Sometimes people eat their feelings through what they don’t or won’t eat. In picky overeating, your focus centers on your distaste for the foods you don’t like. This may result in overeating of the few foods left (often foods high in calories with low nutritional content.) Or, you can become so picky you forget you like any foods. In this case, picky overeating may look like its opposite: you eat everything in front of you, without tasting, as a way to not deal with the fact that you don’t really like anything you eat.

If you engage in picky overeating, you may have a difficult time identifying what you need. You may lose track of when you are hungry, when you need to move, and when you just need a hug. If you don’t know what you need, it is hard to ask for it, much less insist when it isn’t forthcoming. You may also find yourself in a pattern where nothing seems right. You keep looking for the “perfect” option, unwilling to settle for something that is “good enough.” This may mean that you end up deprived because you’re not willing to take what is being offered.

In order to get beyond picky overeating, it is important to put the pleasure back into the eating process. Learning to, once again, taste and smell the foods in front of you can help in developing a liking for a wider variety of foods. As you begin to enjoy the foods you eat, you can learn to differentiate what you are hungry for on any given day.

What can be done about picky overeating?

  • Learning to get what you need out of life.
  • Learning how to identify when you are hungry, thirsty, tired, or need comfort.
  • Becoming willing to accept “good enough” even when it isn’t “perfect.”
  • Slowing down the eating process so you can explore where you get stuck.
  • Putting the pleasure back into your eating, through practicing smelling and tasting the foods in front of you.

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