How to Get Back on Track with My Eating

by Grace Rivers, RDN, CDCES

You did it again. You overate. You sometimes wish that you didn’t attend events because you always eat more than you wanted, and then you are annoyed and disappointed with yourself for the next few days. You can get back on track and prevent future overindulgences with a few changes.

What are you thinking and saying to yourself?

Do you have an all-or-nothing approach? When limiting your thinking to rigid black-and-white guidelines, you start to set yourself up for a negative outcome. You set so many rules for yourself that one step out of line, and you think you have blown it.  You start to think you can’t do it. Your motivation and momentum plunge and you quit working towards your goal.

How you can move forward

Arm yourself with the thought that just because something looks enticing doesn’t mean that you have to have it.

Be on guard at events where you think you may be tempted to overeat. Be careful of what you say to yourself. After all, what would you say to your best friend who wanted your help?

Think how you will feel when you avoid that enticing food and check your blood sugar later. Or how your clothing will fit. And how good you will feel when you pat yourself on the back. These are better than beating yourself up because you overate, right?

If you start to say something negative about your eating, say something positive, like naming a healthy food you ate or the walk you took this morning to control your blood sugar.

Getting back on track

Simplify your routine. Determine what is most important to you. This is what you want to accomplish, not someone else’s goal for you. Focus on ONE change and keep eating simple. Avoid the dieting that promises a quick fix.

Notice where you started to get off track to help prevent future diversions. It may have been a big family celebration that landed you in front of more food than you knew what to do with. Or it may have been a subtle change that you didn’t realize until you had altered your eating pattern completely.  Sometimes you start to move away from your routine so gradually that you don’t notice it.

If you keep food records, referring to those can show what you were eating before getting off track. 

Do you have a few smart snacks on hand? Combos such as fruit and nuts or crackers with peanut butter can help curb your hunger.

What were you doing for exercise, and can you do it today? In a review of studies that included 241 participants, short bouts of activity were shown to have a small to moderate impact on appetite. Those who exercised had lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Higher levels of ghrelin increase appetite.

Getting those ZZZs

Sleeping helps us to cope with stress. Without adequate sleep, ghrelin rises. In a sleep study of 1,024 participants, the researchers found that sleeping less than 7.7 hours increased ghrelin.

Handling the next event

For upcoming eating situations, have a snack before you go to remove that hunger edge. A support person can help you along if you let them know what you expect of them. Be on guard as to what you are saying to yourself and make your plan for eating. Remember how good you will feel the next time you check your blood sugar after walking away from too much food.

Mountain climbers don’t reach the top by stopping when they didn’t climb as far as they wanted or because they ran into an obstacle. They keep going. You can, too, because you are a winner working towards nourishing your body to stay healthy and manage your blood sugar.  

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