It’s not just you. Nobody feels fantastic after they eat uncontrollably. Sometimes we feel like we just can’t stop. Then when the bag, the box, the bowl, and the pint are empty, we feel eaters’ remorse.
There are some things you can do right away to begin feeling better about what happened. I’m a recovering emotional eater and stress eater, and I’ve lost and forever kept off 75 pounds without dieting. I’ve had thousands of eaters’ remorse moments in my life, and with these remedies, I’ve kept the guilt and fog to a bare minimum:
REMEDY #1: Clear the area.
Don’t just sit amongst the big pile of empty Dove chocolate wrappers. You’re sitting there with the empty pizza box and the empty bag of tortilla chips, and feeling worse and worse while it’s in your view. I recall when the restaurant owner I worked for told all the servers to immediately remove a customer’s plate if they weren’t happy with the food. Staring at a mess doesn’t make you feel better about it.
Throw out the evidence, not to pretend it didn’t happen, but to press re-start. You create your future in the present moment. Use this moment to acknowledge what happened and that you didn’t feel good about it. Learn from it. Then take the garbage outside. Wipe off the counter. Clear the counter of all food containers. Re-set the table. Sit somewhere else.
REMEDY #2: Create a moment of wellness.
Like I said earlier, you create the future in the present moment. Maybe you’ve completely stuffed yourself and feel bad about it, but you have the choice and an opportunity to transition from feeling bad to feeling better.
Don’t wait until the next day to start over. Don’t wait until Sunday to start over. Don’t wait until Monday to start over. Always start over in the present moment.
What can you do right away to create a feeling of health? Drink a tall glass of water. Slice some raw veggies to snack on the next few days. Take a short walk. Do some stretching. Give yourself a foot massage. Put on a great song and shake it out for 3 minutes. Eat something light and healthy for your next meal.
REMEDY #3: Be kind to yourself.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is something my friend Randi told me: “Be kind to yourself.” In permanent black marker, I wrote it on a neon pink strip of paper and taped it to the fridge.
During and after your episode of overeating, you’ll probably say some pretty mean and hurtful things toward yourself, especially if this has happened over and over again. Self-compassion is the antidote. Talk to yourself gently. I may say something like, “Okay, that’s not what I wanted to happen. It’s okay if I feel bad momentarily, but I’m a good, smart person and I will make a better, quicker decision next time.”
REMEDY #4: Do better next time.
If you’ve had a habit of overeating for years, it’s unrealistic to think you can stop it from happening ever again. It’s smarter to expect that it will and already have a simple strategy ready!
What I love to say as I notice that I’m feeling “unstoppable” with my ice cream spoon is this, “Now would be a good time to put this away.”
See how direct? And also, see how kind and gentle and true? Beating up on yourself isn’t a workable strategy because creating a new habit from lack or fear or guilt doesn’t work. That’s why “OMG, Erin, why can’t you stop eating?!” doesn’t work. It’s also why, “I’m so out of control and I can’t stop” doesn’t help the situation either. You can be direct and loving simultaneously.
Now that you have these super-smart and gentle remedies, you can ease into a better relationship with yourself and with your eating practices. If you’ve been overeating or feeling uncontrollable for awhile, it’ll take some time, but it IS possible to have these episodes hardly ever happen.
When the urge to satisfy your craving happens, ask yourself what you’re desiring to feel. Are you desiring a feeling of happiness? Comfort? Safety? Satisfaction? When you have an answer, ask yourself what else can provide that feeling besides food, that will be healthy and nourishing.
What did you learn here that you’ve never thought of before? Comment below.
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