We live in a world of excess. It is no wonder that people struggle with overeating. My wellness counseling clients often come to me because they seem to struggle with being able to eat foods that they love in a mindful way.
People feel they have to be all or nothing. Either be on a diet or not on diet. I don’t think that is true. In this article I am sharing some mindful eating reflection questions that can help you avoid overeating, enjoy the foods you love, and still be healthy.
Why Is It Important To Ask Mindful Eating Questions?
It is always important to constantly be questioning yourself. When we understand our “why” for doing something, whether that is eating too many cookies or why we responded in a certain way to a coworker, it is important to always be learning about ourselves.
I have learned in my own life and through working with my wellness counseling clients that typically our response to something goes deeper than the surface. When it comes to mindful eating, asking reflective questions helps us to get down to the heart of what is really happening, so we can deal with the problem in positive ways instead of overeating.
It seems simple, but being consistent with using mindful eating questions, you can help unravel your overeating habits and be the start of avoiding overeating all together.
The Top Mindful Eating Reflection Questions To Avoid Overeating
When you know that you are triggered to begin overeating, the best thing you can do is take a pause and ask yourself these few mindful eating questions. It will only take a minute or two and the best part is it can stop you in your tracks when you think you may overeat.
1. Do I feel in control when I eat or drink this food?
This is a simple yes or no question, but it takes real honesty and courage to answer it. We all want to believe that we are always in control of ourselves. But ALL of us, myself in included, have food and drinks that we tend to over do it on.
This is because we have created an emotional relationship to that food. That is very hard to break. So I always say try to avoid a food that you have an emotional tie to as much as possible.
2. What emotion am I feeling right now?
We are often triggered by emotions first, then our brain gets to work, and the physical body follows. I have seen that identifying the emotion first will help you decipher and hopefully control the craving.
I try to keep it simple with my wellness clients and myself. I tell them just to say the first option that comes to mind. A simple emotion like angry, sad, happy, excited, scared, etc.
After you name it, then you can go deeper and ask yourself some more reflective questions.
3. Is the emotion I am feeling REALLY how I feel?
I have witnessed that asking this question can be life changing for many people. We all have our go-to emotion that we are comfortable experiencing. For example, I had a wellness client that kept telling me that she was angry when she was on the program and cleansing from inflammatory foods. She kept using the word angry with me.
I eventually asked her, when she was at work and someone wasn’t doing their job correctly how did she feel? “Angry.” she said.
What about in yoga when you can’t get posture, I asked her. “Angry,” she replied.
And what about in personal relationships, how do you usually respond when someone hurts your feelings? “Angry. I guess I am an angry person,” she told me.
I told her she wasn’t! It is just that anger was the easiest emotion for her express. Sadness or hurt or overwhelm came out as anger too.
I then asked her what she does at work when she was angry, and her answer was to grab a snack out the vending machine.
All I can say is we both sat there amazed because by asking these simple mindful eating questions we revealed so much about her overeating habits. We just had to go a bit deeper.
4. What can I do right now instead of eating?
We all need comfort sometimes. We all need to work through hard moments. It is having the awareness BEFORE we reach for the food. We want to have a positive go to distraction to avoid overeating.
Just think about something else you can do for ten minutes. Like take a walk, call a supportive friend, pull out a journal and free write for a few minutes, or even listening to your favorite song.
If after ten minutes you are still having that craving then you may be hungry. But a lot of times getting our mind and emotions into a more balanced and level-headed state, can reveal that we aren’t really hungry. We were just triggered by emotions to eat or drink something.
5. Would I feel negative feelings about myself after I eat or drink?
I have found in my own life and with clients, that when we ask ourselves this reflection question many times the answer we find is guilt or shame. For many of us, when we give in to the cravings, instead of it making us feel better, we typically feel worse.
Shame and guilt then drive us into a cycle of eating or drinking more, only to arrive right back in the same place. Over and over again we take ourselves on the merry-go-round of guilt and shame.
This is a really difficult question to ask yourself, but I also think that it is an important one. If you can look ahead to where you are headed and know it is a place of negative emotions, then you may be able to stop yourself and avoid overeating.
6. It takes practice and consistency!
Okay, so this isn’t a reflective mindful eating question, but it was important that I add this to the list. You are not going to change your life by going through this list one time. You have to keep consistently pausing and asking yourself these hard questions.
You may reveal some things that are difficult or embarrassing, and that is okay too. You can’t make positive changes without revealing the root cause of the problem.
I love helping people ask themselves these hard questions in a nurturing, kind, and non-judgmental environment. If you want someone to talk through these mindful eating reflection questions with you then you should go ahead and sign up for free inquiry call with me.
Additionally, we have a FREE mindfulness workbook you can use to help get started with tracking these mindful eating questions and it even provides additional mindful eating worksheets for even more guidance. Just fill in the form below.
Other Things Besides Asking Mindful Eating Questions That Help Stop Overeating
There are a lot of other ways to help you stop overeating. Here is a quick list of things that you can do in the moment when you are having a craving and you know you aren’t really hungry so you can avoid overeating.
- Take a walk
- Talk to a supportive friend
- Change your environment
- Listen to a song you love
- Do a short mediation
- Go to yoga class
- Journal about your feelings
- Pray or recite a mantra
- Have a hot tea
- Find nature/go outside for a few minutes
Asking thoughtful and meaningful mindful eating questions before a meal can go a long way in stopping yourself from eating too much.
Asking yourself mindful eating questions can also help you identify cravings and understand yourself better. It takes consistency and rigorous honesty. It can be life changing to take inventory and ask yourself the questions that you have been avoiding.
I have seen these questions help many clients and I hope they help you as well!
If you want additional help with your wellness and eating habits, definitely check out my virtual wellness coaching services (where you can book a FREE discovery call). Or, if you are interested in a program that’s already setup for you, check out my Mindful Elimination Program to get started with mindful eating right now.