Reviewed by: Casey Seiden MS, RD, CDN, DCES
There are a lot of reasons that people overeat, and it’s likely that you’re very familiar with your tendencies. That’s okay! Overeating is a perfectly normal mechanism by your body to make sure it has the nutrients and energy it needs to function. Overeating can also make it difficult to maintain your health goals, however. Reducing overeating can be difficult, but taking stock of your eating habits and what contributes to it is a great first step to having a healthy relationship with eating. Here are some ways to start changing your thinking about food as you schedule your consultation with a registered dietitian.
Get out of your head
Today’s diet culture and messaging makes eating more complicated than it needs to be. Messages about what foods are “bad” and what you “should” be eating abound, but you do have some agency over this! Your relationship with food can be nurtured in your mind. If you’re used to practices like counting calories, measuring portions or always reading food labels, you’ve likely experienced feelings of guilt after overeating or cravings for foods you’re not allowing yourself to have. The good thing is that you can begin to change this by recognizing your feelings about food and the rules you set in place for yourself about when you can eat and how much. By focusing so much energy on thinking about food and your eating patterns, it’s likely that your mind is in the habit which makes it more likely that you’ll act on it.
Listen to your body
This goes hand-in-hand with getting out of your head; start living in your body. Rather than scheduling mealtimes and practicing deprivation, it can be helpful to instead eat when you begin to feel hungry and pay more attention to your body’s natural cycles of hunger and fullness. This can help you stay satisfied and not trigger your body to crave more food if you’re eating until you’re full and eating when you’re naturally hungry rather than limiting your intake or eating periods.
On the other hand, only listening to your hunger and fullness does not always serve your body best. Ever gotten so wrapped up in a project and you’ve forgotten to eat for hours? Sometimes practicing “practical hunger” and scheduling a pause in your work day can be a helpful reminder to continue nourishing your body regularly.
Change your relationship with diets
Diets are notorious for being restrictive of different types of foods or amounts. Although diets can promise big things, it’s more likely that cutting yourself off from your cravings for long amounts of time can make you overcorrect. What’s more, diets can set you up for failure considering that the majority of people who use fad diets regain the weight within a few years, partly due to restricting yourself. Try not to pay too much attention to the latest diets and instead focus on eating in healthy amounts at regular intervals.
Schedule an Appointment
It can be difficult to change your eating habits for the better and set yourself up for success, but it’s not impossible! To meet with our registered dietitian and learn more about how to change your relationship with food, we invite you to contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.