Do You Eat More Because You’re Afraid You Won’t Get Enough?

Eating out of Fear of Not Having Enough

Have you ever finished a huge meal, like Thanksgiving dinner, where you couldn’t eat another bite, when suddenly someone showed up carrying another dessert? Did you suddenly find just a bit of space to eat a little more? That’s eating out of fear; the fear of missing out on something yummy, or the fear of not being part of the group – and it has nothing to do with hunger.

Beliefs Can Shift in an Instant

This same thing can happen with any feeling – you may feel exhausted. You had a rough day at work, a traffic jam on the way home, a flat tire, and now you have a headache. You are bone tired and want to do nothing but sleep, when suddenly the phone rings. It’s a call saying, “You’ve just won a $1 million. Can you come right down?,” and you’re rushing out the door with your coat half fastened, you’re so excited you can hardly wait to get down there. Wait a minute, what happened to your headache? Probably it’s gone or just a faint memory. What happened to your exhaustion? It’s long gone too – replaced by a new surge of energy because your beliefs about this moment in time just changed. All belief shifts happen that quickly.

It only takes a tiny shift in your beliefs. Say this: I can learn to recognize when I’ve had enough. Now, ask yourself, do you believe it?

At first, you must make a bigger effort at change. You’ll start to move toward the kitchen, even when you’re still full from dinner because you’ve done it a thousand times before. This time, you’ll stop and remember, you aren’t doing that right now. Sit down, take five minutes to get control of your breathing, relax, do a session of EFT, “Even though I want more to eat, but I’m not hungry, I’m okay with myself.” “Even though I can’t break this overeating habit, I deeply and completely accept myself anyway.” “Even though I can’t feel satisfied unless I’m stuffed, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

Think about your belief in your ability to break this simple habit. If you’ve learned you must feel stuffed to be satisfied, then you’ll need to slowly break that pattern – first by simply stopping a little sooner. You may still have over eaten, but your level of stuffed can be qualified, and you know when you’ve had enough, too much, or way too much. You know, don’t you? Start by simply learning to leave one bite on your plate.

I know, that idea may seem radical, but it’s a great way to discover how you’ve eaten everything on your plate because it’s a habit to do so. Even if you only leave one pea, leave something on your plate. Secondly, just because there is more on the serving plate, don’t think you need to take more food. Wait a few minutes. Get in touch with your hunger levels.

I remember learning to recognize my hunger levels and the shock (and dismay) when I’d realize I’d had enough but half my food was still on my plate. I learned to ask for a doggy bag, take it home and eat in the next day. I learned to sometimes fix myself less food. I learned half a sandwich is sometimes enough. I learned a piece of fruit can satisfy my wildest hunger, for now, while I wait for dinner to cook. I learned, and so will you, when you just start to pay attention.

Small shifts in your beliefs about what you can accomplish may take a bit of time, but when you do make the shift it will be sudden and it will be permanent. Ask anyone who’s lost a lot of weight and kept it off, and they’ll tell you, “I don’t know, something just suddenly clicked,” and that’s what they’re talking about.