WHAT YOU DO WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE EATING UNNECESSARILY
I will edit this post later…but it is still legible
This week, I had many people asking me about the subject above. We have dealt with this topic before, but I have tried to respond to it again in a slightly different way. I have always said and I will say it again that I do not have an eating problem. Since, you ask, I would share some of the strategies I think work for me to prevent me from over eating…
I wish to say that there is no single perfect strategy to avoid over eating. Thus, choose a strategy that works for you. It could be a strategy, which you have personally developed or it could be a strategy, which you have borrowed elsewhere. If you do not know, which strategy to follow, below are some strategies to avoid over eating. In this article, I discuss only strategies, which I developed or borrowed elsewhere. I used these strategies over a period of years. Then, I chose and kept those strategies, which worked for me. It works perfectly when you combine strategies. Yet, it is not possible at times to use all strategies at once. Sometimes, we are in an environment, where we cannot use certain strategies. Or, we might not have resources at times.
The following are some strategies to avoid over eating:
- SCRIPTURE-RECALL STRATEGY: My first strategy might not to be applicable to all. Yet, its principle is very useful. I think of over eating as an action against both God and my body. As a result, I avoid over eating most of the time. I consider over eating like any other act, which God wants me to avoid doing. God said, “Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh. For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty” (Proverbs 23: 20-21). We know that the word poverty here is symbolic of any negative outcome of being a glutton. Over eating might include health issues like overweight—though not all overweight issues result from over eating. If you see some of the Bible passages, which talk about over eating, they talk also about drunkenness (See Luke 21:34; Matthew 11: 18-19, etc). The relationship between over eating and drunkenness is addiction. If one tends to over eat for a long time, it might turn into an addiction or it might have a strong hold over someone’s life just like alcohol does. Therefore, one needs God’s help. God is spirit. Thus, sometimes, He works through humans. One might need human-professional help to rid over eating when it turns in addiction. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob his young brother because of his strong appetite for food (Genesis 25:33). Consequently, he lost privileges, which went with being a first-born child. Interesting, Esau was a great hunter, while Jacob lived in tents [Genesis, ibid: 27], and Isaac—his father—loved him because of wild meat [Genesis, ibid: 28]. Yet, Esau could not control his appetite. He lost his birthright over bread and a red pottage [Genesis, ibid: 31-34]. Like Esau, we can lose our birth entitlements—our human rights—if we cannot control over eating. For instance, we might develop health problems and lose our chance to work for a better life style, or fail to walk, etc. God says, “And put a knife to thy throat if thou be a man given to appetite” (Proverbs 23:2). This verse does not literary mean that one must commit suicide to avoid over eating. It means that one must control one’s appetite. We know through Galatians 5: 23 that we have the Spirit of temperance—which is self-control. Thus, we must not be afraid or give up fighting over eating. God have given has the Spirit of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). The Spirit of power denotes the view that we can conquer over eating, while the Spirit of a sound mind connotes the view that we can think clearly about our abilities to control over eating. If we find that we cannot control over eating, our sound mind should make as seek help before it is too late. Or, the people around us should make sure that we seek help on time. The Spirit of love entails that we must choose to love ourselves so much that we avoid indulging in any act—including food—which could destroy our bodies. We can do anything through Christ Jesus, who strengthens us (Philippians 4: 13). God promises to proper, help and give us hope for the future (Jeremiah 29:11). I love staying with God. I do not like letting go of God because my world crumbles without Him. When God is by our side, we can over come anything, which we want to.
- PAUSE-QUESTION-STOP STRATEGY: I call this strategy pause-question-stop because it helps me to pause and analyse the situation before engaging in over eating. Each time I want to touch the food or its container such the fridge or pantry, I pause shortly before touching, and question the reasons I want to touch that food or its container. If my answer is eating, I question whether I am hungry or I want simply to eat the food. So, if I find that I want simply to eat the food, I probe further the reasons I want to indulge into that food. If I find that I just want to eat something small as a habit of chewing something while watching TV, I do not deprive myself. I eat that food, but I make sure that its calories are not above my daily in take. Yet, if I find that I was thinking about something DISTURBING before choosing to eat, I stop myself from eating that food immediately. I call my name aloud and tell myself aloud to stop touching that food or its container immediately. Calling or talking aloud helps to awaken the mind, which helps one to remember the effects of over eating in bodily harm. Then, I make sure that I do a snap analysis of what is disturbing me, why am I disturbed, what can I do or not do about the situation, etc. I find that knowing both one’s strengthens and limitations help one to cope with the situation. So, even if I returned to that food, I would not eat it as a way of coping, since I understand what I am going through and what I can or cannot do about it. However, I have learnt that it is best to eat salads and/or fruit in such—disturbing—situations. Yet, if the urge to eat other food types—not salads/fruit—is too strong to ignore, I eat something to balance the chemicals in my body to avoid over eating or stressing. So, I might eat small portions of carbohydrates such 1 or 2 pieces of brown bread with beans and lettuce, and drink tea with 1 teaspoon of honey, etc. Yet, I would make sure to check that the calories are not over board especially when eating late at night. If the pressure to eat continues, I add salads or fruits.Over eating is a very complicated activity. Sometimes, people do not choose to over eat. There are push factors in life. So, they indulge into food because emotions push them into eating as a way of coping with issues. Sometimes, people are not even aware that they over eat. They have over eaten from childhood to a point, where they think that is how they should eat. Some people would continue eating until they belch because that is how they determine being full. Others over eat as a cultural practice, which relates socializing with food. I do not want to give an impression as though it is very easy to simply pause, analyse and stop over eating. It comes with practicing. I have being doing it for a long time.
- POSTER STRATEGY: The poster strategy has many functions. To begin with, a poster helps people to avoid over eating. It is a simple strategy. Yet, it requires that a person internalize its purpose so that one is reminded about its meaning simply by looking at the poster. This requires associating meanings to a poster so that when one looks at it, the meaning pops out immediately and powerful. With practice over a period, it happens naturally. Working with a poster, requires placing it in the right room or place. You can place a poster, on the wall in front of your food table so that when you look at this poster, it reminds you about eating in moderation. In time, with or without a poster, one learns to eat only what is enough for the body. Some people might use an alarm to tell them to stop eating, but several fail. When the alarm goes on, they press it off and continue eating. Debatably, a poster might appeal more to reason than emotions. Try it! Let me talk also about other ways, where a poster can be used, although these ways are not our subject of discussion today. First, if you forget eating your meals often due to being busy, a poster can remind you to eat all meals daily. You can place a poster in the room or area, where you work with strong messages reminding you to eat your breakfast, lunch, and supper. Second, a poster strategy reminds the people to cook the right kind of food in correct ways. Place a poster above the stove, in front of you, where you can see it ask you cook. Let it have brief instructions such as: USE NO/LITTLE/1 TSP SALT PER DAY; USE NO/LITTLE/2 TBSP OF OIL PER DAY; GRILL/BOIL/ROAST/ MEAT; USE FRESH VEGETABLES/ FRUIT; ETC. Third, a poster works also to remind people to exercise. If you exercise in the morning immediately you wake up before bathing, it might help to put this poster in your bedroom. Place it on the wall in front of you, where you can see it immediately you wake up and as you move about in your bedroom. Last, the poster strategy does not use words always. You can use at times pictures, which you associate with activities. For example, my picture of a waterfall reminds me to drink water as I work long hours on my desk in the afternoon. I go to drink water immediately I am reminded unless I have just drank some. I keep poster reminders on my computer as well. They pop-out randomly.
- TEACHING/SHARING STRATEGY: Teaching and sharing lessons about weight loss might help you avoid over eating because you want to live-your talk. Most people are honest. They talk only about things they are doing or have done. This helps a lot. We can do this online or from a physical space, where we interact with our friends embarking on weight programmes.
- VITAMIN AND FOOD SUPPLEMENTS STRATEGY: Vitamins and food supplement help preventing over eating. Some people eat too much because they feel weak and/or hungry often, mostly when a body lacks enough vitamins or food nutrients. I drink multivitamin daily unless out of stock. As for food supplements, I take them once in a while. However, I try eating food with the right nutrients all times. When I am at home, I do not use vitamins and supplements because our-farm food is very rich in nutrients. I use vitamins and supplements only when I am away from home.
- EAT WHEN DONE STRATEGY: This strategy encourages people to eat only after finishing cooking if they are preparing meals at home. Eating while cooking increases the chances of over eating. Unless you are cooking for one person, and cooking only the exact amount of calories per meal. Otherwise, eat when only you finish cooking. You might taste the food. Yet, do not taste your food if tasting encourages you to eat while cooking. Simply cook and eat your food when you finish cooking.
- ONLY COOK ENOUGH STRATEGY: If one can not control one’s appetite, it is best to cook only for a particular meal, but not in bulk. If the food is tasty, one might end up eating it all in a single meal or day. If it is possible, cook only want you can eat and finish in one meal. I cook only for a given meal because I love eating fresh food. This prevents me from over eating. At times, I cook some food in bulk such as pizza, dry beans, maize, rich cakes, etc. These take a lot of time preparing. So, it is not feasible to prepare per single meal.
- SERVE YOURSELF STRATEGY: This strategy helps you avoid over eating during family meals. When you are a big family eating from the same table and dishes, make sure that you collect the food for yourself. You can let family members pass dishes to you, but collect the food for yourself. Some parents, grand parents, siblings and friends push you into over eating. They put more food on your plate as a sign of generosity or love. You might end up eating more than you need.
- PAY FOR YOUR MEALS STRATEGY: Pay for your meals when you go out with friend to avoid over eating. You have control of how much you would like to eat when you pay for your meals. Some friends feel offended if you nub at meals, which they paid for. They would push you into over eating to feel appreciated. You might feel ashamed refusing their request. This is similar to the DO-NOT LIVE IN SOMEONE’S HOUSE when you have a choice to live on your own because you might be subjected to their eating habits. You are okay if they eat well. Yet, it might not be okay for you if they eat wrong meals and huge amounts.
- RESTING STRATEGY: This strategy helps you avoid over eating. Some over eating does not happen in one single meal, but accumulates. If you do not find time to rest—like sleeping at night—you might end up feeling hungry and eating more calories than you need per day.
@ Chipo Muponisi, unedited Post