Do you ever find yourself wishing you had more self-control around food? That you could stop at 'just one bite' of sweet or savory rich food and be satisfied? Don't worry I hear you! You're not alone. And please know there is nothing wrong with you!
This is something I’ve personally struggled with. Overeating or perhaps eating when you weren’t even hungry in the first place is rather damaging to our bodies. I’m a foodie. Food is always on my mind, I'll be the first to admit it. I never want my meals to end, and I'm always planning my next meal well in advance.
Overeating is such a common trait. It can happen for a number of reasons, maybe it's a restrictive diet or meal plan that can leave you feeling deprived, leading to overeating. Maybe your stressed, lacking sleep, or have unstable blood sugar levels.
Overeating leads to an overload on our body, causing stress on our stomach, intestines and all major organs. This causes many digestive complaints such as bloating, flatulence, feeling of discomfort, sleepiness, tiredness, change in bowel motions. There are ways to overcome this but it does take time and practice.
Food is supposed to nourish our bodies. Nowadays a lot of people turn to food for emotional comfort, or their body may be signaling them for physical needs.
Emotional comfort: You are hungry or craving something, but it’s often not food. People often feel stressed, sad or bored, so they run to the pantry or closest vending machine to fill a gap.
Physical needs: Your body is telling you it ‘needs’ sugar for a quick pick-me-up/energy boost. This could be one of many reasons, insufficient macro nutrients (i.e. not enough protein and healthy fats), unbalanced blood sugar levels, lack of sleep, you haven’t eaten enough during the day or your consuming too many sugar-rich foods.
Whatever the reason, the steps below are a good place to start in order to stop the cycle of overeating.
1. Eat mindfully
You need to be relaxed for your gut's nervous system to work properly. Don't eat when stressed. Also eat away from technology. Sit down at a table, look at your food and enjoy each mouthful. Don’t try to gobble it down in 5 minutes. Chew each mouthful 20-30 times and taste all the delicious flavours you have combined in that meal.
2. Get sufficient sleep
Making sure you get a 7-8 hours of good quality, uninterrupted sleep every night is very important. Sleep helps to reset our nervous system, this can help to reduce cravings and normalize fat-regulating hormones.
3. Find alternative ways to fix emotional needs
Phone a friend or loved one next time you feel sad, stressed or bored. Go for a walk around the block for 5-10 minutes. You could even see a counselor to address any underlying concerns.
4. Listen to your body by asking, "Am I hungry?"
Your body doesn't want to feel stuffed, lethargic and sleepy. Start tuning into your body by asking the question, "Am I hungry?" before, during or after a meal. This allows you to pause and become mindful of what you truly need in that moment.
5. Remember that food is abundant
We often forget that food is literally around every corner! With your next meal often less than 2-3 hours away. You don’t always have to eat that last slice of cake, or finish every last mouthful on your dinner plate. Try to say to yourself ‘it’s not the last time I will eat this food, food is abundant. This is something that I really acknowledged and kept saying to myself as a little reminder.
If you feel you can't do this alone seek professional help. If you need additional support and guidance to stop overeating, or have any other diet and lifestyle concerns I would love to help. I work together with my clients to create a wellness plan that suits their personal goals and lifestyle. I would love to hear from you and help you feel your absolute best.