You’ve recently started a health kick and you’re due to go to family or friends for a meal. You really want to know how not to eat too much because on the one hand you’re really looking forward to it, but on the other you’re secretly dreading it because it’s going to wreck your diet!

Sometimes too much food is put on your plate in the first place, you might be offered seconds, or a pudding you’re too full too enjoy. You don’t want to offend your host by refusing food, do you?

In these situations it’s good to know how not to eat too much, not feel like you’re offending anyone, and come home feeling good because you haven’t overeaten.

Why You Feel Compelled To Eat Too Much

This takes a bit of unpicking, and may have its roots in childhood.

When we were young we were punished when we were naughty, and rewarded when we were good. We liked the feeling of a reward of being a good girl, or boy. But we didn’t like the feeling a punishment would create.

As we learned the rules we became frightened of the punishment, but also afraid of not getting the reward of being good.

The reward gave pleasant attention to us, and we developed a need for this, because it feels good. Therefore we keep seeking it, even as adults.

This can lead to a need to please others, even if doing so means we’re not pleasing ourselves.

Sometimes we can even harm ourselves in our quest to please, and not upset others. This manifests by saying yes to extra helpings, clearing our plate even though there was too much on it, and agreeing to a pudding when we don’t actually want one.

We want to be accepted, and not rejected by the people we’re sat down eating with – at least that’s what is subconsciously going on in our head!

How Not To Eat Too Much

The next time you’re in this situation notice what’s going on inside, are you frightened of upsetting your host? Do you want to please your host by demonstrating their cooking is lovely, by eating loads of it?

Think about where this feeling is coming from – probably the 6 year old inside you! Ask yourself this – are you going to let this 6 year old make this decision for you, or are you going to override it and do what’s best for your health?

The other thing to do is to take a second and reconnect with the reason you’re on this health kick in the first place. Imagine yourself having lost all your excess weight. Are you going to sabotage that to keep your 6 year old happy?

Saying something different might feel strange at first, but it’s possible to learn how to say something like “No thank you, I am absolutely full, but that was absolutely delicious”, without causing any offence.

How not to eat too much is all about unpicking why it’s happening and solving that. It’s not something you can consistently do with will power.

What are your thoughts about this? Leave a comment or ask a question.

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Have an Uber Healthy week.

Dr Julie