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Mental HealthRelationship with Food

Eating ‘Til It’s Gone. Why Don’t I Stop?

By March 17, 2017No Comments

It’s Like I Can’t Stop Eating ‘Til It’s All Gone!

Eating when I’m not even hungry any more! This blog is dedicated to a question sent in from one of our subscribers about over eating: “What is the reasoning behind the need to finish something so it is gone? As in this evening I found a half box of cookies and needed to finish it off so it was gone and I would not have to deal with it anymore.”¬†

First of all, let me assure you that you are not the only one who has struggled with this! With respect to eating, many people fall into an ‘all or nothing’ response, especially if they view the food they are eating as being a ‘bad’ or ‘unhealthy’ food. In that case, many people determine that if they are going to eat it, the day or their ‘diet’ is ‘blown’ so why not blow it all the more and get back on track tomorrow?! This is what we refer to as “The Last Supper Mentality.” This causes people to overeat and potentially binge because they’ve already wrecked the day. The pendulum starts to swing from deprivation and restriction to overeating or binging.


Eating When You Feel Like You Can’t Stop is Anxiety Provoking

Another thought pattern can be, since I’m already eating this, I don’t want to keep thinking about it so I’m literally just going to remove the temptation. This can be a bit of an obsessive-compulsive behaviour. Obsessions are simply anxious thoughts. Compulsions are behaviours that help to alleviate the anxiety. If having the food around is causing you anxiety you may actually eat it in an attempt to make the anxiety go away. “There. It’s gone! Now I don’t have to think about it any more.”

Sometimes this can come from a place of being taught that you clean up your plate or ‘finish what you start.’ What a person believes about food has a tremendous impact on how they eat and why. It may be very subconscious but those habitual thoughts can dictate a lot of behaviours surrounding food.

Helpful ways to change this behaviour are to check your beliefs about food:

  • Break up the thought that there are good foods and bad foods — food is just food! We’ve got to stop demonizing food and making it a negative emotional experience.
  • Diets do not work. Get rid of the diet mentality and restore food to being fuel for your body.
  • Work on becoming more in tune with your eating — eat mindfully and intuitively. What do you feel like having? Eat some — not all or nothing, but some.
  • Don’t deprive your body of entire food groups, this only creates intense urges/cravings and obsessional thoughts about food.

    Eating Mindfully is Truly Helpful

  • Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.
  • Practice mindful eating — turn off the TV and devices. Sit at the table. Taste your food. Eat it slowly and pay attention to the experience of eating your meal.
  • If you are stress eating or emotionally eating, become aware of what you are feeling besides ‘hungry’ or ‘fat.’ Fat is not a feeling!
  • Did I mention that diets don’t work? Practice mindful, intuitive and moderate eating. Add in moderate movement and activity, preferably something you enjoy so that it is sustainable.

Visit us at Fresh Hope Counselling to find out more