When I was a kid, my dad frequently told me that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. This would often happen after Sunday mass at the pancake house when I would faithfully order Pigs in a Blanket—three sausages each wrapped in a fluffy buttermilk pancake topped with powdered sugar, a dollop of butter and a massive flood of syrup.
Dad was right; I could never finish the entire plate. But, man, would I ever try!
These days, I still struggle sometimes with “eyes-bigger-than-my-stomach syndrome.” While it’s no longer pancakes that tempt me, I can easily overload my plate or return for seconds and thirds when it comes to yogurt, salmon, broccoli or almond butter. Although these foods might be more nutrient-rich, eating any food past the point of comfort is an unpleasant experience.
Stomach Voting Rights
There are many reasons why we overeat, and I have numerous strategies for not doing so. A very simple one is giving your stomach a vote—and truly listening to what it has to say—before taking more food.
I’ve discovered that my mind can be a greedy beast. Wired for survival, it will pretty much always vote “Yes, give me more food!”
However, if I pause and literally ask my stomach if it wants more, 99.9 percent of the time, it votes “No.” My stomach doesn’t mess around; it doesn’t play mind games. It knows when it’s had enough.
Simple, But Not Always Easy
Although simple in theory, this strategy is not always easy to execute. It requires a willingness to disrupt deeply conditioned behaviors—like eating on autopilot and disembodying from the experience. It necessitates stopping in the heat of the moment, checking in with your stomach, and truly honoring what it says.
Trust that with commitment and consistency, this practice will become easier over time and the reward of feeling better in your body will be worth your efforts.
Of course, there will be moments when your mind completely overrules your stomach. No biggie. Drop any self-judgment while remembering that it’s not about having a perfect relationship with food, but rather a more peaceful, trusting and relaxed one.