How to Prevent Overeating

If you have experienced overeating, you know it looks like this. 

One block of chocolate turns into an entire bar.

One sip of a drink turns into an entire bottle.

One spoon of ice cream turns into an entire carton. 

We don’t even realize that we have finished the entire box/ bottle until a certain point of time and then we may experience stress, guilt, or sadness about it. Then again, we turn towards food to feel better for a certain period of time then the cycle repeats itself. This continues on and on unless and until we become aware of what is happening and start working on it for the betterment of ourselves and our lifestyle.

What is Overeating? And What are the Reasons for it? 

Overeating is basically eating more food than your body actually requires. The reasons for overeating can be stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, boredom, low self-esteem, attempts at extreme dieting, chronic hunger, and many other possibilities. But during these situations, we always tend to lose control over our body and mind.

It is also very important to understand that overeating is what leads to gaining excess weight, increasing the risk of chronic diseases, gut health issues, impaired brain function, and sleep issues.  

Points that will help you understand if you are overeating. 

  • Frequent cravings for certain foods, despite feeling full and having just finished a nutritious meal
  • Often eating much more of the craved food than intended 
  • Sometimes eating to the point of feeling excessively stuffed
  • Often feeling guilty after eating particular foods yet eating them again soon after
  • Justifying to oneself why that certain food craving is good
  • Repeatedly but unsuccessfully trying to quit eating certain foods
  • Often hiding the consumption of unhealthy foods from others
  • Feeling unable to control the consumption of unhealthy foods despite knowing that they cause physical harm

Ways that will help reduce overeating.

  • Getting rid of distractions- Whether it is working in front of the computer or laptop and having your lunch or just having a bag of chips in front of the television, it does contribute to overeating. Studies have shown that people who are distracted during their meals tend to eat more calories than they actually require.
  • Know your trigger foods: If cakes, ice creams, or any other junk are your trigger foods, then make sure you do not store them at your home or where they are easily accessible to you. As you know, out of sight is out of mind.
  • Avoid eating from containers: If it’s eating chips from the bag or eating ice cream from the container, there are high chances that you will end up eating more than you actually require. Instead, serve it in a bowl or plate and consume it according to your portion size.
  • Reduce stress- Overeating and stress are linked with each other. During these times, we do not even know what we are eating or how we are eating it. After you have eaten, this may calm you down for some time. Later, when you realize the quantity of the food or that you have consumed was not good for you, it leaves a pang of guilt behind, which will cause you more stress. Try to reduce stress by doing something other than eating that you love and enjoy.
  • Eat regular meals: Sometimes people skip breakfast, lunch, or dinner just to reduce the calories, but they tend to overeat more during the other meals. So it is always better to eat all your meals on time, keeping in mind the portion size.
  • Slow down your eating: Studies have shown that people who tend to eat faster tend to eat more—i.e., have high chances of overeating, slow down the process of eating, chew each bite very nicely, and have more mindfulness while eating.
  • Eat balanced meals: Make sure to eat your proteins, carbs, fats, fibers, and with all wholesome choices that have a good amount of vitamins and minerals, and always keep yourself hydrated.
  • Keep a food journal: Keeping a food journal helps you understand what you have eaten, how much you have eaten, and it will help you understand your food and nutrition in a much better way.
  • Say “no” to the wrong diet mentality – Diet does not mean eating boiled foods or stopping the consumption of your favorite foods. A diet is having balanced meals with your tasty and favorite foods keeping in mind the portion size. Always say no to diets that can give you quick results, say no to fad diets and always opt for more balanced and healthier meals. Balanced meals will allow you to eat your favorite foods in a healthier way, which will give you healthy and meaningful results.
  • Know about your goals – Becoming aware of what causes overeating or in what situations you tend to overeat and understanding how overeating can stop you from reach. Start inculcating small and sustainable changes that you can follow on a daily basis so that you can get rid of the habit of overeating. 

We all know that precautions are better than cures. So it is better to identify the reasons for overeating and try to work on those reasons by taking small little steps which will help us attain a healthier lifestyle. Don’t overdo anything in life, don’t over diet, don’t over-exercise, don’t overeat, and don’t overstress. Always seek help if required, and always appreciate and love yourself, and try to always work to create a healthier state of being.

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