“I eat too much.” How many times have you said this to yourself? Living in a world entrenched in diet culture, it’s no wonder we’re obsessed with how much we eat.
Diet culture tells us: the less we eat, the healthier we are. This is a LIE.
The Problem With “I Eat Too Much”
The truth is- most of us need WAY MORE food than magazines, diets on Pinterest, or Oprah tell us.
First of all- everyone’s body is unique. You can’t prescribe an exact amount of calories needed every single day. It’s impossible. Our needs go up and down depending on many factors. Hormones, genetics, disease, activity level, metabolism, environment, history of diet related trauma…. all affect our bodies’ needs.
Second of all- our bodies are smart. Their main goal is always to keep us alive. Our bodies want to avoid starvation. So when we cut down calories, all kinds of changes shift internally. Metabolism slows. We think about food more. Our brains become obsessive. For some of us, this starts up the diet-binge cycle. While for others, this starts the restrictive path of anorexia. For all of us- it leads to being obsessed with food, hating our bodies, and hating ourselves.
But the cycle didn’t start with eating too much. Nope- it’s exactly the opposite. The cycle started when we decided we needed to eat less.
Fighting our natural instincts to eat and get full only causes more problems.
Literally the only way to end the constant battle with food is to allow yourself to eat. To stop labeling foods as good and bad. And to accept, at your core, that we are not supposed to control our body size.
Shifting the Mindset
If you’re exhausted from fighting your own body and brain… keep reading. There is a powerful mindset shift that can help. It sounds simple. In fact, it actually is simple.
But, like any change, it takes time to incorporate. It will take practice, repetition, and being patient with yourself. But it is possible.
Ready for the shift? Here it is:
I want you to STOP asking yourself “Did I eat too much?” Instead it’s time to ask yourself the very important question:
Did I eat enough?
What is enough? How do you even know if you’ve reached it? Surprisingly it is not that complicated.
Here are 4 Ways to Know You’re Eating Enough:
1. Are you eating three meals a day?
Three filling, satisfying, delicious meals. A meal includes all the major groups- carbs, fat, protein, and fiber. Eating enough means you eat until you feel full and you feel satiated. Simply put- you no longer want any more food.
If you’ve spent any amount of time dieting or trying to eat less, you probably have become uncomfortable with feeling full. But the truth is- healing your relationship with your food and body means learning to embrace the feeling of full.
2. Are you sleeping through the night?
If you wake up hungry in the middle of the night- chances are you’re not getting enough calories in during the day. Also, if you wake up ravishing every single morning, again you may not be getting enough food.
3. Are you constantly thinking about food?
After your meals, how much of your brain space is filled up with thoughts about food? When we aren’t getting enough calories, our brains go on a mission to keep us alive. One way our brains achieves this is literally focusing on food.
It can feel like you’re brain has been invaded by thoughts you can’t control. To me, this was one of the most distressing parts of my struggle with food. It felt like almost every single moment was taken up by thinking about what I would or wouldn’t eat. And honestly, that is no way to live.
4. Do you have times where you feel out of control with food?
While I really don’t like the term “binge” (I’ll tell you more about that another day), it can be really awful to feel completely out of control around food. We often think the solution to this problem is to control our food more. But that is exactly the opposite of the truth.
The more we try to control our food, the more out of control we often become.
Instead, by feeding ourselves ENOUGH food consistently over time, our bodies and brains calm down around food.
So the next time you catch yourself thinking “I eat too much” remember this article.
Make an effort to shift your thinking. Ask yourself: Am I eating enough?
Because when it comes down to it- we need to feed ourselves in order to live free of food and body obsessions. And we all deserve to be full and satisfied.
Remember- it’s impossible to live a full life on an empty stomach.