Ep. 296: Why You Overindulge (and What To Do Instead)

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It happens to all of us: you go out with friends or family and fully intend to stay within your calorie target and stay on track for weight loss, but you find yourself overindulging. It seems like this behavior is beyond your control, but in this episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast, I’m sharing the real reason you overindulge and offer a solution for what you can do instead.

My friend, food is not just fuel – we’ve all been socialized to associate it with feelings of love, comfort, and pleasure. Overindulgence occurs in social situations or special occasions, and is driven by a desire to feel loved and connected.

But here’s the thing: no amount of food or drink can truly fill the void. The only person who can fill it is you. By investing in yourself and cultivating feelings of love, joy, and celebration from within, you can break the cycle of overindulgence.

So, instead of viewing indulgence as a negative or self-sabotaging act, think of it as an investment in your relationships, pleasure, and self-worth. You deserve pleasure, joy, and connection. By investing in yourself, you’ll find a healthier balance and a more sustainable approach to indulgence.


Hello, hello, GOALfriend. Welcome to episode number 296, Why You Overindulge and What to Do Instead. You guys, I'm so excited to talk about this with you today. This is a podcast that I have had in my brain for much longer than I could enumerate right at this moment, I'm gonna say at least months, probably even years. There's this thing that has come up so many times in so many different conversations over the years of working with hundreds and thousands of women helping them lose weight online. I get lots and lots of comments about indulgences and over indulgences and for whatever reason, every single time that word comes up, it's always in the context of a conversation where I as the coach have bigger fish to fry When I'm answering a question like you'll use the word indulgence or overindulgence with me, and in the context of the question you're asking, even though I desperately want to parse out that word and have today's conversation with you, you're asking me a different question. And I think it's because we all have this notion that indulgence or overindulgence is an actual, standardized thing. Like, “Oh yes, some foods are an indulgence and when you eat those foods, it's an overindulgence,” and, and I would like to talk with you about that. So today's podcast, I wanna, I wanna be really clear because it could go a couple of different ways. And so I really wanna narrow in exactly what we're talking about and how we're talking about it. I am picking apart the word indulgence for you and talking about why you overindulge and what to do instead because I have some really, I think, mind-blowing advice for you. So first of all, let me cover that. The word indulge or indulgence, we all tend to use it regarding specific kinds of foods, meaning foods that are rich or buttery or sugary or like junk type foods or things that we don't eat very often. And we tend to use the word as though that automatically makes it, I'm just gonna say “bad” or “fattening.” And I wanna be really clear as I feel like I so often am, but I, it does bear repeating. And honestly, in the course of today's conversation, I think you're gonna understand why this is my food philosophy and why I tell you all the time that you can eat the foods you love in portion sizes that make sense. Because simply indulging in certain kinds of foods does not make or break your weight loss. When you are eating with a slight caloric deficit over time, no matter what foods you are eating, you will lose weight. And to be very, very clear from my friends who love to tell me that calories in and calories out are not the way it goes or that you have to eat healthy foods, I'm not suggesting that you should eat junk foods all day. I am not suggesting that it would feel good or be good for your health to eat your calorie target in Twinkies every day. I think that sounds disgusting. However, you need to understand that simply eating healthy does not put you in a caloric deficit. Eating low-calorie foods does not automatically put you in a caloric deficit. Doing the things that we all think we need to do, like restricting ourselves away from pizza or ice cream or cookies or hotdogs or whatever – none of that automatically makes you lose weight. You lose weight by eating with a slight caloric deficit over time. The foods that you eat will feel in your body either filling or not feeling filling or energetic or sluggish. There are lots of good reasons to eat healthy and good-for-you foods, but weight loss isn't one of those reasons. You want to eat a combination of foods that feels good, like energetic and healthy, and is probably, you know, cancer-fighting and good for you in lots of healthy ways, along with foods that feel good emotionally. This is the other point that I would love to talk with you about. I am not one of those weight loss coaches who wants you to believe that food is only fuel. It's not. We get taught and socialized our entire lives, literally from the moment of birth. You come into the world, you are crying, the whole world is scary and weird, and there's light, and there's air you have to breathe, and somebody says, “It's okay, it's okay. Here's food.” We get taught from the minute we're born that food is love, that it's comfort, that it's belonging and community and pleasure. We eat food when we're celebrating and when we're joyful. We also pretty frequently eat foods when we are sad or stressed out. And that's the next conversation we're gonna come to. What I want you to know is that if you want to, there could be mindset work around disassociating foods from a lot of the feelings that we associate them with, like love, comfort, pleasure, et cetera. However, I don't think you have to do all of that work. I truly believe that you can find your balance of foods that are nutritious and filling and healthy, alongside foods that feel comforting and pleasurable and like you belong with your family. This is a big part of the conversation that we're gonna be having today. The other thing that I wanted to parse out is that we are not talking about emotional eating. This is what I was saying about sometimes we eat for reasons other than, you know, pleasure and joy and comfort, in a good way. But sometimes we eat as an avoidance tactic when what we're feeling is like stress or sadness or anger or something that we'd rather not feel and that is a different conversation for a different day. That kind of emotional eating, you might refer to it as overindulgence, but it's not the kind of overindulgence that I'm talking about. The kind of indulgence and overindulgence that I wanted to address today is the kind that we do, I'm gonna say kind of innocuously. It's like when we go out for drinks with friends or when we get together with family and we eat or drink in a way that is different from normal, but within like foods that we already like. Foods that we would have chosen, but maybe in a different amount. That we overindulge in particular situations. And I wanna address why that happens and what we can think about it instead. Because of course, even though I said what you can do instead, of course I wanna talk about what you can think instead. My friend, I would like to offer you that the word indulge and indulgence and overindulgence isn't serving you. That it puts on you a layer of judgment that is unnecessary. And specifically coming back to where we started with, if you are eating within your caloric deficit, that no matter what kinds of foods you're eating, even if they are quote-unquote indulgent foods, sugary, buttery, savory, alcoholic, whatever, like whatever it is that you might think of as indulgent, that that word doesn't serve you because there is this implied idea that it is the food that will either get you to your weight loss goal or not, and that there's something I'm gonna say inherently wrong. This is that judgment layer that when you eat those foods, you are somehow sabotaging your weight loss goal. And I wanna be clear that the science is on my side here, that eating in your caloric deficit, no matter what the food, you can still lose weight over time. It's not one food, one time, or even once in a while. No matter what kind of nutritive, dense, or lacking in nutrition that particular food is, it does not affect your ability to lose weight. I could, oh my gosh, I could go on and on about this forever and I'm gonna rein myself in here because it's not the point of what I'm saying . So let me, let me move to the overindulgence. The reason we would eat food that we think of as indulgent more than we mean is the point of what I wanna talk about today. Coming back to this idea that sometimes we eat to seek the feeling of love or community or belonging or comfort or pleasure or celebration or joy. We seek those feelings from food because we haven't, I'm gonna say taken the time, but it's not time. We haven't maybe taken the effort or possibly even thought about creating those feelings for ourselves away from food. When I was younger and not even that much younger. I was trying to decide what kind of timeframe I wanted to put this in. I've been doing this work on my overindulgence and I've been doing work on my overindulgence in all of the ways that we mentioned today. Thinking about foods as being good or bad or fattening or, you know, worthy of weight loss. Thinking about, uh, well not even thinking about but like eating foods for reasons other than hunger because of trying to get away from what I would consider negative emotions, things like stress or sadness or anger or whatever, but specifically the overindulgence of foods that I'm willing to eat long since having gotten past the, okay, a cookie or even two cookies, or three cookies or 10 cookies in and of itself is not going to stop me from either losing weight or maintaining my weight depending on what my goal is in the moment. But it's not the cookies in and of themselves. It's my, it's my thought process and my feelings that lead me to eat more of the cookies than I intended to. And of course, I'm gonna go with cookies here. I say, of course, as though you know anything about me. I am a girl who will always eat cookies. That's not true. Those words were coming out of my mouth and I was like, Nope. If your cookie has raisins in it, get it away from me. That's gross. Or if your cookie has any other kind of fruit in it, I'm not a cooked fruit kind of girl. I like my fruits fresh off the trees or you know, wherever they grow. I'm not a, not an apple pie or a peach cobbler kind of girl. I would much, much, much rather have a good chocolate chip cookie. Hmm. Anyway, here's the thing. The reason I bring up cookies is because my mom growing up would always bake cookies. My mom still bakes cookies. My mom loves to bake. It's how she shows love. It's how I show love by eating what she has offered me. This is, this has been part of our relationship my entire life. There are other aspects of it, of course, but the one that I want to illuminate for you here today is that I would find myself very frequently when my mom would bake cookies and they would be around so that I would eat more of them than I intended to. And I got to the point, like I said, where I didn't think that I was eating from stress or anger or sadness or other kinds of avoidance techniques. And I didn't think that I was, you know, eating something bad. I had long since peeled off all those layers of judgment, but I was still overeating, overindulging in this particular way and it was very confusing for me. And so I started trying to pull it apart and think about how I wanted to behave and what I wanted from my mom's cookies. And what I realized when I was overindulging in the cookies is that I wanted to feel loved by my mom specifically in that particular moment. And the thing, the thing that cookies cannot do, just so you know, is create a feeling for you. And even another person cannot create a feeling for you, a feeling of love is always going to come from inside you. I'm gonna take a left turn and I promise that this is all gonna come back around. I was having a conversation with my husband very, very recently. A couple of years ago, my husband's grandmother passed away and left us a very nice inheritance. My husband and I make plenty of money. We cover all of our bills. We're living a comfortable lifestyle. And we both decided mutually that there were a couple of outstanding things that we wanted to pay off to be more or less debt free. We still make payments on our house, but everything else we now own. And we were both really happy to simply put the money into an investment fund and just kind of pretend like we didn't have it. It's been lovely. I haven't thought about the money very often except when I, you know, log in and take a look at how in the past couple of years, I don't know if you have investments, but I, I feel like you probably know that the economy is not great right now. So investments over the past couple of years, some of them I'm sure have made people lots of money. There's always, there's always people making money. There are always people losing money. That is how money works. But the particular investment that we have made, it's not yielding a whole lot. We also haven't lost a whole lot. There were times over the past couple of years when we were down pretty significantly, but overall we're pretty much maintaining ish. And so I got a call from my broker just a couple of days ago where he was asking me about reallocating and was offering me some, some advice about, “Hey, here's what's going on with the market right now. Here's what you might do. You know, your strategy is long-term, so looking at it this way, blah, blah blah.” Anyway, so I had a conversation with my husband about what would you like to do? Does this make sense in your mind? What should I say, yes or no? I mean, we were, we were just kind of hashing it out and my husband was just really unhappy with the investment and he was kind of complaining. I'm not throwing him under the bus except that I am. Sorry honey! Except that my husband doesn't listen to the podcast . But I was, I was kind of just listening to him and he was just complaining about how, you know, we're not making any money off of it and it doesn't seem like it's worth it and it's kind of frustrating, and if we had done X, y, or Z that maybe it would've turned out better. And just all this stuff. And I was like, it was early in the morning and I was not in the mood to be life coaching him, let's be honest. And I was like, do you wanna do this thing or not? Like, are you just complaining, or do you have a plan? And he's like, no, I guess I'm just kind of complaining . So, together, we reiterated that this is a long-term strategy, that we don't want or need any of this money right this minute. That both of us have agreed that this money is very likely going to be passed down to our kids someday. That we are not trying to make money off of it for our retirement or to, you know, buy something or do anything with it. That it is a very long-term investment that we have very, I do not need at all to, you know, double or triple our money. If it stays the same, that's fine too. So after we had kind of gone over this and I had turned it around in my mind, like what I wanted from that money and why it felt so easy to feel that way, I realized just how related this is to overindulgence. Bear with me while I draw some lines between these stories. I don't need the money that we have invested to grow. I don't need it to be anything other than what it is, because I feel perfectly sufficient with the other money that we have. We live, in my opinion, a very comfortable lifestyle without needing that money to do anything other than be there for our kids someday when we pass on. That feeling of complete sufficiency means that the investment doesn't need to yield anything other than whatever it is yielding. When I feel sufficient in my mother's love, aka when I have created in myself a feeling of being completely lovable, the cookies don't have to do anything for me. When you overindulge, you are trying to fill a bucket that has a hole in it, and the only person who can fill the hole is you, not the food, not the drink, not the situation of going out with the friends, not the drinking of the alcohol or the eating of the cookies. I'm going to suggest that you think about your indulgences as investments. When I think about a cookie being an investment in my relationship with my mom and with myself, it feels very easy to eat the amount of cookies that I was wanting to eat anyways, which is to say three of them . I love having three cookies. It's the exact right amount. It's that hit of sugar and butter that feels amazing to me without going too far because there is an amount of sugar that does not feel good in my body. There's an amount of butter that does not feel good in my body, and there's frankly just an amount of calories that I eat in a day to maintain my weight because that's my goal right now. I'm maintaining my weight. It's very, very easy when I feel sufficient, when I feel lovable, when I feel worthy and whole and connected, when I feel all those things in myself, I don't need them from food. The reason we overindulge is because we're trying to fill a bucket with a hole. When you consider eating out with friends, drinking, and doing things that you would consider indulgent, if you call those investments, you are investing in those relationships. You are investing in yourself. You deserve the investment of pleasure. You deserve the investment of love, joy, celebration, belonging, and comfort. Invest in yourself and it won't feel like an indulgence and you won't be inclined to overindulge. Your bucket will fill up and it will feel full. And you can go ahead and use it as a satiety metaphor or analogy, whichever one is appropriate there. Also, there's an amount of cookies that feels full for me now that never used to, when I was eating cookies to try and feel love, all I felt well frankly was overindulged. I felt bloated and that, like, brain pinging off the sides of my skull, kind of sugar high. And then not even vaguely disappointed later. I was gonna start this podcast with a couple of definitions and I think it might be more appropriate for us now. I looked up the word indulge and it means to allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of a thing. And I thought about how we all use that word with the parenthetical, with the implication of a later negative consequence. We think that indulging is gonna come back and bite us on the butt someday. Whereas investing means committing resources with the expectation of a later benefit. What if you invested in drinking with your friends? What if you invested in eating cookies with your mom? What if you invested in your own pleasure because it fills you up? You deserve pleasure, community, joy, and love, and you don't get those things from food or drink. You get them from yourself. You invest in yourself in order to not overindulge. I really hope that this was helpful for you today. Thank you so much for listening. I'll talk to you again soon.

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Originally aired July 16, 2023
It happens to all of us: you go out with friends or family and fully intend to stay within your calorie target and stay on track for weight loss, but you find yourself overindulging. It seems like this behavior is beyond your control, but in this episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast, I’m sharing the real reason you overindulge and offer a solution for what you can do instead.
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Mindset expert and certified life coach Pahla B knows a thing or two about changing your mind to change your weight and your life. She’s the creator of The 5-0 Method, Amazon-best selling author of the book “Mind Over Menopause,” and former yo-yo dieter who has cracked the code on lifelong weight maintenance. Join Pahla B each week for the personal insights, transformative mindset shifts, and science-backed body advice that can help you lose all the weight you want and keep it off forever.