Are you putting yourself at risk for sabotaging your health goals? Use this tool to evaluate how vulnerable you might be. Knowledge is power!
You can assess your current and future risk levels. First, select the time frame for your assessment.
Are you assessing your risk level for?
- This moment
2. Later today
3. Tomorrow at a special event
4. Next week as you go back to work
5. Or ______________________________ (you fill in the blank)
Do you experience or anticipate any of the following?
Yes or No — Upcoming social events/restaurant outings/travel
Yes or No — Mood/emotions (like boredom, anger, frustration, loneliness, stress, etc.)
Yes or No — Lack of sleep
Yes or No — Skipping meals or going long periods without eating (physical deprivation leading to excessive hunger)
Yes or No — Diet mentality (mental deprivation like the “good” vs. “bad” food or “all or nothing” thinking; Example: “Since I ate that cookie, I’ve already blown it. I might as well just give up today.”)
Yes or No — Cravings
Yes or No — Storing food on the kitchen countertops (like bread, crackers, chips, sweets, etc.)
Yes or No — Overbuying food (like bulk foods)
Yes or No — Watching TV, multi-tasking, or standing up while eating
Answering yes to any of these can increase your risk for overeating. Don’t let that discourage you! The good news is that once you know the areas that put you at risk, you’ll be able to make a plan so that you don’t fall prey to behaviors or choices that prevent you from reaching your health goals.
Mary knows that going to work tomorrow will potentially set her up for falling off her health plan. She takes the self-assessment and realizes that there will be several challenges in her day: stress about a big project that she needs to complete, a potluck for a co-worker’s birthday, and a meeting right after work which means she won’t get home until 8:30pm. Rather than just going through her day without a plan she decides to be proactive and comes up with some strategies.
Mary’s plan is to schedule in two breaks during the time that she’s working on her project. During those breaks she plans to go outside to get some fresh air and de-stress. As for the potluck, she has a plan to scan over the potluck table before serving her plate. She’s going to give herself permission to choose two “specialty” items that might be higher in calorie but only in moderate portions and then balance that out with fruits and veggies. She’s also going to pack a snack to eat mid-morning so that she’s not starving when she heads in to the potluck. She’s decided to pack a sandwich and salad to eat right before her meeting after work. That will give her the fuel she needs to be alert during the meeting and again not be starving when she gets home.
When she gets home she knows that her typical pattern is to go straight to the kitchen and begin munching (while standing up) so she decides to first take a detour and head to the bathroom for a warm shower to unwind from the day. Then she’ll feel refreshed and calm and can make a reasonable selection for her evening snack.
Wouldn’t you feel great at the end of the day making smart choices and preventing out of control eating! No shame, no guilt as you head off to bed.
You can stay on track with your health goals by being proactive and learning to anticipate the barriers that might get in your way! Try using the Overeating Risk Self-Assessment tool over the next few days.