In November, 2017, I wrote to the Jewish Food Hero community (what I refer to as our digital sisterhood. You can join us here) and asked them to contribute ideas for a blog post about not overeating.
Part of what I wrote in the newsletter:
I am preparing my notes to write a blog post for January. After visiting the US this summer, I have been thinking about how I go through an annual shock/disbelief cycle about the food habits of different cultures. Since my return to Asia, I have been thinking about what to write about my experience that might be supportive for you.
I realized that one of my main coping mechanisms to get through the visit in a healthy way is to simply focus on not falling into overeating. Overeating is so built into the American way of life: the portion sizes at restaurants, the snacking all day, convenience stores, those extra-large lattes! It feels hard to not fall into it even if you have the best intentions.
So I am writing a blog post about how to keep safe from overeating.
I am hoping that you will contribute ideas to this post.
In your reply, tell me:
- What is your main tip for not overeating
I look forward to your responses. Please note that I will keep all responses confidential.
Good to know:
Overeating refers to when an individual eats more than their body needs. Overeating leads to weight gain and can lead to obesity. It feels true that when we overeat we are not actually physically hunger. We are overeating to cope with difficult emotions like stress, anger, or anxiety; placing too much food into our bodies in hopes that we will magically feel better or not feel (i.e. eating to numb ourselves) difficult emotions.
Sadly, it’s rare that we find ourselves overeating whole/healthy foods. Added to this, overeating rarely helps us feel better emotionally. It actually usually makes us feel worse! When we overeat we are likely consuming more of the bad things for us and less of the good.
Overeating habits are amplified by the processed food industry. It is hard to even remember what a healthy portion size looks like in developed countries where food is cheap and food and drink items are supersized. Thankfully, there are some simple and gentle ways to start eating the right amount of food for your unique body.
Here is a list of my favorite 18 responses I received via email: (I put all of these in the first person). Please note some of the strategies;
- feel more supportive than others
- feel like good ideas
- are spiritual
- are funny
- might make you feel sad
Feel free to read the list below and try the ones that stand out to you most.
18 Supportive Ways Jewish Women Keep Themselves From Overeating
- Listen to my body signal that I am full. When I am full, I stop eating.
- Tell myself that if I like the taste, I take a “doggy bag” home.
- Know my trigger foods and stay away from them.
- Remind myself of the Torah ideals of not eating too much and not wasting food.
- My mantra: “Hashem entrusted me with this body. It is my job to take good care of my body”.
- Tell myself that if I overeat, I am letting myself down.
- Remember my grandmother’s words; “It is not good for a woman to overeat. Overeating makes a woman a prisoner in her own body.”
- Eat three regular meals and two snacks during the day, making sure to include protein and veggies in each meal.
- Share: Order one portion for two people.
- Say blessings over food before I eat.
- Fill my plate with small portions. I tell myself I can always go back for more if I feel hungry.
- Channel Japanese women’s wisdom: stop eating when I am 80% full.
- Keep Kosher, it helps me impose self-control.
- Do as French women do! Do not eat between meals, drink water, and eat small portions.
- Eat a large salad or an apple before consuming my main meal.
- Remind myself that I do not need to eat all the food on the table.
- Drink a cup of nice cold lemon water before I begin eating the meal.
- As a grandmother now, my secret to not overeating all these years is never sitting down during meals.
Your turn: Share you most supportive tip to not overeating!