A delectable meal, emotional stress, or simply rushing can make anyone overeat. While we do our best to make healthy food choices, many things happen in our day-to-day lives that are beyond our control. It’s frustrating especially when we’re trying to lose weight or have healthier eating habits.
It’s a good thing that there are many tips and tricks that we can use to avoid overeating. Here are some of them:
If you know that you’re easily tempted, make the necessary changes in your life to make sure you are well away from the temptation. Don’t stock your kitchen with food that can trigger you to overeat. For example, don’t keep popcorn when you know that every time you watch a movie, you finish a whole bag even before it starts. Or don’t keep family-sized servings of pasta in your fridge.
If you must keep a large amount of food in your fridge, segregate them in containers marked specifically for “breakfast”, or “lunch” so you can control the portions. Or instead of holding the entire bag of popcorn while watching a movie, put some in a smaller container instead.
Also when you get the urge to stuff yourself, think about how you’re going to feel afterward. If you will feel guilty and awful, think about those feelings even before you do anything. Think about how bad you’ll feel if you cave into your impulses. Before you eat the entire box of pizza, ask yourself: How will I feel if I do this? How will I feel if I resist? Think of the pros and cons and before you know it your urge will pass and that will help you in making the better choice. Make this a habit and you’ll eventually be able to make “No” decisions better.
Eating when you’re rushed or distracted just makes you prone to eat more that you should. It takes time for your stomach to let your mind know that it’s full. The feeling of satiety doesn’t come as fast as you can chow down your food.
Set aside time to enjoy your meals. Instead of stuffing your face with a sandwich in under a minute, try to chew more slowly. It’s understandable most of us do it because we have busy lives but make it a habit to sit down, take it easy, and savor the flavors and textures of food. This helps you feel more satisfied with your meals too.
Pay Attention to the “Cues”
We’re all busy with work and family life. We’re always on the go, we always have something to do that sometimes we forget that our bodies make us feel certain things to make sure that all our needs are tended to.
Don’t ignore your hunger just because you have a meeting to go to in fifteen minutes. Don’t pass the chance to hydrate yourself with water just because you’re in the car driving. If you ignore the little hunger that you feel, it will build up to huge hunger pangs that will just make you eat anything and everything. If you ignore thirst, your body will start thinking that you’re hungry and make you overeat instead of just drinking water. Ignoring these cues on the regular can make it into a habit, which will be harder to break.
Like the points above, be prepared and set aside time to take care of yourself more.
Stress makes our bodies release the hormone, cortisol. This stress hormone is known to also increase appetite. The negative emotions we feel when we’re stressed makes us crave for comfort. Not only that, stress makes you crave for sugary, high-fat comfort foods, making overeating even worse.
To manage stress, keep tabs on what you need to do for the day or for the week. Keep a journal. Make a to-do list that you can check off each time you accomplish something. Being organized helps you feel that you have things under control. The less overwhelmed you feel, the less stress you will have, the less prone you are to try to resolve negative emotions with food.
Eat More Often
When we’re starving, we tend to overeat. Our decision-making skills are affected so we tend to eat the most accessible food we can get our hands on. We also feel like it takes a lot of food to satiate that kind of hunger. When we overeat, our insulin levels spike, causing us to feel tired and hungry again, then we overeat again. This becomes a harmful cycle.
Make it a habit to eat smaller, more frequent meals, or eat healthy snacks like fruits or nuts in between your main meals for the day. Eating more often keeps hunger pangs at bay so you can avoid overeating.
Don’t Be too Restrictive
When you’re deprived of something, the more you will crave for it. It’s tricky psychology. Foods that don’t usually bother you will start to be a kind of an obsession the minute you tell yourself you can’t have it. The longer you deprive yourself, the more obsessed you will become. Before you know it, you’re ravaging an entire tub of ice cream.
Enjoy treats once in a while. Don’t completely deprive yourself of the foods you enjoy. It’s fine to have one or two days in the week when you can have that slice of pudding or that scoop of ice cream. Just because you’re eating healthier it doesn’t mean that you should be unhappy. On the contrary, you should be able to enjoy it so you can sustain it.
One more thing, don’t have the all-or-nothing attitude. So you gave in to that piece of chocolate? It’s not an excuse to have the entire bar because you think your diet for the whole day is ruined anyway. Don’t go nuts. When you catch yourself giving in, simply go back to eating healthy and you should be good.
This content is written by Cliff Bello, who is the CEO and creator of MindNbody.me. After losing weight and getting to a healthier place himself, he became passionate in helping people do the same by providing them with unique tools in the field of mindset, nutrition, and training–using a more holistic approach to health and fitness. It is his mission to help people love themselves again and keep the results forever.