Compulsive overeating can happen for a variety of different reasons and I’m sure most of us can admit that at one time or another we have all overindulged in food. Eating a little too much dessert around the holidays or on your birthday is a one off and usually includes time well spent with family and friends. This overeating is fine as long as it’s a one off and you are sticking to a workout routine. Problems occur when the overeating becomes compulsive and happens out of boredom, constant overindulgence, inability to recognize the feelings of hunger and fullness or simply eating food for the sake of it because “it was there”. This is a sure-fire way to put on weight and ruin a flat stomach.
photo credit: CarbonNYC
How To Stop Overeating
Eating too much is easily done and the body often lets it happen because of the strong sensations hunger can cause. Combine hunger pains with the fact that it takes around 20 minutes for the brain to acknowledge that the stomach is full and it becomes clearer why we can tend to overeat.
The stomach secretes a hormone called CCK which lets the brain know that you have eaten and that you are now full. So if it takes 15 to 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you’re full then subsequently it makes sense that you need to stop eating well before the feeling of fullness comes along. When you think you are about 75% full you should put your knife and fork down and stop eating. Hopefully in the long term this will also help you to serve up smaller portions.
On the subject of portions, you need to immediately start to serve yourself much smaller portions. Even cutting down to half your normal portion size may be necessary. The next step is to start eating as slowly as practically possible. Working with the 75% full theory you should try finishing your meal with a little left over on the plate (I don’t encourage throwing away good food so either save it as left overs, give it to the dog or perhaps add it to your compost). It may take a while for you to adjust your level of fullness and for your stomach to shrink down a little but constantly remind yourself that you don’t want to overeat, remember to stop at the 75% full level and acknowledge if you feel full. If so walkaway and stop eating.
5 Foods To Make You Feel Fuller For Longer
- Have a breakfast high in fiber. Try brown bread or an oat cereal. These kind of high fiber foods are full of complex carbohydrates and are hard for your body to break down, keeping you feeling fuller for longer
- Avoid junk food as much as possible. These foods are full of sugar and your body digests them easily, thus leaving you unsatisfied and remaining hungry
- Eat as much fresh fruit and vegetables as you can get your hands on. They make great snacks, they are low in calories and will fill you up. Apples are especially good for filling you up with few calories
- Eat lean meat. Lean meat is a great source of protein which like fiber can keep you feeling fuller for longer. If you are a vegetarian then check out these other sources of protein
- Not a food but remember to drink plenty of water, besides the fact it’s wonderful for you it will make you feel full
5 Top Tips To Avoid Overeating
- Limit the volume of food you have in the home, particularly junk and “comfort” food
- Don’t stockpile foods for unexpected guests. If it’s there you will eat it
- Try different meals. If you have the same meals over and over again you’re more likely to mindlessly overeat
- Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If you do overeat one day then the next day you need to eat leaner and workout. The exercise will help you feel better and will hopefully remind you not to overeat. If you overeat and don’t exercise you are going to put on weight.
- Remember, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing
*If you enjoyed this article then check out my previous post on how to Avoid Cravings and Snacking
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