A stomach stuffed with food and a heart full of guilt − does that sound too familiar? If yes, you are one of those many people who tend to overeat frequently. While occasional overeating might be quite harmless for someone who has a healthy weight and overall good eating habits, it is surely unhealthy if it happens too often. Moreover, it can be very frustrating for those who are trying to lose weight.
Here are some tips to overcome overeating and feel satisfied with a smaller, healthier meal.
1. Never miss your breakfast
Skipping breakfast or having too less in breakfast can make you overeat throughout the day. An entirely carbohydrate-based breakfast such as toast and juice can also lead to quick and repeated hunger pangs during the day. A full breakfast with balanced amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrates makes you feel full throughout the day.
2. Munch on something healthy every three hours
Have your meals and snacks at a defined time and stick to the schedule as far as possible. Avoid the urge to skip/postpone a meal till you are starving, because when you hit the dining table famished you tend to overeat, and most likely the unhealthiest food items.
3. Chew your food slowly
This good old advice has some serious scientific reason behind it. We feel satisfied and stop eating when signals are sent to our brain from our stomach. But it can take anything from twelve to twenty minutes for your brain to receive these signals and respond. When you eat too fast, by the time your brain receives the direction to stop eating, you have already eaten more than your body actually wanted you to.
4. Start with filling foods first
Foods that have a lot of fiber and water fill up your stomach fast and help you avoid overeating. Salads and fruits are a good example of such food. Having generous portions of such foods at the beginning of your meal can help you avoid overeating.
5. Eat from a smaller plate
You brain assesses the portion size with respect to the plate size. A somewhat smaller plate can trick your brain into believing a smaller portion to be adequate and hence help you feel more satisfied with less food.
6. Identify your overeating triggers
Try to list down the situations where you tend to overeat. Is it mostly with friends, or when you are alone at home; when you are too stressed, or too busy? Once you know the triggers, you can be more watchful and perhaps muster an extra ounce of will-power to fight the urge to overeat.
7. Give mindful eating a thought
There is nothing unusual in multitasking while eating. But you need to know that when you are doing multiple things at the same time, the entire mechanism that makes you feel satisfied with the food you're eating goes haywire. As a result, you feel dissatisfied with what you have already eaten, and end up eating more. You should try engaging your senses when you eat and observe how you eat. You'd be surprised to see how your renewed relationship with food will help you overcome the binge-eating habit.
While overeating is extremely common, in some cases it could be the sign of a more serious eating disorder. In case your overeating habit is affecting your everyday life and well-being, consider seeking professional help.
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