"Course Correcting". Practical tip for Overcoming Overeating

By Alice Boyes, PhD. | Uncategorized

Yesterday I wrote about overcoming overeating requires

a) being willing to think flexibly about food and weight issues on an ongoing basis (since being unwilling to think flexibly about food and weight issues tends to lead to thinking about these issues MORE rather than less e.g. because when you try to block out difficult thoughts, the thoughts fight back),

and

b) being willing to cherry pick ideas and experiment with a combination of strategies to find which combination of strategies works for you, rather than trying to find a single, permanent solution.

You will need to have the skill of “Course Correcting” in your psychological toolbelt

Nerdy personal example

I told this personal example to a client the other day and thought “well, if I’m prepared to share it with a client, why not be prepared to share it online?”

A few weeks ago, I’d gotten into a habit of buying 500gm tubs of yogurt and eating the whole lot in one sitting (Cyclops Boysenberry if anyone is particularly interested!)

Cyclops brand yogurt is my favourite and comes in 500gm and 250gm tubs but most flavours only come in one size or the other. When I get the 250gm size its fine but I like some of the flavors that only come in the 500gm. Believe it or not I can eat 500gm of yogurt in one sitting and enjoy it rather than feeling sick.

I let eating 500gm servings of yogurt slide for a bit and wasn’t particualrly worried about it, but once it was becoming a pattern with no sign of stopping on its own, I “course corrected”.

By “course corrected” I mean I used a skill to get an eating behaviour back on track after it had gotten off track.

I did what I know from previous experience works for me – when I opened the 500gm pottle of yogurt I poured half of it into an old 250gm tub. Problem solved. Sense of deprivation and effort = very low (although sometimes course correcting requires more effort than this).

Confidence is key for course correcting, and Experience is key for confidence

At this point in figuring out my personal relationship with food, I have confidence in my ability to course correct because I’ve done it successfully many, many times over.

Course correcting is an overlearned skill for me at this point, so doing it doesn’t feel like a huge stress/burden. I generally don’t feel a sense of panic about it any more. If I do have a moment of panic of “shit, am I going to be able to get this back on track?” I can surf through it (meaning I can let the emotion emerge and let it retreat again on its own). As I said, this confidence in my ability to course correct just comes from practice and being willing to think flexibly.

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