Sunday, 15 September 2013

Too Much On Your Plate?

I was blown away when last year I discovered a fantastic website called Too Much On Her Plate which aims to help intelligent busy women to make peace with food and end stress eating and overeating. It’s the first website I’ve seen which offers practical and realistic advice without being patronising and rather than focus on calories and exercise, looks at feelings of overwhelm and overload as a contributing factor to feeling unable to control eating.

The inspiring Psychologist Dr Melissa McCreery tells us that many of her clients are professional intelligent women, who for example are able to run a hugely successful business while juggling motherhood yet feel disempowered when it comes to food and eating. I’ve found this website incredibly helpful personally as there is plenty of brilliant advice and various tools you can read and download. Melissa offers various services from personal telephone sessions or online programmes. What’s more is that Melissa has been through all of this herself so understands the issues both personally and professionally. I follow the blog religiously and I was so excited to hear Melissa has written a fantastic book just released today (blog review to follow). Check out amazon to get a copy. There is also a fanastic offer at the end of this post. feel honoured to feature such an awesome woman on the Vivi blog.

Welcome Melissa! Tell us how Too Much On Her Plate came about.
Hi Vivi! I created because I saw too many women struggling with what I now call the 3 Os – overwhelm, overload, and overeating. They were feeling stressed and overloaded from trying to “get it all done,” feeling unsuccessful when it came to feeling healthy, happy, and balanced, and were beating themselves up for not being able to make it all happen. The weight loss industry tends to preach food plans and willpower and that doesn’t address what’s really going on. Those 3 Os can create a vicious cycle and traditional diets and weight loss plans can make it worse. I wanted to be able to teach women that there really is a way out – and it usually brings more ease and joy as well as success.

You’ve also had struggles with food and eating yourself. Are you able to tell us about that?
In my book I say that when I talk about my struggles with food and eating, sometimes I feel like a fraud. That’s because, although there was a time when fighting with food made me miserable and took up far too much of my time and energy, I won that battle and it almost seems like a lifetime ago. I made peace with food over 27 years ago, and unlike a diet or a plan that relies on willpower and determination, my peace has never faltered. It’s rock solid. People who know me now don’t really believe I ever had “issues,” but there was a time when I was owned by the scale, I never knew if my pants would fit, and I was happy or mad at myself depending on how I’d eaten that day. My message is that it is possible to move beyond that – and to leave that way of thinking, struggling, and living behind – forever. You asked me about founding Really, I got serious about that when I heard one-too-many women tell me that they knew they would always struggle with food and that they just needed to adjust their expectations and get more willpower. That’s such a myth and life is simply too short and too precious to spend it struggling with food.

I so agree. Why do busy women struggle so much with food and eating?
It can be a pretty compelling trap. Busy women are often facing a lot of things that can make overeating pretty appealing. Things like exhaustion, stress, limited time, and high expectations can all be recipes for overeating. Couple these with a reluctance to take time for yourself (either because you can’t find the time or don’t feel like you “should”) and food becomes an easy, available way to try to take care of your feelings, reward yourself, or amp up your energy without taking away from anything else.

I’ve written about being a Nutritionist yet gaining a fair bit of weight and feeling like a fraud. Do you have healthcare professionals with similar concerns?
Vivi, I love that first post you wrote on this issue. I believe you helped a lot of women by writing it. I’ve worked with many nutritionists, healthcare and fitness professionals, coaches, and leaders in their industries who told me how embarrassed and sometimes ashamed they felt because this was their struggle. There is a misconception that a) this is as simple as “just eat less and move more” and b) everyone else has it figured out and there is something wrong with you if you don’t. The truth is, the shame and guilt make things worse, and overeating struggles are common – and a major reason why most weight loss attempts fail.

 Sometimes it seems there is literally too much on our plates – where would one even start if we were thinking of tackling food and eating issues? Most of us would go on a diet and hammer the gym. What would you say to that?
Vivi, I just made a whole series of videos on why this is definitely not the best first step! They are free and are available at The short answer is that you are going to build more success if you start by tackling the reasons you are overeating before you focus too much on the food itself. Then, stifle your overachiever and start making small changes that feel absolutely do-able.

Ah - the overachiever! That's a biggie. How have your clients changed after using your services?
More than one client has said to me that when they made peace with food they also made peace with their lives. It’s true. When you tackle emotional eating and the reasons that you are struggling with food in the first place, whether it’s stress or frustration or loneliness or a shortage of me-time, you are going to start creating lasting solutions that are much, much bigger than food.

Your website says you were a PE dropout at school now you’re training for your tenth marathon – wow that’s amazing! How did that come about?
I never ever thought I’d be a runner, but it turns out that running in the beautiful places where I live is one of my favourite things. It’s important to start thinking of our bodies as a place where we feel good instead of as this thing that we have to control and mold. I run for quiet time and to untangle my thoughts. I run to be outdoors. I run on the weekend to have time with my friends. I never thought I’d be a runner and I never thought I’d be a marathoner, but it’s kind of like life. You just start taking steps and over time, when you keep taking them, you go farther than you thought you could go.

Inspiring! Fantasy dinner party – who would you invite (dead or alive)?
Oh boy, great question and I’m the woman who goes blank when I get hit with something like this. I think Michelle Obama, Katherine Hepburn, Betty White, BrenĂ© Brown, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ellen Degeneres and Oprah would make a great women’s night out though!

I'll be gatecrashing - especially if Oprah is there. Your new book is out today - it's awesome. What made you write it and could tell us a bit about it.
The Emotional Eating Rescue Plan for Smart, Busy Women is available on It’s a day-by-day rescue plan for emotional eating and overeating designed specifically for high-performing, busy women ready to take control of their eating and their weight. It’s based on over 20 years of work with smart women struggling with these issues. I wanted to create a guide that women could use to move beyond vicious cycles and diets that don’t work to create a peaceful relationship with food.

If my UK sistas felt that they could do with a spot of Melissa in their life apart from your book what would you recommend they tap into from Too Much On Her Plate?
Go right to the website and sign up for the free stuff! Right now, my Smart Solutions to Overeating 3-part video class is free for the taking at and I have a free audio series: 5 Simple Steps to Move Beyond Overwhelm with Food and Life
Refreshing and inspiring or what? So ladies, ditch that diet, get Melissa's book, sign up to her website and use the tools recommended. Also, you can take advantage of this brilliant offer - buy the book between today and 21st September and receive loads of bonus resources. Click here for information.