These Easy Tips Can Help You Quit Overeating
By Heidi Baldwin, Integrative Nutrition Holistic Health Coach
Whether it be emotionally charged, out of boredom, or pure mindlessness while at the table, overeating is something we've all done at some point. I often refer to this as mindless eating, and usually by the time we realize we are at the point of no return, a LOT of food has been consumed.
Our culture tends to over-eat in general with larger portions than ever, but you would be surprised how much smaller of a portion you can eat, and still feel satisfied. Somewhere along the way, we've been programmed to eat until we are full, instead of eating enough to satisfy our hunger and return to neutral. I teach people in my seasonal detoxes about the importance of knowing the difference between eating until we are full versus eating until we are no longer hungry. There is a big difference!
Whatever reason leads you to overeating, there are some simple tricks you can use on a daily basis to make sure you're more mindful of your consumption, and keep things at a healthy level.
Some of my favorite tricks are...
1. Drink more water
This may sound like a no-brainer, but the majority of people just do not drink adequate amounts of water. Dehydration accounts for countless ailments and symptoms we encounter on a regular basis, and you may not even be thinking your water intake is related. For example, hunger and cravings are often dispelled by drinking a tall glass of water. Do you know why? Well, those feelings we have come to associate with hunger are often actually a sign that the body is in serious need of hydration. Drink water first, and if you still think you need to eat something, eat some naturally hydrating foods like citrus fruit or cucumbers. Remember that keeping your bottle by your side throughout the day and drinking out of it consistently is a helpful way to stay properly hydrated. You’ll find your cravings dissipating, and you’ll be less likely to overeat.
2. Don’t eat while distracted
Whether it’s in front of the TV or while playing with your phone on your lunch break, distracted eating can cause you to eat more than you were planning to eat. Even if you only have a limited portion in front of you, you won’t feel satisfied when you’re done, making you more likely to grab something unhealthy to “fill” you up the rest of the way. Be mindful when you eat, and you’ll find that satisfaction.
3. Write it all down
Sometimes, we’re unaware that we’re overeating, which is even worse. Keep a food journal with you and jot down every little thing you eat, even if it seems minuscule or unimportant. It also helps to note how you’re feeling so you can correct behaviors once you spot a pattern. (Here is a link to a printable food diary if you need help getting started: http://www.personal-nutrition-guide.com/support-files/free_food_diary.pdf)
4. Focus on your portions
Instead of putting all the food on the table for the whole family to grab, portion it out, at least for yourself. You should have a well-rounded meal with plant-based items taking up the majority of it, followed by a lean protein, and then a healthy carb. Choose a smaller plate too so you’ll trick yourself into thinking you’re eating a more significant portion. If you still feel hungry after eating your plateful, take more vegetables.
5. Take it home
And finally, I can’t forget a tip about restaurant eating. Even with healthy lifestyles, there will be times you go out to eat with friends or family. Don’t order some plain salad that you’re not excited about; a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be bland or boring. Make a healthy choice and ask your server to box up half the order from the start, or see if someone is willing to split the portion with you. If not, you’ll have another perfect portion for tomorrow, which will make you look forward to lunch! Ordering a healthy appetizer and pairing it with a side salad is another great way not to overeat, but still, leave satisfied.
These little things make a big difference in keeping you from overeating, and they’re so simple to do, they’re effortless.
What's your trigger for overeating -- boredom? Zoned out in front of the TV? Hit reply and let me know.