10 Overeating Habits & How to Correct Them {Plus a free printable for your fridge!}

Posted on Jul 29 2013 - 7:00am by Traci

Hey all! Welcome to week 7 of the 100 mile summer challenge! Who’s still with us? How’s it going for everyone? I (Markell) ran 3 miles in 33 minutes last week! I was so proud of myself 🙂 It feels good to beat personal records. Remember that if you’re participating in the challenge, use the hashtag #100milesummer so we can all keep track of how everyone is doing! 

Traci has written an awesome post about overeating and how to correct bad eating habits. Be sure to check out her awesome printable at the end, too!


This post is going to get a bit personal, and I have thought a lot about writing it, so before I say anything, I want to point out that I am not an expert, and I am not perfect at this either. I am still trying to correct bad habits, it is a gradual process. I just want to share a few ideas with you that have helped me and things I have learned throughout life about portion sizes, overeating, binging, dieting, and overall just learning to handle food and not let it control my life. That being said, I am excited to share with you somethings I have learned.

Here is a bit of my background. I felt like growing up I was always fairly healthy. I had a good amount of baby fat in my cheeks, but overall I was healthy and active and happy. I remember that baby fat got me into a bit of trouble and specifically remember being called fat a few times in grade school. That shouldn’t stay with you, but for me it did and carried on later as I got into high school. I remember a friend of mine in 7th grade and I talking about how we couldn’t figure out how anyone could be anorexic or bulimic. We both just loved food way too much to go that direction, plus it is so bad for you. Turns out, by our freshman year, she was anorexic and I was bulimic. Luckily, my mother watched me like a hawk and I was able through some life changing events, overcome my bulimia, but that will have to be another post 🙂 But the binging and overeating stayed with me, and I know for many people, bad habits you start when you are young, are hard to change, but it is possible, and I would like to share a few thoughts with you and maybe give you some hope of change and feeling healthier, without doing any crazy diet, or quick fix. I want to share with you tips that you can use the rest of your life, to feel better, and not have to constantly worry and think about food, and battle it daily {I know the feeling, it’s awful} So here goes, my top 10 reason for overeating and how to correct them.

1. Eating Out of Emotion– This is HUGE. For me, when I am angry, or sad, or grumpy, any negative emotion, I eat. And eat, and eat. It is such a bad habit, and something I am still struggling to stop doing. I don’t know why but strong negative emotion would make me want to eat. Like when girls get dumped by their boyfriend, they eat a whole thing of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, you with me? Not helpful, I know, but, here is what I do when I feel that urge when I am angry or sad.

I read something uplifting. I read my scriptures {bible, Book of Mormon}. Something uplifting that helps you to realize everything is going to be okay.

I go running or exercise. This isn’t always an option if I have my kids, but even just getting outside and taking them to the park and focusing on something active, gets my mind away from food.

I try to figure out a way to serve someone else. Getting away from your own problems, and finding a way to help someone else with their problems is sooo therapeutic, and definitely gets your mind away from food {unless you are baking someone cookies, then maybe not 🙂

2. Thinking you need to finish your food all the time, even if you are super full. Does anyone else have this problem? I grew up thinking, if you are served something {including at a restaurant} You eat it all gone. ALL gone. Even if you are stuffed and can’t button your pants, you finish your food. You do NOT waste food. EVER. I think that is a good concept, and makes sense so that you don’t take too much food, but at the same time, if your body is screaming at you to stop eating, you really should. You don’t HAVE to finish your food. Ever. To fix that habit…

I look for good examples and follow their lead. My husband is amazing. He never eats to much, I don’t think he has overeaten any day of his life. He listens to his body and when it tells him he is full, he doesn’t finish his dinner, or ice cream, or cake. He stops, and pays attention to the cues his body is giving him. I also have a sister in law that is great at this too. She eats as much as she needs but not too much. Surround yourself with those people, and learn from them.

Start being aware of your portions. I grew up thinking I needed to eat a ton of food, or I was starving myself, when in reality, I am 5’2 and haven’t grown since 7th grade. I don’t need to eat as much as a lot of people do. Eat to live and be healthy, but don’t live to eat. Realize and start gauging how much YOUR body needs. How much you need to be satisfied, but not stuffed.

Try to only have firsts. Meaning, don’t do seconds, or thirds, ever. It’s amazing how much this has helped me. You really only need one serving of everything on your plate, I make exceptions for fruits 🙂 I love me some fruit! 🙂 I do seconds on that sometimes.

3. Eating because you are stressed. Can anyone else relate? Everyone is stressed at one time or another. Everyone. Changing our habits and not using food as our go to when we are feeling stressed is hard! As a mother, it’s one thing I can grab for two seconds and get that instant sugar rush, yah know? Bad bad bad! But I do it. All. The. Time. I have found a few things that help, maybe you can find one that helps you, too!

Exercise. Whatever type of exercise you like. Running, Soccer, Walking, Stretching, Golf, Exercise Video, Yoga, etc. Exercise is such a great way to relieve stress. This one is my favorite, but not always something I can do anytime of the day.

Dropping whatever you are doing that is stressing you out, and do something you LOVE. {not including eating!} 🙂 for instance, I love to craft, and create things. And I love to just PLAY with my kids. When I get stressed, I throw the laundry on the bed, and just hang out with my kids, or after they are in bed, instead of working on the things I should be doing, I take  a break and do something I enjoy.

Find your stress reviler, replace a bad habit, with a good– this is pretty broad, I just tend to have a super low stressful life, and I kind of make it that way. But I know other people can’t exercise or stop doing what is stressing them out. So find something that you can do when you are super stressed and do it. Count to 100, stretch, drink a glass of water. Take deep breaths, whatever, find YOUR stress reviler that fits your life, and do it, find a new habit it replace your stress eating.

 4. Eating because you are bored. This sounds funny,but really, it happens a lot. You are watching a not so interesting show, home alone, whatever, you are bored, so you eat. I think curing this is more mental than anything, the cure for this for sure, is just finding things to do! And training your mind to not automatically revert to food when you are bored! It takes a bit of work, but is soo worth it!

Pay attention when you are eating, stop and think about it. Ask yourself, am I really hungry? Or do I just need to find something to do. This one is purely mental I feel, I am not asking you to think about food constantly, but in between meals, pay attention, is your tummy asking for food, or is your mind just telling you to get food because you can’t think of anything else?

5. Eating because the food is so incredibly good you can’t stop. Don’t laugh! This is true! Ever had something at a restaurant where you just have to finish because it’s so good? I love food. I am not going to lie. I love. love . love food! 🙂

I have found that if you eat slower, you will enjoy it just as much and have more time to pay attention to how full you are and stop. I also have found that if I mentally talk myself into the idea, that if I don’t eat it all now, I get more tomorrow, that is also helpful. For instance, remembering, I can eat half now and then have it for lunch tomorrow and enjoy it more because I am not stuffed!

Another thing that helps me, is to pay attention to how I feel when I overeat. It is such a yucky feeling to be too full, you feel like a slug, and sometimes you just want to nap, or lay on the couch. Like, Thanksgiving. I have also mentally tried to remember how it feels to only eat until I am satisfied. REMEMBER how both of those feel when you want to finish that giant chocolate chunk brownie milkshake. Mentally remember how you felt when you finished the Extra Large one last time, maybe order the size down or two, or save half of it for later in your freezer.

6. Using your tummy as a trash can. Does this make sense to anyone else? 🙂 My kids spill food, all over. Which is fine, they are kids, but when they don’t finish their breakfast/lunch or dinner sometimes, I eat it. Uhg! Not good, random calories I just don’t need, I just feel guilty throwing it away, so I eat it. Our tummies should not be trash cans!

I mentally have to tell myself all day not to eat random things, toss them in the trash as fast as you can, and enlist your kids help! Have them clear their plates, and make a rule to yourself that you don’t eat off the floor 🙂

I also throw my bowls from making cookies or frosting or cake into the sink as fast as I can and throw some soap in. Then there is no possible way I can lick the bowl clean {I know you do it too!} Make it, and bake it, and toss that bowl into the sink as fast as you can and fill it with water and make it inedible! 🙂

7. Eating because it is “time” to eat. {Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner} I have a problem with this. Sometimes I wake up in the morning, having eaten a large dinner, and I am just not ready to eat. But I eat Breakfast because I am “supposed” to. When really, I should wait until my stomach tells me I am hungry. Or, I eat a late and more filling breakfast, and at noon, I am not hungry but it’s lunch time, so I eat anyway.

Listen to your body. If it is not ready for lunch, wait an hour or so until your body tells you you are hungry, yeah? Or same with dinner, if you are not hungry when dinner time comes around, wait until you are. You don’t have to eat at a specific time. Just because it is “time” to.

8. Eating because you are tired. When I am tired, I eat more than when I am rested. It’s amazing, but when you don’t get enough sleep, your body thinks it is hungry because it is tired, and my mind mentally thinks so too, anyone else do this? When I get good rest, I have a way easier time controlling my appetite.

This answer is pretty simple…Get good rest! Meaning, go to bed early, get up early. Getting too much sleep can making you tired too! Have a good schedule and stick to it! I understand you are going to be off sometimes. But, as a general rule, have a bed time and a wake up time, and your body will thank you, including, helping you control your appetite.

9.Eating because you are dehydrated. This happens to me all. the. time! I think that I am hungry because my body needs water. I try hard before meals and in between to just continually drink water. Your body is easily confused.

Maybe try drinking more water, and see if your appetite goes down. I am not saying to use water instead of meals, I am just suggesting staying hydrated, and seeing if that helps control your constant hunger. 🙂

I also suggest water. I know a lot of people love their coffee, love their pepsi, looove their coke. I understand that, but at the same time, Your body needs WATER. Try to drink that instead of other beverages, it helps your body stay more hydrated, and saves you some calories, too.

10. Eating to punish yourself. I wasn’t sure if I should mention this, just because it is a pretty serious issue, but know deep down probably quite a few people do it. Maybe not on as large a scale as some. But I specifically remember eating more than I needed to because I was so frustrated with myself. I am sure you have heard of the people that cut themselves, partially to hurt themselves on purpose. I think that overeating because you are frustrated with yourself, is very similar. I also feel like if you are doing this often enough accompanied by other eating disorders, you should seek some professional help.

For me, I had to conquer this along with the bulimia and get help. If you feel like this is a serious problem, I would get professional help. {Yes, I did say that twice 🙂

If it’s not a huge thing and happens just periodically, something that helps me is to find a way to change my mood, and realize I am a worthwhile person. For me, I read from my book of mormon or bible. I read, and I pray.

I also try to spend time with someone who builds me up and who I feel good about myself around {my husband}. Find a friend, a relative, someone you can be yourself, and feel like a worthwhile person around. Sometimes, this occurs when you are alone and when that happens, I have also emailed, called on the phone or even just texted someone to get my mind off of how I am feeling.

Lastly, write, create, pray, do something that helps you remember why you think you are worthwhile as a person. I love to write in my journal and express how I am feeling there, it often helps me reflect and realize what is really bothering me and address the issue. Find a way to release your frustrations and figure out what is wrong and go to that!

I hope these suggestions help! These are not quick fixes, and not something you will be able to master in a week. But they are suggestions that you can work on, maybe choose one or two you like, and start implementing and starting better habits. I want you to know that I still do all of these on a daily basis. I still struggle, but really just want to get to the point where I don’t worry so much about food and calories, and appreciate always having food on my table. I have been working on a few of them, and since highschool, feel like I have come a long way. I hope they help you, too! Let me know if you have anything that you do to help you, I would love some additional tips!!

Traci 🙂

I have also included a free printable for your fridge or pantry, you can download it here.

 overeating printable




10 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. kimberlee July 30, 2013 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    Great article with lots of good information. I am going to pin this and share on my facebook page too.

    • amouseinmykitchen July 30, 2013 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      Thanks! We love it when people share our stuff 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  2. hollybertone July 31, 2013 at 3:50 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this. Trust me, we are all in it together. Keep it up and stay beautiful. Yours in solidarity, Holly

  3. Holly Waterfall July 31, 2013 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful post full of a ton of knowledge! Everything you said is true… pinning and sharing! My readers will love this!

    • amouseinmykitchen August 1, 2013 at 8:29 am - Reply

      Awesome! Thanks. I'm glad that you liked it. I hope that your readers find it helpful!

  4. Mandee August 17, 2013 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing. Having an unhealthy connection to food affects a lot of people, men and women alike.

    I deeply appreciate bloggers who share personal struggles. It helps so much more then you may realize.

    Recently a friend of mine posted this pisture of a quote on her facebook page and I loved it……

    The next time Satan tells you you're too fat, too tall, too short, too ugly, or other lies….. whisper back: AT least I have a BODY. 🙂

    Remember who you are and your divine purpose!!!

  5. Traci August 18, 2013 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    Thank you for all the wonderful comments! I am glad this was helpful!

    Mandee- LOVE that quote! I know that he is working on me, I just need to not let that little negative voice in! Thanks for that 🙂

  6. Marcia Lee September 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    I enjoyed reading the 10 overeating habits & how to correct them. I know I eat when I'm stressed or bored. I printed out your free printable sign & I'm keeping one on my fridge & one over my desk at work. Thank you.

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