Mindful Eating Programs and Training

Mindful Eating Programs and Training

How to Deconstruct Overeating

Michelle May

Deconstruct overeating to turn eating mistakes into learning opportunities

In my post Instead of a Tightrope, Create a Wide Path to Follow, I showed you how the structure of the Mindful Eating Cycle can help you with awareness, decision-making, problem solving, planning, and setting an intention for how you want to live your life. In this post, I want to demonstrate how to use the Mindful Eating Cycle to deconstruct an overeating episode.

Mistakes are for learning

One of the things I love about mindful eating compared to dieting is that mistakes are part of the process! There is no tightrope to fall off, so there is no need to feel guilty, pay penance, give up, or start over. You just learn and move on.

I want to show you how to deconstruct overeating, so I invited one of the Members of our Mindful Eating Support Community to help me demonstrate how you can use the Mindful Eating Cycle. Together, we’ll deconstruct an overeating episode – and figure out what to do differently next time.

(Be sure to download this handout so you can follow along!)

Deconstruct Overeating

How to Deconstruct an Overeating Episode

Thanks LuAnn! Now, let me recap the key points:

  • When you overeat, don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty! That just keeps you trapped in the past.
  • Instead, use the Mindful Eating Cycle to deconstruct the episode. (Draw it on a piece of paper or use this handout.)
  • I recommend starting with “When?” because it is just easier than “Why?”. “Why?” often reveals itself as you work your way through the cycle.
  • When did you feel like eating? What was the circumstance? Where you hungry? How hungry were you? If not, what were you thinking and feeling?
  • What did you eat?
  • How did you eat it?
  • How much did you eat?
  • Where did the fuel go?
  • Sometimes, one episode of eating leads into the next. If needed, repeat the process above.
  • After organizing your thoughts in this format, do you have any insights about why it happened?
  • What could you do differently next time?

I hope it was helpful to see how the process works. Two things to keep in mind:

  1. This is just one example of an unlimited number of situations you might find yourself in. The beauty of the Mindful Eating Cycle is that it helps no matter what happened.
  2. Don’t feel frustrated if you aren’t immediately able to use this process effectively. There’s a lot more to it than I was able to explain in these short videos. Be patient with yourself and trust the process!

This article was updated from a previous version.

If you enjoyed this article, here are three more to help you:

Triggers for Overeating – Overeating Trigger #1: STRESS

Why am I hungry all the time?

How to Tell if You Are Hungry: Symptoms of Hunger

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