Curiosity is how I encourage all my clients to approach these kinds of questions/struggles.
Something that is all too common in people who are dieting (or still in the process of moving away from dieting) is that they think of going over their calorie target (or points or however they’re tracking) as “overeating.” This is so unfortunate and a really unhealthy way of approaching our food intake.
It takes a toll on our relationship with food.
It’s well established that restriction (whether calories or specific foods) is one of the most common driving factors in overeating as well as full-blown binge eating episodes.
Back to curiousity.
Instead of a day that didn’t result in you eating in the way you’d originally planned or expected yourself to eat as a “bad day”, reframe it.
Instead of thinking of these as “bad days”, ask yourself some questions:
- What do I mean by the phrase, “I overate”? (I love to ask clarifying questions)
- Did I, in fact, eat beyond fullness and past the point of satisfaction, or did I simply eat more than I (or someone else) thought I should have eaten?
- If I did, in fact, eat more than I needed, what were the circumstances that led to this episode (skipped meal/snack, unsatisfying meals earlier in the day, stressful day, lack of sleep the night before, etc.)?
- Was it emotionally driven? If so, what need went unmet that I tried to meet with food? In the future, is there a way I could have better and more effectively addressed that need in another way?
These are just a few quick examples to get you thinking. I’m sure there are more you-specific questions you could ask yourself based on the unique areas where you struggle but hopefully, you get the idea here.
This is a far more effective way of approaching these situations than beating yourself up, thinking of it as a failure/bad day, or thinking you need to “get back on track” tomorrow.