We live in an era, where advertisements are in abundance, and when it comes to food, from Instagram to YouTube, we encounter plenty of food commercials, advertisements, supersizing meals, offers, colorful packaging in the supermarket, etc, all designed to attract us. Also, these processed or ready-to-eat foods are generally high in sugar and unhealthy fat that excite our taste buds. Hence we end up eating too much even when we are not hungry. Our fast-paced lifestyle adds more to it; all we want is to grab something to eat when we are hungry and even when we are not.
This leads to overeating, occasionally eating a big dinner is okay. Although if this habit of eating too much turns into days and then into weeks, it leads to an overeating disorder.
What causes overeating?
The majority of people tend to overeat when they have to wait too long for their meals. Some people eat as they are stressed and find comfort in food, while others get accustomed to snacking all day.
How to stop overeating?
Fortunately, some modifications in your diet and lifestyle along with the help of professionals can help you in dealing with overeating disorder. It will also help you improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Here are our top five tips to avoid overeating
1. Eat high fiber and protein-rich Food
Including fibrous and protein-rich foods in your diet will surely help in preventing overeating. These foods will make you feel full for a longer duration. Increasing your protein and fiber intake in your diet will reduce your cravings, appetite, and overall food intake. Our digestive tract processes fiber very slowly, thus making you full for a longer duration. Similarly, including protein-rich foods in your diet tends to suppress your hunger by lowering your hunger-stimulating hormone.
Some examples of healthy sources of protein and fiber-rich food are:
- Sweet potato and Leafy green vegetables
- Greek yogurt
- Nuts and seeds
- Lentils, sprouts, pea, and beans
- Whole grains
- Fruits like oranges, pears, apples (with skin), bananas, etc
2. Eliminate stress
Stress can cause emotional eating and this can lead to overeating. When people are stressed they tend to overeat as raised hormone levels in the body promote hunger to replenish the energy lost. Also, people tend to seek comfort in food when they are stressed; hence they overeat, especially junk food. Chronic stress can lead to persistent hunger, binge eating, and obesity. Try to eliminate stress by exercising regularly, practicing yoga, and meditation. Also, practice mindfulness and start writing your accomplishments at the end of the day as it will make you feel better.
3. Check your sugar intake
Most of us are guilty of reaching out for that one more cookie or one more glass of soda. Food and beverages such as candy, white bread, soft drinks, sodas, and cookies are laden with sugar and have a high glycaemic index which spikes blood sugar, then falls rapidly. This rapid fluctuation in blood sugar promotes hunger and leads to overeating. Eating meals with sweetened beverages leads to overeating. Instead of reaching out for food with high GI such as candy, white bread, and doughnuts, choose brown rice, oats, and whole wheat bread. Also, replace your sweetened drinks with water
4. Don’t skip meals
Most people think that skipping meals helps them in losing weight, which is not true. Skipping meals can lead to cravings and significantly increase the risk of overeating, which ultimately leads to weight gain. Instead, try to make a regular meal schedule and stick with it. Instead of eating one or two giant meals, eat three structured nutritional meals at your scheduled time so that you don’t overeat out of hunger.
5. Drink enough water
Staying hydrated throughout the day is an effective way to avoid overeating. Drinking water before a meal significantly reduces your cravings and hunger as it will give you the feeling of fullness. Choosing water over high-calorie drinks such as sodas, juices, and soft drinks not only limits your calorie intake but also prevents you from any potential health risk.
Are you dealing with an overeating disorder?
In general, overeating can be described as eating more food in one sitting than your body can handle without having any discomfort. Although in the case of an overeating disorder it is more like a psychological problem. A person with an overeating disorder shares a very different relationship with food. They are a copious amount of food even when they are not hungry and unable to stop eating even when they are uncontrollably full. And after every episode of overeating, they are plagued with feelings of guilt, shame, and distress. They seek comfort in food and then, when reality sets in, their overeating habits cause them a feeling of self-loathing and disappointment.
Watch out for these eating disorder symptoms:
- Feeling a lack of control while eating
- Consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time
- No use of purging behaviors
- Episodes of binge eating
- Eating even when you are not hungry
- Excessive midnight cravings
- A feeling of distress, or disgust after overeating
Occasional overeating is fine as everyone tends to indulge in their favorite food. Although if this habit continues then it can turn your health upside down. Check the above symptoms if you feel you are dealing with an overeating disorder, you can follow the above-mentioned tips to deal with overeating while improving your overall wellbeing.