Everyone with exception of children has an idea of what overeating should be. Eating too much can cause diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Many at an early age even start being conscious of what they eat so as not to put on weight or lose shape. It is easy to overfeed, especially when you’re indulging in an unusually delicious meal that is why self-control is particularly important. Overeating is a common problem because eating too much every once in a while is normal. The problem with overfeeding is that it becomes an eating disorder when you make it a habit.
Over time, eating too much can lead to numerous problems ranging from heartburn after a large consumption to heavy weight-gain(obesity) and risk of chronic ailments like diabetes and heart disease. Overfeeding one time won’t cause obesity, but it might cause abdominal pain, particularly in the upper gastrointestinal tract, bloating, diarrhea, discomfort, and lack of sleep.
In a lot of cases people started overeating out of a mindless habit, like continuous snacking throughout the day but oftentimes, it’s due to emotional problems. Especially when it involves food, self-control can become an uphill struggle as eating too much in one sitting is a bad habit to break. Although breaking the unhealthy habit of overeating can be challenging, there are actions that can be taken to help you stop overeating.
1. Always eat mindfully
Mindful is one of the best practices in curbing overeating. In a world where you always on the move, relaxing to enjoy a meal instead of having it on the run will help you know your satiation cues and how satisfied you are. The practice of mindful eating is a mental state of focusing on the present moment and being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and senses while consuming food. That is, eating more slowly, taking small bites, chewing thoroughly, being aware of your senses and appreciating your food.
New York psychotherapist Alexis Conason, a specialist in mindful eating and body dissatisfaction described mindful eating as being fully aware and present in your relationship with food and your body.
“It’s based on mindful meditation and brings the same skills cultivated there, like non-judgmental observation, to our eating experiences,” Conason said. Mindful eating from studies and experiment has been proven as an effective way to reduce binge eating behaviors, overeating, and emotional eating.
Point: Make it a habit of eating more slowly, taking small bites, and chewing thoroughly.
2. Avoiding Distractions
It is important to always put off distractions when you are about to eat. While this habit might seem harmless, it may be causing you to overeat. Whether it’s eating in front of the television while catching up on your favorite show, working through lunch on your computer, reading a book you can’t seem to drop or any other thing you love doing its important to know that multitasking will distract you from gauging the amount of food you have consumed.
Studies have shown that you can easily take in hundreds of extra calories simply by not paying attention.
Point: Don’t multitask while eating or consciously measure the amount of food you should eat before sitting on the television couch.
3. Acknowledge your weakness
Knowing your pitfalls goes a long way in recovery from overfeeding. Discovering those foods, you have lower self-control over can help decrease your chances of overeating. These give a conscious advantage because you can work towards reducing contact with such foods. For example, if you can’t resist having a bowl of chocolate ice cream every night, reduce the amount of ice cream in your freezer or stop keeping it there and just buy when you need to eat it.
Also finding healthy alternatives like hummus and veggies can help alleviate the craving for treats. “Ever heard of ‘out of sight, out of mind?’. Yes, it helps so Instead, unhealthy snack foods like chips, candy, and cookies place bowls of fruits and veggies on the counter.
Point: keep all unhealthy foods out of sight because if it isn’t available you can’t eat it.
4. Avoid taking meals directly in the containers
This advice comes from several observations that showed that those who consume food directly from cans, tend to overeat compared to when the meals are properly dished in plates or bowl. Examples you can relate with are eating chips out of the bag or ice cream out of the container. You realize often times that you have finished the whole pack and this can lead to you consuming more food than you actually need. Pouring the food into a plate helps to train your eye to know the portion of food that would give you the right amount of calories you require thereby eliminating overeating.
Point: make a conscious decision to always dish out processed food into plates. It will help control the number of calories you are consuming.
5. Don’t restrict all your favorite foods.
It may seem like the best plan at the moment to ban all those foods you know you love in the hopes of losing some weight, please don’t it doesn’t work. Restrictive eating may cause you to feel deprived, driving you to binge on forbidden treats especially when you relapse. Making decisions that you would never take a slice of pizza or a scoop of ice cream is not a realistic goal for most. Instead of restricting some kinds of foods, why not concentrate on unprocessed food while making a decision on times to have the occasional treats.
Point: focus on providing healthy, nutritious food for your body while also giving yourself the freedom to indulge in a treat here and there.
6. Control your stress level
The fact is that there’s always something that stresses us out, from prolonged meetings to work late night out with friends or even a renegade relationship. This accumulated stress not only affects your physical body causing chronic high blood pressure, but it also drives up levels of cortisol, a hormone that increases appetite causing you to overeat.
Studies have proven that being stress is one of the leading causes of overeating. There are some activities like music, gardening, meditation and exercising that are simple ways that have shown to reduce the stress level.
Point: When stressed, rely on portioning your food. Eating small controlled meals will help control the hunger and urge to keep eating, ultimately curbing overeating.
7. Eat regular and balanced meals
When attempting to lose a few pounds, many opt for the plan of cutting meals in hope that they would lose the extra fat by reducing the calories they take in. the hidden fact is that skipping meals may cause you to eat more later in the day. Studies have demonstrated that eating more frequently throughout the day may decrease hunger and overall food intake. While those who skipped meals like lunch tended to eat heavier dinners thereby increasing the risk of overeating.
Point: set alarms on your phones if you are the type that forgets meals. Ensure you eat balanced meals throughout the day with a preference for rational healthy whole foods.
8. Eat protein & fiber rich meals
Meals containing a high amount of fiber or protein are a sure method to help keep you satisfied throughout the day. A study showed that people who ate fiber-rich oatmeal for breakfast felt fuller and ate less at lunch than those who consumed cornflakes for breakfast.
So opting to have a fiber-rich meal like beans, vegetables, and oats or protein-rich breakfast like eggs tends to lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger. Therefore, reducing the amount of food you consume at lunch while curbing your urge to overeat.
Point: Add protein and fiber-rich meals to your breakfast schedule.
9. Tame your sugar addiction
Eating cookies and candy are all good but taking too much will result in blood sugar spikes. This rapid blood sugar fluctuation has been shown to promote hunger and can lead to overeating. So as much as that chocolate is alluring, you would be better choosing foods like beans and oats which have lower glycemic indexes as they will help prevent blood sugar spikes reducing overeating.
Point: reduce your sugar by eating more beans, oats and brown rice.
10. Slow down and take breaths while eating
Rushing meals is a sure way to overheat and can lead to obesity over time. slowing the pace at which we eat helps in reducing hunger as it takes time for your stomach to tell your mind that you’re full because the process of feeling satiated takes time.
Ann MacDonald, a contributor to Harvard Health explained that the “Stretch receptors in the stomach are activated as it fills with food or water; these signal the brain directly through the vagus nerve that connects gut and brainstem. Hormonal signals are released as partially digested food enters the small intestine,”.
It was also discovered that the process of sending and receiving neuro signals takes anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. Knowing this having patience when eating is a good habit has it helps control overeating, by taking the time to chew food and taking breaths has been proven to reduce overall food intake.
Action Point: make sure to eat slow and steady like a British Royal. As eating more slowly and chewing your food thoroughly while taking breaths in-between may help you recognize signs of fullness and may reduce overfeeding.
Stopping overeating isn’t as difficult as it used to be. There are many sure ways now to curbing the food disorder such cognitive behavioral therapy, individual therapy, and group therapy done by Healthcare professionals like psychologists, doctors or registered dietitians are often beneficial in helping people keep track of their eating habits. There are also several 12-step programs that help overeaters, such as Overeaters Anonymous or Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous.
Overeating like you have noticed can be a hard habit to break, but you can do it because feeling full and upset never feels good. Use these tips to help yourself establish a new and better healthy routine, and make sure to seek professional help if you need it.