or if you’re just grazing all day.
Listening to Your Body
Learning to listen to your body is one of the most important things an overeater can do when trying to get to a better place foodwise.
The reason this is is crucial for overeaters is because of what I mentioned earlier; we tend to eat very fast and so we miss the body’s signals that we’re getting full. When you eat too fast, you become disconnected from what the brain is trying to tell you and you get the message that you’re full too late.
I teach journaling and meditation in my practice because those are another way to get in touch with what’s going on in your body, outside of mealtime.
My tips for slowing down so that you can start to recognize the cues your body is giving are:
- Put down your fork between bites.
- Take a drink of water after every few bites.
- Socialize more during meals so that you stop eating to talk.
Don’t Fear Hunger
I think one reason many of us overeat is that we fear hunger. We are truly afraid to feel hungry.
I want you to remember that hunger is actually good. I have a chart that I use with clients that describes the 5 levels of hunger. Did you even know there are levels of hunger?
I know that many of you have only ever gone from totally fine to full-on hangry.
But you don’t have to live that way. If you learn to recognize when is the best time to eat a meal, you will avoid the hangry stage but you won’t lean toward eating a meal when you aren’t really hungry enough for a meal yet.
Has Food Become Your Safe Place?
One of the main reasons I do a whole lot more than just give women diet plans is that I know that for many of us, food has taken on a role it was never meant to take on.
Food has become our comforter, our safe place we go when our world feels very unsafe.
Until we examine ourselves deeply, we can’t get at the root of why, after a delicious dinner, we find ourselves in the pantry scarfing down Oreo cookies. Was it hunger that drove that action? Or was it something else?
If you are a woman who is often lead to eating foods that aren’t good for you, or you find yourself craving sugary foods often, you need to do a bit of self-coaching and simply ask yourself why.
Where Do You Find Yourself?
Now that you know some of the signs of overeating, do you find yourself there? Maybe you see the need to do some self-examination after listening to this.
Here’s what I know- if you do the self-examination but you don’t then create a plan of action, you are going to stay right where you are.
So, reflect on what I’ve shared today and be sure to join me next week when I do a deep dive into what it looks like to undereat. I think you might find yourself a bit in both camps.
There may be many layers of this onion that you have to peel back before you get to all the root causes. If you don’t know where to start, I am here to help.
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