I went out to eat last week. That’s not all that out of the ordinary, I typically eat out once a week. I treat it like a “cheat meal”. It’s kind of a reward for eating “clean” the rest of the week. I am pretty strict with what I eat, so I will take a break every now and again. I think it’s fine to do every once in a while.
This week I went overboard. I over ate. I lost control, and ultimately payed the price. I was with a group of friends and we decided to get an order of nachos for an appetizer, that’s basically where I came off the rails, never being able to recover.
After I polished those off, yes I personally took care of every last bit, my meal arrived. There was a lot, and it was really good. Guess what? I ate every last crumb of it. There was a point about halfway through when I knew I should stop, but I ignored that thought and kept right on going.
I finished every last morsel of my meal. In all honesty I lost control. I could not stop myself from finishing that meal. I knew I was getting full, I knew I should stop, but I kept right on plowing ahead. Bad move.
About 10 minutes later I was FULL. My stomach hurt. I continued to hurt basically until I went to bed, which is a feeling I really hate. I even went for a walk for about 45 minutes, but that didn’t help. I was just going to have to live with what I had done.
I was certainly disappointed with myself. Why didn’t I listen to my body when it was telling me that I’d had enough? Why did I ignore the signals? Why did I lose control? Maybe there is a physiological, or psychological answer, but I don’t have either one, so I will just tell you what I learned and how I will try to prevent this kind of situation in the future.
First of all I didn’t beat myself up about what happened. I know I messed up, I accepted it, and I moved on. I will take what I can from this experience, and try to make better decisions going forward.
The first key is awareness. I am aware of my shortcomings, and things I struggle with. One thing that is for sure, that I know about myself, is that if there is food on my plate in front of me, I am more than likely going to finish it. So I will be conscious of that fact and make better decisions as a result of that. I will use portion control even before I sit down to eat. Simply put, when at home preparing my own meals I will just put less on the plate. Simple.
It’s not always so easy to do that at restaurants, so I will try to order smaller items, or ask for a smaller portion. Another thing that would probably work, but I have not done it myself yet, is to get a to go container right when the meal arrives, and put some away right off the bat. Depending on the company I am with, that may be a little “weird”, but if possible I will give it a try.
Those are a few practical, actionable things I will put in play. That’s where I will start. But really those are just dealing with the surface layer of the problem. I think it’s important to dig down a little deeper, and try to figure out why I lose self control, and what I can do about it.
Again I think it comes back to awareness. Be aware of the signals your body is telling you, and really slow down and be present to accept them. Slow down, take a few breaths. Ask yourself, “Am I really hungry for this next bite?” “Will I feel better or worse if I keep eating?” “Am I trying to make myself feel better by continuing to eat? Will that work?”
Chances are we already know the answer to those questions. It really comes down to being PRESENT, and figuring out who is making the decisions. Are you making the CONSCIOUS decision, or are you letting your GREMLIN brain drive the ship?
Obviously being aware of our shortcomings and downfalls can be applied in every area of our lives, not just when it comes to self control and food. That’s a good place to start, but look at your whole life and find some other areas where you have struggled in the past. How can you overcome those struggles? What can you do to learn from the times you have fallen short of what you expect from yourself going forward?
That’s probably the most disappointing thing for me in this situation is that I pride myself on being DISCIPLINED. I try not to let myself get out of control. I want to be the one making the decisions and driving the ship. The key is I have learned some valuable lessons, and I forgive myself. Moving on.
Also if you would be interested in how I mitigate the “damage” from overeating that one meal, send me a message, and I will give you my secrets. Only to be used on rare occasions of course!