Saying no to one more slice seems like a simple task: someone offers you an extra slice of cake, or pie, or brownie, and you simply say “no, thank you, I’ve had enough!”
However, for a lot of people, this simple task is anything but. It’s full of complex psychological, emotional and physical factors that take skill and self-awareness to pick apart.
Having willpower is one thing, but saying no and then not giving it a second thought is the Holy Grail for anyone who’s suffered from emotional overeating or bingeing.
The more we obsess about saying no and sticking to it, the more likely we are to cave in and indulge (click here to find out why this is).
So, how do we reach this Holy Grail of genuine willpower? It’s all about tackling the roots of compulsive eating.
1. Stop labelling food ‘good’ or ‘bad’
When we say we are ‘good’ when we eat a salad and ‘bad’ when we eat a slice of cake, is it any wonder guilt creeps in and leaves us feeling as though we have failed?
It’s this sense of failure that often leads to a defeatist attitude of “well, screw it, I’ll just eat the whole thing now!”
Food is there to be savoured and enjoyed, and if our language leads us to feeling desperately unhappy, we need to change that language.
Next time you have a chocolate bar, instead of saying how ‘naughty’ you’ve been, just say, ‘this is delicious’ and move on.
2. Practice mindful eating
Mindful eating is simply slowing down, savouring each bite and being aware of what you’re feeling as you eat. It’s also about controlling your breathing, making it slow and purposeful, which will in turn slow down your eating.
If you scoff something down, the delicious experience vanishes very quickly. Instead, take your time and really enjoy that moment.
3. Allow for indulgences
This is a big one – do not ban the treats you love!
Banning foods inevitably leads to an internal battle, whereby that ‘banned food’ starts to dominate your thoughts. If you want a packet of salt and vinegar crisps so desperately that it’s all you can think about, have a few crisps, eat them slowly and savour them.
There’s no point banning something to only face a desperate binge at a later date.
It’s a great idea to ‘make a date’ with your favourite food during the week. When it is less of a daily treat it becomes more of special event and you will learn to savour it more!
Eat it slowly and without guilt. Make a date with your cake – don’t ‘ban’ it. As soon as you ban it will nag you!
Also read: What to Do Immediately After a Binge