Overeating can happen for any number of reasons, and when it begins to happen more often, it can be a challenging habit to break. For some overeating may occur out of habit, for others it may be triggered by thoughts or emotions, and for some it may indicate an underlying eating disorder.
When overeating occurs more frequently, it can also lead to weight gain and an increased risk of disease. Fortunately with some strategies, techniques and tools, you can begin to take back control of your eating habits and reap the mind and body benefits too.
Here are ten ways to stop overeating and feel in control around food:
Recognize your triggers: Pay attention to the situations, emotions, or thoughts that lead you to turn to food and emotionally eat. Emotional eating is a common trigger that leads to overeating. Having this awareness will help you identify patterns, so you can break the cycle and address those thoughts and feelings more effectively.
Eat mindfully: Practice mindful eating by focusing on the present moment and paying attention to the taste, texture, and enjoyment of your food. Slow down food consumption and chew your food thoroughly, savoring each bite, sip and lick. This is also a powerful way to help you become more in tune with your body's hunger and fullness cues, another key component of reducing overeats.
Plan your meals: Create a daily food plan that includes balanced and nutrient dense snacks and meals. This will help you avoid impulse eating and ensure you're providing your body with the essential nutrients it needs, increasing satiety and satisfaction. Aim to incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains in your daily meals for maximum benefit.
Control portion sizes: Be mindful of portion sizes on nutrition labels and avoid eating out of boxes and bags. Instead, use smaller plates and bowls to portion out your snacks and small, colorful plates and bowls to serve your food. Not only will this help you better balance your plate, it also makes meals more appealing.
Avoid distractions while eating: Minimize distractions, such as watching TV, using your phone, or working at your desk, while eating. Studies show when you eat distracted, you eat more quickly, mindlessly, and miss your body's signals of fullness, all of which leads to overeating.
Stay hydrated: Sometimes, thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day (aiming for at least 64 ounces). If it hasn't been long since your last snack or meal, before reaching for food try drinking a big glass of water and wait a few minutes to see if the feeling of hunger subsides.
Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues, you were born with them for a reason. Eating when you're genuinely and physically hungry will help you stay energized and reduce overeating later. Learn to stop eating when you're beginning to feel full, not stuffed. It's important to give your body time to register feelings of fullness, which takes about 20 minutes, before deciding if you need to go back for more.
Healthily manage stress: Emotional eating often leads to overeating. Find healthier alternative to manage stress, such as exercising, meditating, deep breathing, or engaging in a hobby that bring you joy. If you find you're consistently feeling stressed or overwhelmed, seek support from friends, family, or a professional.
Keep a food journal: Track your eating patterns, including what you eat, when you eat, and how you feel both before and after you eat. This will help you identify triggers, emotional eating patterns, or when you're eating out of habit, all of which contribute to overeating. When you know when and why something is occurring, it's easier to make a positive change.
Seek support: You don't have to suffer alone. Consider seeking support from a professional, therapist, or support group that understands overeating causes, symptoms, and how to stop. They can provide guidance, accountability, and strategies to help you break overeating habits so you can feel as amazing as you deserve.
Remember, reducing overeating is a gradual process that takes time. It's important to be patient and kind to yourself as you work toward making healthy changes to your habits. Celebrate 1% wins along the way and focus on making small and sustainable changes to your food habits. If you find yourself struggling to make change and stay consistent, reach out to a professional who will give you the strategies and tools you need to break the cycle while providing guidance and support through your journey.
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