27 October 2016Last updated

Features | People

Ask the expert: I can’t stop eating what I cook!

What you’re clearly struggling with is portion control

Russell Hemmings.
29 Apr 2016 | 12:00 am

I love cooking and food is my passion. But I can’t get enough of my food, and it’s making me fat! I pile my plate high at mealtimes and even go back for second helpings. Can you help? I’d really like to learn to control myself and lose some weight.

Firstly, let me applaud you for cooking your own food and sharing that enthusiasm with your family. The more we eat natural unprocessed foods made from single ingredients, the better.

What you’re clearly struggling with is portion control. As the food you make obviously tastes so great, when you go back for seconds, you are displaying mouth hunger. You’re not hungry, but your brain and mouth are demanding more, because of the taste. In fact, I expect you probably eat until you’re stuffed because of this.

However, there are a number of things you can do to override this response.

Firstly, do your research and challenge yourself to cook tasty food that’s low on fat and sugar. Create a healthy plate, so that half of it has vegetables. We eat with the eyes as well as the mouth, so use your expertise to make things visually appealing and go for different colours when it comes to veggies as this will ensure you eat a wide variety.

Measure things as you cook, too. Focus on making just enough and follow the recipe guidelines as this way it will all be gone in one sitting and you won’t stuff yourself with leftovers.

When it comes to eating, don’t gulp your food, and practise mindful eating. This means focusing intensely on every mouthful you take, savouring the flavours and textures. Don’t put any more food into your mouth before you have finished a morsel, and put your cutlery down between mouthfuls. This will help to slow you down and allow your brain the time it needs to send the message to your stomach that you’re full. Drink water with your meal and enjoy the experience.

If you do feel the craving you mentioned, then plan ahead for what you might do to distract yourself when it hits. Make sure it involves something away from the kitchen and you will find that the craving subsides after a few minutes of doing something different. You could even do some gentle exercise, like going for a walk, to get you out and also get that added benefit to your overall health.

Got a problem?

Email your queries to

Russell Hemmings.

Russell Hemmings

Life coach, and clinical and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist. More info: / 04 4273627 / 055 2867275.