Help, I can’t stop overeating is something we hear often in the business of weight management. People want to be told how to stop over eating, but they seldom want to hear hard truths. I can tell you all the usual methods such as:
Chew your food slowly.
Limit your distractions.
Limit portion sizes.
Stay hydrated and avoid stress.
And on and on…
Those answers are all valid, but they are not the message you need to hear. If you have a problem with over eating, you and I both know that you have tried those methods in the past and failed. Your problem with overeating is the foods you are over consuming. Overeating healthy food choices are not likely to keep you heavy, it is the overeating of unhealthy food choices that impact your health. When your lifestyle does not involve unhealthy food choices, you will have a difficult time overeating. Even if you do overeat healthy foods on occasion, they are less likely to pack the pounds onto your body. If we are being intellectually honest, your overeating is mostly foods you should be avoiding in the first place. Being serious about weight loss involves making permanent changes to your nutritional habits. You may not want to hear this, but it is the truth.
Why do we overeat?
People often eat for reasons other than hunger. We eat when we are stressed, tired, or sad. Many people also overeat because of certain habits, such as eating while distracted or eating too quickly. Any way you look at it though, their overeating is not causing them a problem unless it’s the consumption of poor food choices.
Of course, overeating in the absence of hunger could be a sign that something deeper is going on. Two common issues that have been linked to the urge to overeat are depression and boredom. Your overeating could also be a result of your routines, such as eating while sitting in front of the television.
However, the problem with your overeating is still a matter of poor nutritional choices. You are not usually going to get overweight by consuming fruits and vegetable. Odds are, you are not gaining weight from too much meat either when it is a part of a well balanced diet. When you make the personal choice to only eat healthy foods, it becomes easier to stop overeating.
Weight management is a matter of calories consumed vs calories burned even with healthy foods.
Fruits are nutritious, but too much of even a healthy food can lead to weight gain. Overeating healthy foods can be easy to do, but the same rules apply to healthy food as junk food. Our weight fluctuations are based on the basic concept of calories in versus calories out. If your total caloric intake is higher than the energy you burn off in a day, you will gain weight. If it is lower, you will lose weight. We have seen people gain weight from too much fruit when they believe it is a free snack that does not count.
Weight gain can sometimes come from overeating healthy foods, but the reality is most are overweight from poor food choices. When we make it a habit, or a lifestyle to only eat low calorie, nutrient dense foods, it is truly difficult to overeat your caloric needs. The problem is, we live in a world where the convenience and affordability of unhealthy food often lure people to eat nutritionally empty snacks and processed meals. Research suggests our brains are primed for craving these kinds of foods.
We crave foods that trigger feelings of satisfaction and pleasure that healthier options may not. It is difficult to stop overeating when the food you are eating is causing a release of feel good endorphins. Have you ever noticed the difference in how you feel when eating sugary foods as opposed to how you feel when eating vegetables? Those veggies are not releasing endorphins like the sugary foods do. Junk foods trigger pleasure centers in our brains, making us feel oh-so-yummy-good and making us want to keep eating.
Do large meals equal overeating?
The problem with overeating is not necessarily the size of your meals. Overeating is a problem when you consume more calories in a day than you burn. I eat a huge breakfast almost every day of the week. Yet, because of my healthy food choices, I rarely exceed 500 calories with my breakfast. I eat all the time, yet do not gain weight. Some people believe I am genetically gifted because I can eat a lot of food. But what they do not understand is, I can eat a lot because my food choices are low in calories and nutrient dense. I fuel my day with 2,270 calories per day, and I do this with one or two large meals per day along with many healthy snacks in between.
I was only able to actually stop overeating when I began making good nutrition a wholesome part of my lifestyle. You can do this too, but it involves personal choices to be accountable to self, and to quit the foods which got you overweight in the first place. To lose weight and keep it off, you must do the exact opposite of what made you overweight in the first place. You have to make good food choices and then keep within your caloric needs for the day. Weight loss is truly that simple.