Many people across the world find it hard to stop overeating, with some giving up. However, with science-backed techniques like those shared on this page, you can break free from overeating.
Studies have revealed that taking many calories all day long or eating too much food in one session is dangerous to the body. These are overeating issues and are linked to heart disease, obesity, insulin resistance, and other chronic conditions. Nonetheless, people who suffer from these conditions find it challenging to break free from them, and some have even given up. The good news is that whether your overeating is habitual or an eating disorder, you can overcome it. Here are some science-backed strategies you can apply to break free from overeating.
i. Focus while eating and avoid distractions
It is not uncommon to find a person watching TV or chatting while eating. Of course, this practice seems trivial and harmless, but not until when one realizes how much it contributes to overeating. When more than ten studies were reviewed to find the commonest causes of overeating, distractions were among the factors. They cause one to take more calories in one session and still take some more later.
ii. Take time to eat and do it slowly
Eating slowly is one of the tips for breaking free from overeating. Although studies have not identified the reason behind this, they have established that those who eat slowly generally take smaller portions than fast eaters. The brain takes time to realize that the food you have eaten is enough and send satiety signals to you, which could be the reason why eating slowly is more filling. In addition, research has found that those who eat slowly often remember the portions they ate as being substantial and will take longer to eat again than those who eat slowly. For a start, you could use a timer to help you know how fast you eat and work on reducing it.
iii. Identify your trigger foods and stop stocking them
For some people, overeating may be habitual and is triggered by particular foods. Such individuals could break free by identifying which foods trigger overeating and avoiding stocking them. For instance, if your trigger food is cake, you could stop buying and keeping them. Instead, having healthy options such as sliced fruits within reach could rescue you from hunger while still helping you avoid the overeating episode.
iv. Focus on fiber-filled foods
Fibers are a great dietary component valued for promoting the health of gut microbiota, slowing bowel movement to prevent constipation, and increasing insulin sensitivity. Besides, they are quite filling, and including them in your meals makes you satiated and full for longer. For instance, eating nuts, seeds, whole vegetables and fruits, and beans will help you cut your calorie intake since these foods are fiber-filled and will leave you feeling full for longer.
v. Don’t keep off all your favorites
Many people ban all their favorite foods as a way of stopping overeating but get disappointed and go back to binge eating. This is because it is unrealistic to ban everything you like because sooner than later, you will feel deprived and discouraged and head for them again. Instead, focus on healthy foods but create room for occasional treats. This will help you fight cravings and avoid taking large portions in one sitting.
vi. Focus on protein-rich foods
Apart from fibers, proteins are also quite filling and will help you feel full for longer. Studies have shown that eating proteins can reduce the levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. In fact, in one study, obese people who focused on eating protein-rich foods in the morning lost a few more pounds than their fellows who took small amounts of carb-rich foods. There is a variety of protein-rich foods to be enjoyed, including poultry, fish, lean meat, high-protein yogurt, most types of milk, kefir, and protein powders.
vii. Avoid eating from containers
It can be tempting to eat that ice cream from the box or chips from the bag. However, research has shown that eating from containers is deceiving and will likely make one eat a bigger portion than he usually does. Instead, have the patience to put food on the plate, especially the usual plate you use for serving food. In addition, using the same plate for your meals helps you train your eye on what portions are small or large, ultimately backing your efforts to break free from overeating.
viii. Eat regularly
Weight loss has gained great hype and popularity in the modern world, and many people believe that skipping meals will help them attain their weight loss goal. What they don’t realize is that depriving yourself of food may leave you feeling extremely hungry and make you overeat later. Therefore, instead of skipping meals, eat small regular portions since this will reduce your calorie intake and still help you shake off extra weight. In fact, taking breakfast is one way to control appetite and boost satiety for longer, helping you cut down on calories.
ix. Reduce stress
Because of relationships, finances, health, heartbreaks, and workforce pressure, many people are stressed today. Sadly, stress directly leads to overeating and increased the risks of binge eating, weight gain, and different types of eating disorders. One reason for this is that constant stress heightens the levels of cortisol, one of the hormones that increase hunger. Remember, the more you feel hungry, the more you will want to eat, leading to unnecessary calorie intake.
x. Keep a food log
Health experts have found that keeping a food journal is one of the most effective ways to stop overeating. In such a log, you can include the foods you eat, the amount you eat, the time you take them, and the situation at the time of eating. This will help you learn to associate particular situations with specific foods and adjust accordingly. For instance, if you notice that you eat pizza when stressed, you could work on reducing stress to reduce your pizza intake.
Overeating is a common problem among many, whether it is habitual or a serious eating disorder. Sadly, it is one of the hardest practices to break free from, yet it is unhealthy. However, with the right techniques like regular eating, reducing stress, not eating from containers, avoiding distractions, and keeping a food journal, you can overcome it.