Nutrition & Dieting/Bad Eating Habits


Dear Cari,

I am trying to figure out some ways to stop eating habits that I have developed.  If I don't know exactly what I'll have for dinner (or sometimes even when I do) I'll often go to the fridge, open containers, and take bites of things until I decide what I want.  Often I feel like I've eating a whole dinner before I eat dinner!  If I'm making peanut butter and jelly I get one bite of peanut butter for every bit I spread on the sandwich.  If I'm chopping veggies or cheese to add to an omelette I'll snack on some of it before I begin cooking.  I don't like these habits because they feel compulsive.  Once I start it is difficult to stop picking and snacking.  Furthermore, I know "just don't do it" is the obvious answer, but somehow that's not working for me.  Usually this is worse when I'm extremely tired or over hungry, but sometimes it happens for no reason at all when I'm perfectly awake and have recently eaten.  I know there are no quick fixes, but wondered if you have any insight.  Thank you!

Hi Reena
I would try keeping a diary for a while so that you really do know when it's worse and when it's better.  is it a certain time of the day?  Is it after you've seen a particular person?  It feels to me as if your 'hunger' isn't for food but for something else.  Are you bored with your life?  when last did you feel fullly fulfilled?  I discuss this kind of eating in my second book, The Joy-Filled Body:  Eat! Play! Love and Live Light!  And you'll find a few pages on emotional eating on my website:

Also, if you do find yourself wanting to snack, take out a smaller amount that you would east usually, and give yourself permission to eat it and then do so, but mindfully, savouring all the flavours  etc...
Acknowledge that you're feeding a head hunger and then let it go.
Hope that helps
Kind regards

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Cari Corbet-Owen


I'd love to answer your questions about how to lose weight naturally --without diets, diet products and diet programs. I love to answer your questions about: intuitive eating, turning exercise into fun (instead of a chore) and how to improve your body image even before you reach some or other magical figure on a scale. Please note, that as I'm a psychologist and not a dietician, I don't answer any questions related to nutrition.


I'm a Clinical Psychologist who has researched diets and dieting and what works and what doesn't (in medical and psychological journals) for almost 2 decades. I'm the author of two books: The Mind over Fatter Program and The Joy-Filled Body: Eat! Play! Love and Live! I have written numerous articles spoken at psychological conferences, lead workshops internationally and been on TV and radio. I was a childhood dieter at 11, anorexic by 15, a frantic yo-yo dieter for 20 years before discovering that STOPPING dieting was the answer. My URL:

Have been the consulting psychologist to the South African Nutrition Experts Panel, and am on the experts panel for Shape Magazine, South African Journal of Natural Medicine and the South African Journal of Psychology.

Shape, Readers Digest, Men's Health, Glamor, South African Journal of Natural Medicine, O magazine and many many others.

Clinical Psychologist

Awards and Honors
Been nominated for 2006 and 2007 as South African business women of the year in the Health category for starting The Mind over Fatter movement. Had an excerpt of my 2nd book selected by O Magazine (South Africa) which appeared in their December 2007 edition.

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