Stop overeating today!
If we are being intellectually honest, overeating is the reason why most of us have ever been overweight. You know this, as well as I do. We never get overweight from eating small meals. Our girth does not grow when we practice portion control. We gain too much weight when we overeat, that is a simple fact. When we consume more calories than we burn we get larger. This point is not even arguable at most any level. The only caveat being those with diagnosed medical conditions that cause an over abundance of fluid retention such as a sluggish thyroid that could add a few pounds. When we are overweight with body fat, it is because we eat more calories than we need.
Now, with all that being said, I know that talking about not overeating is easier said than done. I, myself have always been a volume eater. Large meals are still a part of my daily life, yet I still manage to keep within my caloric needs. With a few simple modifications to how you eat, you can stop overeating once and for all.
Lifestyle modifications to stop overeating.
- Get rid of your distractions. Stop eating in front of your television. Do not nibble on foods as you surf the internet. When we eat with distractions, it is simple to overeat because our minds are in other places rather than on our meal. If you are unable to, or not willing to eat away from your distractions, at least measure out your foods before you sit down to eat. And once your plate is empty, stop eating.
- Know your trigger foods. If you know the foods that will trigger you to overeat, do not bring them home with you. Leave them in the store on their shelf. Do not bring home leftovers from a restaurant. When we have trigger foods in our home, it is too easy to overeat them. For instance, cookies are one of my trigger foods. If there is a bag of cookies in my cupboard, I could devour the entire package in short order. It is the same with ice cream for me too. I know that I have little control over my appetite for my trigger foods, therefore I do not ever bring them home.
- Eat low calorie, nutrient dense foods. Fill up on healthy, low-calorie, high-fiber foods to help promote feeling full. The good thing is, you might get full while not exceeding your caloric needs for the day.
- Stop eating from containers or packaging. Most of us who have ever had a weight problem are known to do things like this. We might stand at the freezer door, spoon in hand, eating ice cream straight from the carton. How often do you sit down and devour a bag of chips instead of counting or measuring out an actual portion? I have been known to chow down a bag of small, powdered sugar donuts without realizing it until the bag was empty.
- Reduce your stress. This is a tough one to do, but at least make an attempt to do so each and every day. I call this “making my world small”. People tell me this is easy for me to say, but they have not walked in my shoes to know. I suffer from PTSD and my lovely wife has breast cancer along with other health issues to deal with. Controlling stress levels are easier when we are proactive about our lives rather than reactive to what occurs around us. We cannot control all events, but we do have control over how we react to them. Check out our article Stop Emotional Eating for more info!
- Eat fiber rich foods. Choosing foods that are rich in fiber, such as beans, vegetables, oats, and fruit, can help keep your body feeling satisfied longer and reduce the urge to overeat. Unfortunately, an estimated 95% of American adults and children don’t meet the recommended daily fiber intake. Women should try to eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams a day. In America, the average daily fiber intake is estimated to be 16.2 grams.
- Eat regular meals. Stop thinking you should try to reduce your caloric intake by skipping meals. All this accomplishes is to make you more ravenous, thus more prone to overeat when you do sit down to a meal. Regular meals also helps to keep your blood sugar and insulin levels better managed which will help your satiety during the day.
- Keep a food journal. When you write down your food intake, it makes you more aware of how much you consume. It is a manner of holding yourself accountable for every bite that you take. Using a food journal can also help identify situations and emotional triggers that contribute to overeating, as well as foods that are likely to provoke binge eating.
- Dine with like minded friends. This can be a tough one because not everyone wants to eat healthier. Many times when we also have overweight friends, they will try to drag us back down with them. They are what we refer to as crabs. The harder you try to crawl out of the bucket, the harder they will attempt to pull you back in. Seriously, if you have these types of friends, you might want to avoid going to dinners with them. This may not be easy, but looking down at your scale in remorse is not easy either. Choose your battles wisely.
- Fill up on protein. Protein helps keep your body full throughout the day and can decrease the desire to overeat. For example, eating a high protein breakfast has been shown to reduce hunger and snacking later in the day. Choosing a protein-rich breakfast like eggs tends to lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger .Adding higher protein snacks like Greek yogurt to your routine can also help you eat less throughout the day and keep hunger under control.
- Manage your blood sugar levels. Eating white bread, cookies, candy, and other carbs with high glycemic indexes will likely cause blood sugar levels to spike, then fall quickly. This rapid blood sugar fluctuation has been shown to promote hunger and can lead to overeating. By choosing foods with lower glycemic indexes you can mitigate blood sugar spikes and reduce your overeating. Beans, oats, and brown rice are all great options as they are great sources of fiber. If you are not going to stop eating foods containing simple carbs and added sugars, you are not likely to stop overeating.
- Either quit, or greatly limit your alcohol intake. Whether you like this or not, we all know that drinking alcohol lowers our inhibitions. It becomes too easy to get off the wagon with poor food choices when we become even a little bit inebriated. And to make matters worse, alcohol can actually make you crave your trigger foods. What would you rather have, a few hours of inebriation with a lifetime of obesity? Or would you rather feel good about yourself and your health for the rest of your life. It is your choice to make.
- Plan ahead. We can always plan ahead when we want to. The important thing is to commit yourself to making pre-planning a part of your lifestyle. By pre-planning, we can reduce stress, and always be better prepared for any deviations in life that might come our way. It is a matter of being proactive about your life rather than reactive! With pre-planning you can stop overeating when on the go.
- Quit drinking sugary beverages! Have you ever considered how easy it is to consume hundreds of empty calories through beverages? You could be drinking anywhere from 125 to 180 calories per can of soda pop. Just think of the impact that 4 to 5 of these a day will have on your weight. It only takes a caloric surplus of 500 calories per day to make us gain one pound of body fat in a week. Is a soda pop really worth an expanded waistline to you?
- Eat healthy fats. We have always advocated eating healthy fats. Not only are they satiating, they are also good for heart health. High fat foods have been associated with weight gain and overeating, however, choosing foods rich in healthy fats can help you eat less. Several studies have shown that adults who consume high fat, low carb diets are less hungry 3–4 hours after meals and lose more weight over time, compared with people who consume diets high in carbs and low in fat. Adding healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butters, and olive oil to your diet may help you feel more satisfied after meals and help you to stop overeating.
Overeating can be stopped, but it is going to take a personal commitment to self in order to do so. You really need to consider if the temporary pleasure than comes from the foods we eat are worth the health risks we face from them later in life.