Recently I received an email from a reader that I wanted to share with you guys….
Hey Beth~ Right now I am really struggling with moderation. I eat well and exercise regularly during the week but, for example, on the weekends or Fridays I will hang out with friends (which I don’t want to stop doing) and we eat relatively healthy things (our tradition is the in-house made guac from whole foods) but I have no control on moderation. I just can’t stop eating. I feel full and “gross” until the next day, but for the most part, I will repeat every weekend. It is an internal battle in my head that I mostly lose. I feel like every weekend derails my nutrition goals. I’ve tried writing things down that I don’t want to eat any more. For example, I have been fantastic about not eating any type of chip or fries. But horrible about not eating sugars or peanut butter. Help!
Ugh, we’ve all been there my friend. For some, it’s a weekend thing and for others it’s a nightly ritual….we usually don’t sit down with the intention of eating until we’re sick. But you get home from a long day of work and it feels like all you have the energy to do is sit in front of the tv and eat. So we do. We eat dinner and then dessert and then we’re craving something salty and before we know it, we find ourselves waddling to bed full of food and regret. We scold ourselves for being so weak. We promise ourselves that we’ll remember this feeling and never eat like that again…
Yet, we find ourselves back there more often than we care to admit. Why?
I thought about it and came up with what I believe are the 3 main reasons for why we tend to do this and offer you a tool to help deal with each:
1) Food FOMO
FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. I first heard this used in terms of food by my coach, Jill Coleman. Sometimes it’s being afraid of missing out on the actual food itself and other times I think I’m more worried about missing out on the experience. When you’re at a social event and everyone’s gathered around the buffet table, munching and chatting and laughing, I don’t want to miss out on that so I stay with the group and I munch and chat and munch some more.
The solution to this? Honestly I think it might be the opposite of putting all those foods that tempt you off limits. It’s actually been proven that your desire for something grows when you know you can’t have it. Perhaps, that’s the reason for the weekend binge. You’ve resisted it all week. You know it’s the only time you’re able to have it. So that desire for guacamole goodness that been building all week in anticipation of Friday of course wins out over any kind of reasonable thought process.
*The fix: Allow yourself to have those foods during the week….in specified portions.
DO NOT just grab the bag and sit down on the couch. We all know that never works!
Give yourself a predetermined amount. That means decide now what a reasonable amount is and stick to that. Allowing yourself to have some each day should cure your food FOMO. After all, why would you have it if you know you can have some chips and guac every day?! 🙂
2) Mouth boredom
When there’s tons of amazing food every where you look, it’s hard not to think about it. The more you think about it, you start convincing yourself that you’re still hungry or that you just absolutely MUST have this particular food right now!
*The fix: Sometimes you just need a diversion to get your mind and your mouth off of food!! My two favorite tools for this are mint gum and water/tea. Both of which are natural appetite suppressants. Although usually we don’t need an appetite suppressant as much as just a distraction for our mouth.
I think this is probably the most common reason.
At the end of the day or week, we’re feeling drained and looking to kick back. We don’t want to have to think about food. Our willpower is exhausted and all we have left to fall back on is HABIT. And changing a habit, well, that takes mindfulness and deliberate practice. Moderation is not a switch you can simply flip on and off. It’s a PRACTICE. So here’s my favorite and most helpful way to practice and get better at this (I also learned from this from Jill 🙂 ).
*The practice: Take a third of a protein bar and put the rest back. Savor and enjoy that one third, then go DO SOMETHING for at least 10 minutes. If you’re still thinking about the protein bar after that, go have another third. Then go do something for at least 20 minutes. If you still really want more, then you can go finish the bar. However, you’d be surprised at how many times you’ll forget about it after the first or second helping.
Protein bars can be really addicting which is why I used that example, but in all honesty, I do this practice with cookie dough ice cream. I give myself 2 spoonfuls. 😉 You can do this anywhere with anything, but it’s usually easier to start off practicing it at home!
I know this might sound kinda silly, but if you’re serious about wanting to get to a place where you can enjoy food and parties without the uncomfortable stomach feeling or the regret, then you have to find a way to build up your willpower and reset your habits. Imagine being able to have the foods you want and NOT completely derail your goals! THIS is a worthwhile practice!
But it is still a practice. Be ready to mess up. Be willing to look back and figure out how you need to do differently next time. Be patient with yourself. Be persistent and unwilling to give up.
Is this helpful? What tools do you use to prevent yourself from going all in on the weekends?
*Interested in Colorado Springs kettlebell classes? Check out my in-home training studio, Springs Kettlebells!*