As we work through the process of making peace with food we may find that there are times when we rebound. The more we know about the various forms of rebound eating the sooner we will realize what is happening and be able to pull ourselves out of the rebound and back on track. Below are the various forms of rebound eating according to the book Intuitive Eating:
- Food competition: this happens when we share food with others. Inevitably someone will eat faster than someone else, which leads the slow eater to speed up their eating in an effort to get their fair share. We move out of this form of rebound eating by knowing that there is enough food to go around. We can always get more. We are blessed to be living in a time of plenty but dieting has kept us trapped in famine, which has led to a heightened sense of deprivation.
- Returning Home Syndrome: We tend to overeat when we return home for a visit because we’ve missed our favorite home-cooked meals. These are typically foods we have sworn off of because some well-meaning diet “guru” has told us it is making (or keeping) us fat. Once we return home all the cravings take over and we eat whatever comfort food is put in our path with reckless abandon. The comfort foods we loved while growing up did not make us fat and they are not keeping us fat either. As a matter of fact, enjoying our favorite comfort foods every now and then gives us control of the food and removes from us the over whelming craving whenever we return home.
- The Empty Cupboard: When we intentionally keep our cupboards bare so that there is nothing to overeat we are actually sabotaging our own efforts. Keeping the cupboards filled is the key to success when it comes to reconnecting with the intuitive eater within. Meal planning is also beneficial and helps us keep healthier foods in the cupboards but remember that focusing solely on healthy foods when you’re not mentally ready to do so may lead to some self-sabotaging behavior so make sure that you make room for your favorite play foods in the cupboards too.
- Captivity Behavior: Whenever we are placed in a situation where foods are kept limited on purpose; such as when one is going through survivalist training or held hostage for whatever reason, we must be prepared for some overeating once things return to “normal.” Making room for and being prepared for this to happen will make the transition shorter and less stressful for the person (people) involved.
- Depression-Era Eating: Those who experienced the Great American Depression will hold food in special regard. There is a constant feeling that there won’t be enough food for everyone. This type of eating can be spotted by the “clean your plate” way of thinking. When in this state one does not like seeing food go to waste.
- Once in a Lifetime: This type of eating happens when we travel, especially if we are on a trip that we’ve always wanted to take and will most likely never take again. The food is something that is specific to the location and can’t be obtained where we live. Typically what happens is that we clean the plate regardless of how full we feel.
- One Last Shot: This happens when we receive a special treat from a friend or when we are invited to enjoy a special meal at someone’s home. Instead of savoring and enjoying each bite we consume the food rapidly and fail to pay attention to the feelings of fullness.
What we all need to remember when we find ourselves in any of the above situations is remember that we are not a lost cause. We have simply taken a step back. Taking a step forward will mean breaking the rules because the rules are what created the problem in the first place. Enjoy the comfort foods, keep the cupboard filled (remembering to include your favorite play foods), savor every bite regardless of who eats faster, whether you’ll ever get to taste this food again, enjoy a similar special occasion, etc. We also need to remember that it is okay to leave food on your plate because stopping when you feel satisfied is part of the solution.
Contact me if you’d like to learn more about reconnecting with your Intuitive Eater.