How many excuses do you have for eating when you aren’t hungry or have already eaten enough? We all have them. Today, I’m calling you out on yours!
I’ve written a lot about how our decision to eat is always preceded by a thought, even if sometimes it’s a semi-conscious or habitual thought. Here is a list of some of the most common thoughts we think before deciding to eat when we aren’t hungry.
Which ones do you use the most?
1. It’s healthy!
I gained a lot of weight overeating healthy foods in my lifetime. Eating any food when you aren’t hungry, no matter how nutritious, is still overeating. If your body doesn’t need those calories right now, you’ll store them as fat, and too much body fat is not healthy! So you can stop kidding yourself about this one.
2. I deserve this
What exactly is it that you deserve? To gain more weight by eating food when you aren’t hungry? Your body works hard for you all day, and what it deserves is to be treated with respect and care. There are many other ways you can be kind to yourself without eating if you aren’t hungry. You can find a few ideas HERE or make your own list that you can use in the future when you feel the urge to eat, but aren't hungry.
3. I don’t want to waste food
Ah, the “human trash can” excuse! The excess food is going to be wasted one way or another, so so shouldn’t you put it in the real trash can rather than use your body for disposal? Like all food your body doesn’t need, the food you eat to avoid “wasting it” will be stored as fat. Is that what you want? Children who may be hungry anywhere in the world will not benefit from you eating it. Far better to just throw it away, give it away or save it for later when possible.
4. I’m so tired
Do you really think you’re tired because you need food even though you aren’t hungry? If you aren’t undernourished, food won’t make you less tired, it will make you more tired. Give yourself a short break and rest or do something relaxing if that is what you need.
5. I’m stressed out
Ah, one of my old personal favorites. Yes, food can very temporarily ease your stress, but mostly only when it is in your mouth. If you choose to eat when you're stressed, you are in the long term creating more stress by gaining weight, which will affect your physical and mental health. Maybe you can’t eliminate whatever is causing you stress, but you certainly can prevent the secondary stress that is the by-product of eating as a pacifier. Deep breathing, meditation, or taking a walk are just a few alternatives to relieving stress that don’t involve food. Try one of those and see whether your urge to eat doesn't go away.
6. I hardly ever get to eat fill in the blank.
I dispelled the myth about FOMO** eating in my post about approaching food from a scarcity mindset. Click HERE to read about why you should discard this mindset and approach eating from an attitude of abundance. As long as there is the opportunity to eat delicious foods you love when you’re hungry, this is a lame excuse for eating when you aren’t.
7. I’m on vacation
See # 6 above. You can enjoy all kinds of wonderful food while on vacation without having to eat every single thing that looks good, or eating too much. Read about how to enjoy food on vacation without overeating HERE.
8. This tastes so good!
The same concept discussed in #6 above applies here as well. Remember that food tastes a lot better when you’re hungry anyway. Why not wait until then, and you can enjoy it even more?
9. I might get hungry later
Preventive eating. I admit there are a few times when you might be able to justify eating because you won’t have a chance when you get hungry, but they are rare and almost always avoidable. You can usually carry a snack, wrap or other portable meal with you so that you have something to eat when your stomach starts grumbling. That will help you avoid getting so hungry that you become less discerning about what you eat later. But think about it: how many times do you use this as an excuse rather than a necessity?
10. I was so good all day!
You worked hard to change your eating habits so that you can lose weight, and now you’re using that as an excuse to sabotage yourself? Rewarding yourself with food is precisely what you should be learning to not do. If you want to reward yourself, don't use food. Rewarding yourself in other ways is great. Make a list of ways you can reward yourself that don’t involve eating when you aren’t hungry.
11. I’ll work it off later
Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do. It makes you feel good and you should exercise because it will improve the quality of your life. It should never be used as a punishment for overeating. Plus it takes a lot more time to exercise more than to eat less.
This is you rebelling against yourself. It is a form of negative self-talk. You’re giving yourself the message that you don’t want to bother caring for yourself right now. Instead, care about yourself and your health, and ask yourself what do you really need right now.
How many of your excuses were lies? All of them!
Whenever you want to eat but aren’t hungry, pause and see what excuse you’re telling yourself. Then think about whether it is true. It is likely you can take better care of yourself by not making excuses for eating when you aren’t hungry.
Are you ready to shed your excess weight AND your struggle with food and eating forever? Learn the 8 Secrets for Permanent Weight Loss. Get your free copy below.
** Fear of missing out
“It’s time to eat, so I better.” just happened yesterday. My other reason happens when I eat out. Unconscious eating. I get caught up in conversation and just eat even after I’m no longer hungry.
I left that one out! Awareness is the key to losing weight and keeping it off. Yet we’re all pulled in so many directions. It is a skill to pay attention to conversation and eat at the same time! You can learn to do it with practice. Thanks for your feedback.
Can I be all 12? But really though. This was such a good, unique, and timely read with the upcoming holidays! Definitely puts things in perspective and reminds you to take a step back and monitor what you’re putting in your body! Thanks for this post!
I am definitely a “I don’t want to waste it” and “I never get to eat ____!”
I have literally used every single one of those excuses on your list. *sigh* I like your statement on the “I deserve this” item: “What exactly is it that you deserve? To abuse your body by eating food when you aren’t hungry?” I’d never looked at it that way, but I will going forward. Lots of good common sense here. Thanks!
Glad it was helpful. If you want to change what you’re doing, I have a great facebook group where I work with people to change their habits. Ditch the Diet Tribe.
Stress eating has been my biggest problem, but hopefully, now that the stress has eased up, I’ll do better. Social occasions and holidays are always difficult because most of them revolve around delicious food. My most successful attempt at weight loss happened when I kept a food diary, writing down everything that went into my mouth, complete with calorie, carb and fat gram counts. Time-consuming, but effective!
A food diary is a terrific tool. All of my successful clients use them. I used to be a stress eater. You really can change that. It takes practice, but it is amazing when you’re stressed out and you realize you didn’t even think of eating.
Definitely 7 and 8 for me. When I am on vacation I like to “spoil” myself, not to mention get my “monies worth” and then some! 🙂 And I do like to indulge in “good home cooking”. If it tastes oh sooooo good, I tend to “treat” myself. I figure …I can always work it off later…( and I usually do)!
Exercise as celebration, not punishment… now THERE is an oh so positive view, and one I’m beginning to embrace; a very good thing!
I feel like I’ve used all of these excuses at some point. My weakness is for the holiday cookies.
I use the “it’s healthy” excuse a lot. Raw almonds and avocado get out of control. A Trader Joe’s handful of almonds are still 200 calories