Do you eat differently alone than you do in public? Do you overeat in public to seem like you “let loose” and then under eat in private to offset this? Or do you under eat in public to act like you have it all together, but then overeat behind closed doors? Write about your behavior, then assess it.I often overeat in public. Not necessarily to let loose, but more so because I don’t like to be seen as a “finicky” or light eater. In other words, sometimes the goal is to feel like more of the group so I follow others – which is to say, I tend to ignore my own hunger cues.
Since I travel a lot, I also eat out quite a bit. I’ve still not quite mastered the art of saying, “Welp, I’m full.” I come from a family of pickers. If the plate is there in front of me, I’ll eat it. It’s a way to participate in the activity, as well as a coping mechanism for when I’m feeling nervous or self-conscious in a large group of people.
I also hate when I’m with a group of people and someone jokes about me “eating like a bird.” Since I operate best on small meals throughout the day, sometimes I don’t actually eat (or want to eat) a large portion at every meal. No matter how much I eat in one sitting, I’m going to be hungry again a few hours later – so why stuff myself? But people always want those around them to feel satiated, so it’s not uncommon to get “teased” for leaving a good amount of food on my plate. So I tend to avoid it.
While I don’t try to offset this behavior later, it is a stressor on my relationship with food. Ultimately, I struggle to listen to and honor my hunger cues. They’re not strong for me, which makes it difficult to stand my ground – both internally and externally – when my body tells me it’s full. I need to create the internal space to do that, otherwise I default to the clean plate club, even when I’m not hungry.
Black Iron Nutrition is offering a 30 Day Mindful Eating Challenge that includes journal prompts and tasks to help bring more mindfulness to our relationships with food. And I’m in! This post is in response to today’s prompt to keep myself accountable and get the most out of my participation. If you’re interested in joining the free challenge, sign up at Black Iron Nutrition’s website here.