Sometimes we overeat because what we are really craving is rest and relaxation. Stopping for a snack break or coffee break gives us the validation to stop doing what we are doing and rest and pause.
It feels good to stop. So, to make the break last longer we often eat more. We think we are hungry and keep on snacking past the point of physical satiety. We finish the whole muffin. We order the large latte. What we actually want is more break time, or less work. More rest, not more food.
We use food as a reason to rest and to stop doing what we are doing.
Here's the thing to know if you are using food (and that includes all the trips to the cafe for a trim flat white) as permission to rest:
It's okay to take rests and breaks. Human beings are not meant to be "on" all the time. That's why we are called human beings, not human doings! Give yourself permission to stop for a moment and recharge. You don't need food to give you permission or an excuse, you can just stop for a minute, no calories required.
What does non-food rest and relaxation look like for you? Write a list of 10 things. It might be a 15-minute walk round the block, turning your phone on silent for an
hour, 20 minutes on your own reading a book, the spin class at the gym, 10 minutes on Facebook. Give yourself some alternatives.
If you are not physically hungry but the truth is you could do with a break, then choose something on your list instead and recharge. You will feel so much better because you are giving yourself what you actually want. Give yourself what you truly need and the urge to eat will reduce.
Next time you think you might be using food as permission to stop, ask yourself "Am I really hungry right now?"
Watch: Louise Thompson has made a series of videos to help enhance your life. Check out the second one - how to say no: