Ever found yourself thinking you’ll have “one bite” of ice cream, but wind up eating two big bowls? Eating four slices of pizza when two would’ve left you satisfied? Afraid to keep certain foods around the house, because you know you'll eat too much of them?
If you said yes to any of the questions above, don’t be discouraged, you just need to learn how to eat the foods you love in moderation! This means knowing and accepting what treats are your favorite and honoring your body’s cravings by enjoying them in a portion that leaves you feeling guilt-free and satisfied.
The tips below can help you practice moderation:
1. Stop classifying foods as “good” and “bad.”
Restriction, commonly seen in diet plans, often has the opposite effect of what we want it to. Try to view all food as equal (instead of certain foods being “bad” or “off limits”). We usually want what we can’t have which leads us to overeat.
Instead, tell yourself that you can have any foods you want when you’re craving them. You’ll be able to eat these foods in moderation because you’re taking away the power they once had.
2. Picture yourself eating a treat you love in a balanced way.
What’s a treat you often find yourself overeating? Take a few minutes, close your eyes and picture yourself eating this treat slowly. Enjoy it. Savor it. Let that one piece be enough (in your mind). Picture this clearly and your real-life actions will follow.
The key with this is to be consistent. Practice visualizing for a few minutes each day, if possible. The more consistent you are, the sooner your behavior will start to change.
3. Set yourself up for success.
If you think you can’t have pizza without overdoing it, then you are definitely going to overdo it the next time you have pizza. In order to change how you behave, you’ve got to start shifting your mindset.
Practice using the phrase, “I can eat all foods I love in moderation.” Repeat this to yourself, or write it out as a reminder! This phrase helps to interrupt the voice that tells you you’ll overeat.
4. Taste the food ... and keep tasting it.
Sometimes we keep eating certain foods because we think it still tastes as amazing as it did when we started. This, of course, leads us to overeat.
One way to check in with the taste is to pause halfway through. Ask yourself, “Does this still taste great?” or “Is this still flavorful?” Becoming aware of this can help you decide to continue eating or to stop.
5. Give in to your cravings.
So often we push away our cravings due to the fear of overeating. Instead, practice honoring your craving by eating that food the next time you’re hungry. Your body will start to trust that you’ll give it what it wants, so you won’t feel the urgency to overeat.
Here’s how it might sound in your mind: “I really want a piece of garlic bread. That sounds perfect. The next time I’m hungry I’ll have something as close to that craving as possible. I’ll savor it, eat it slow and check in with the taste. I’ll eat garlic bread in moderation.”