It’s amazing how little food I actually need to survive. I know I overeat. It’s something that’s been with me since childhood and something that I’ve been working on ever since I recognised the issue. It was really reinforced during recovery from surgery when I couldn’t eat much and quite frankly didn’t really have an appetite to.
Here are some of the things I’ve changed about my eating habits
- Not eating out of habit
I’ve always, when making myself toast or eggs, served myself two regardless of whether I wanted them or not. It was something that just always happened. After surgery I realised that I was more than satisfied with just one and that I usually ate the other out of habit. If I’ve finished and want some more, I can always make more even though it can be annoying.
- Drinking water
If I feel hungry, I drink a glass of water. When I’m working I can easily get my 2 litres a day but when I’m home I really struggle. I don’t substitute food with water but it does help me differentiate between hunger and thirst.
- Make my own junk food
I’ve learned that it’s ok to have cravings but what’s better is if I can make healthier versions of what I crave. Chocolate and cookies are my biggest weakness so I make my own with ingredients like coconut oil, cacao powder, oats, honey, banana etc.
- Accepting that its ok to leave food
This is the hardest one for me. I have a complicated relationship with food as so many people do and whilst I’m working on it, it still comes out. Leaving food is one of the hardest things for me. I became accustomed to eating everything served to me for a number of reasons and I just couldn’t understand how people stopped halfway because they were full. I realised after researching eating habits that I had grown my stomach to only be full after a lot of food, too much for what my body actually needs. So now if I feel full, more often than not I can leave food on my plate. I still struggle with this when I eat out because there’s the financial side of it but it’s improving. I do now manage to go to places that also serve take-away which means if I don’t finish my meal, I can take it home. Last night I still had a good 2/3 of my pasta on my plate once I was done so it was packed up and it is now my lunch today. If more places were allowed to do this, I think many people wouldn’t overeat when they are out.
- Understand that I can have anything I want, when I want
I’m very lucky that as an adult, I’ve never gone without. I can basically afford to buy myself anything I crave and cook it that night. This is something that is a really big issue for me like point no. 4. It took me a really long time to understand that I don’t need to gorge myself on something just because it’s there because I can have it again tomorrow if I want.
These are all things that have helped me understand my relationship with food. It’s still complicated and there’s still a long way to go but it’s improving and for that I’m thankful.
Note – one book that really helped me with identifying my unhealthy relationship with food is Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. I re-read it at least once a year just as a reminder.