Stress and Overeating: Helpful Tips

We all run into pitfalls. Here are some tricks to help.

I recently had a message from a reader on my Facebook page ask for some help with her eating. She’s dealing with a problem that many have struggled with, and I thought it would be helpful to share:

Hi Mireille, I have something I want to ask. I had followed your advice regarding changing eating habit and actually lost some weight. However after a year or so doing so well, I am finding myself eating bigger portion and more sweet. The ‘3 bites of desert’ doesn’t seem enough anymore. I don’t know how can you keep up with such small amount of sweet?? And is it really possible to maintain such meal plan according to your book till the rest of our lives? I’d like to stay slim and I love everything you said in your books! Please help me.

My answer:

There are a few pitfalls many of us can run into (I’ve caught myself many times). First, are you eating very slowly? If you don’t eat slowly and mindfully, you will find yourself eating bigger portions, and will easily go past three bites of dessert without feeling satisfied. Eating mindfully…and at a table, savoring each bite (the sense of pleasure can be cultivated and will slow you down, and you will feel satisfied with less)…it’s a habit that takes a bit of practice but it works.

Another question is, are you eating enough of the proper nutrients in the right balance? At each meal you should have some protein, some carbohydrates, some fats (a holy trinity of sorts). That will hold you over to the next meal. Too many people have just a green salad for lunch, feeling virtuous, and then end up snacking later. And if you do need a snack, make sure that has carb, protein and fat, too (like yogurt and a piece of fruit).

Also keep in mind that we don’t actually need so much sweet (though the food industry makes us believe we do), and more often than not, fruit can be the option at the end of a meal, or maybe a small square of dark chocolate.

And yes, often we are not hungry but thirsty…water, water, water or any delish herb teas, like the verbena in the picture above.

We (over)eat when stressed, tired, sad, unhappy, etc., etc…so knowing thyself is essential.

There are so many societal pressures that set you up to eat more: the servings are large, people around you are eating a lot. Of course, we will all succumb sometimes (we are human), and if it’s only every now and then, it’s okay. There are small compensations, like eating soup the next night instead of a big meal. I said in my first book that French women prefer to believe there are no dead ends, only detours, and that’s key. Watch that you do not give into the mindset of “okay, now I’ve splurged, it’s all over and I’ll eat whatever now,” which becomes a vicious cycle. Okay you splurged, but tomorrow is tomorrow and just focus on getting back on the right track again.

Take an assessment; see what’s changed and what you think is behind the bigger portions. Then it’s easy to make some small changes to get back on track again.