Most diets look to one or two signs of improvement to show us we are inching towards our goal. These are weight and inches. Most dieters weigh or measure themselves daily or weekly as a sign of hope, a sign their eating is under control.

But, as you know, I’m not a fan of the diet mentality. So what can you look for, other than weight or measurements, to show that you are on the right path

As an example, recently I noticed two signs that my compulsive overeating is not as extreme as it used to be. I went to a doctor’s appointment and found that my weight was at least ten pounds less than it had been in several years. Since I had not been keeping track of my weight very carefully, I’m not exactly sure how much I’ve lost in the past few months. But it gave me a lift to know that working on my emotional issues was leading me to eat in a way that was reducing my weight.

For years I have been meeting weekly for breakfast with my writing partner, Judy. From March, 2020 through May, 2021, due to COVID, we met by Zoom. This May, returning to our restaurant breakfasts, I noticed I was eating more slowly and was satisfied with less food than I’d been the year before.

What signs might you notice that your compulsive eating is getting better? An obvious sign is recognizing that your clothes are looser, or at least not getting tighter even though you are not dieting. Another might be when you can walk up the stairs without becoming winded.

As a therapist, I am trained to notice subtle changes in behavior that are the harbinger of changes in emotional patterns. Like a client of mine who starts asserting herself with her family in ways she wouldn’t have in the past. Or another that has conversations with her spouse about topics that she hadn’t previously been willing to touch.

I notice when an interaction that would have totally thrown me off-kilter in the past doesn’t faze me now.

t’s so easy to get pulled back into the diet mentality by a magazine title or a dieting friend and decide that, because we are not controlling every piece of food we put in our mouths, we are not doing anything about our weight.

But, in the long run, compulsive overeaters need to get to the roots of what is making them overeat, or they will put back every pound they have lost and then some.

Those little moments when we notice something is different provide us hope. Hope there is a better way than dieting to change the way we eat. Hope that we will not keep gaining weight until we can barely move. Hope that we will learn to like ourselves and our lifestyle without having to starve throughout the day.

Over the next few days or weeks, try to notice some little things that have changed for you since you’ve gone on this journey to explore your compulsive overeating. They do not need to be huge or earth-shattering to provide you hope that bigger changes are waiting in your future.