10 Strategies to Cope With the Urge to Overeat

10 Strategies to Cope With the Urge to Overeat

Consider the following suggestions to help you cope with the strong urges to overeat.

  1. Give Definition to your Mealtime. Have regularly scheduled meals with healthy varied menus.  Set an eating schedule that suits your needs (such as 3 main meals per day at set times or more frequent smaller meals.)  Have a special place to eat along with a table setting so that your meals have a clear beginning and ending.  If possible, include others in your meal time.  Eating with others makes the meal more of a social event and less about the intake of food.
  2. Give Yourself Positive Statements While You Examine Your Struggle to Overeat Such as: “This urge is strong now, but I know it often goes away in a few minutes.  Hunger signals come and go and increase over time.  I’ll rate the intensity now and again when it returns.”

“I’ll trust myself.  I’m confusing my emotions with my urge to overeat.  I’ve already eaten enough regular meals.”

“What am I thinking and feeling?  What do I need to do with these emotions now, other than overeat?”

    1. Do Not Immediately Turn to Food. Keep to your regularly scheduled meal plan.  Focus on helpful coping statements such as:

“My hunger and full food cues are confusing to me now, so I must eat according to my schedule.”

“Smaller meals at regular intervals are more satisfying.”

“I must take in food to nourish my body just like I would give my children or a friend medicine and good food.”

    1. The Next Time You Feel a Food Urge, Take a Deep Breath and Relax. Keep a daily journal and take a moment to jot down any thoughts or feelings you are having surrounding this urge.  Is there something besides hunger that is urging you to eat? Are you stressed?  Sad? Bored? Angry? Lonely?  Was there anything in particular that stimulated the urge to eat?  You can use this technique to gain time to make better decisions about eating and to gain a greater awareness of what is driving your urge to eat.
    2. Break Your Old Dietary Rules Slowly. If you have a rule that says you can’t eat breakfast, try eating a little bit.  Leave the eating area at the point w