How to Reduce Overeating and Increase Meal Mindfulness
Do you ever feel a little too full or eat when you're not really hungry, but you can't seem to stop yourself from eating too much?
It's natural and expected for us to overeat at times. We're not flawless, and you don't have to be either because perfection isn't the aim.
However, if you see that overeating is a regular occurrence in your life, it's critical to confront it because it's not helping you.
Overeating on a regular basis can make you feel ill, detached from your wants and needs, and a sign that you haven't figured out how to practice healthy and balanced eating in your everyday life.
You'll discover why overeating is so widespread, as well as a few strategies to use to help you quit overeating.
How to Stop Eating Too Much
- Keep a Food Journal for Reflection
Understanding why you're overeating is one of the first steps toward overcoming it.
Many individuals believe it's because they have a big sweet tooth or a lack of self-control, but this is rarely the case. There are various variables that contribute to overeating, and gaining a better awareness of your eating patterns will aid you in identifying the underlying cause and addressing it.
It's not about counting calories or restricting what you eat in a reflective food journal. The goal is to have a better understanding of your eating habits and to recognize common patterns so you can figure out what works and what doesn't.
These types of routines help you become more aware of your eating habits and actions over time. This knowledge allows you to make changes to your eating habits that are more in line with how you want to feel and act.
- Figure out why you're overeating.
After you become more conscious of your personal eating habits, you'll begin to see trends around overeating, which will aid in determining the core cause.
I noted earlier that one of our Mindful Nutrition MethodTM members observed she was overeating in the evenings. She was able to detect that she tended to overeat on days she was at the library studying after using a reflective food journal. She noticed she wasn't eating enough throughout the day when she was studying after learning about the causes of overeating. She usually just brought a protein bar as a snack, so she was unknowingly going without food from morning to dinner, leaving her starving by the time she arrived home.
After you've gained that awareness, you may concentrate on taking steps that will assist you in navigating these situations.
Explore these frequent reasons individuals overeat to see if any of these are common in your life after maintaining a journal to help you find trends like that in your own life.
One of the most common reasons people overeat is because they are distracted.
When you're "distracted eating," you're not totally present to appreciate your food, recognize where your hunger levels are, and determine what you require.
When you're on your phone, watching TV, working at your desk, driving, hurrying from one task to the next, churning thoughts in your mind, feeling zoned out, or doing anything else while eating, this happens frequently.
You can more consciously experience your food when you slow down and remove distractions from your meals — the way it tastes, feels, looks, and smells, as well as how you're enjoying it, your hunger cues, and how your body feels before, during, and after a meal.
Learning to eat without distraction so you can be totally present is an important component of learning how to quit overeating.
Emotional Eating is a type of eating that occurs when a person
Emotional eating is another prevalent cause. Many people experience emotions like boredom and stress on a regular basis, and dealing with those emotions can be difficult for some.
This could manifest as reaching for snacks in the evening when you have nothing better to do than watch TV, or as returning home after a long, stressful day at work and feeling compelled to consume comfort foods.
Other emotions, such as grief, which are less common, can also lead to emotional eating.
Environmental or Situational Triggers
The third factor that may contribute to overeating is your surroundings. Environmental triggers are situations or locations that set off a period of binge eating.
Going to the movies and purchasing popcorn, snatching one of the candy in the office break room wherever you pass, or going out to eat are all examples of this. It's those situations or places that send you signals to eat, and it can be difficult to remember to check in with yourself and determine if you're actually hungry or if other forces are influencing your eating.
Can you conceive of an environmental trigger that makes you eat too much?
Having “Off-Restricted” Foods
If you have foods that you avoid, this can also contribute to overeating.
If you've ever been on a diet, you're probably familiar with this scenario. While on a diet, you go out to eat or attend a social event and are offered items you "can't have," making you hyperaware, hypersensitive, and concentrated on that particular option.
When you're confronted with certain foods, you may have a lack mindset, leading you to want to overeat because you don't know when you'll be able to have it again because you've labeled it "off-limits," rather than being able to enjoy a serving and be completely pleased.
You're not paying attention to your hunger cues.
How to read your body's hunger signals to guide what to eat, when to eat, and how much to consume is one of the key disciplines we teach at Nutrition Stripped. Because it's not as simple as "eat when you're hungry and don't when you're not," learning this skill requires time and practice. You may be overeating if you aren't successfully using your hunger levels to guide your meal sizes.
You didn't eat for an extended period of time.
We only have a certain amount of willpower before it runs out. When we wait a long time to eat, our hunger cues finally take control, causing us to overeat.
As an example, consider the time between lunch and dinner. If you have lunch at 12:00 p.m., then don't eat anything until you get home and begin preparing dinner at 6:00 p.m., you'll be starving.
Most of us have experienced at least a slight loss of control at this stage. Our hunger cues jump through the roof the moment we sight or even smell food, and our bodies are hunting for anything and anything to consume.
In an attempt to compensate for the hours without food, this typically leads to overeating.
You don't have a well-balanced diet.
Each macronutrient has a distinct function, which is why following our Foundational Five strategy is essential for eating well-balanced meals. Some are designed to give us energy, while others are designed to keep us full.
We can easily overeat if we eat a diet that is consistently deficient in nutrients that provide us with satisfaction. This happens when we eat a diet that is predominantly devoid of healthful fats and proteins.
Blood sugar spikes can occur if you don't have the correct balance of macronutrients on your plate, causing you to feel hungry even after eating recently or developing sugary food cravings.
A good night's sleep allows the body to recharge, reenergize, and recover in preparation for the next day. A bad night's sleep won't kill you, but a lack of sleep on a regular basis might cause serious health problems.
The appetite and satiety hormones ghrelin and leptin might become out of whack when you don't get enough sleep (3). Over time, this might lead to increased appetite, excessive cravings, and hunger cues.
- Decide what steps you'll take to avoid overeating.
Some people try to avoid certain meals or situations while they are overeating in order to stop themselves.
Perhaps you've already done some of these things. You find yourself consuming chips, so you declare that you will no longer eat chips. Or you find yourself overeating on girl's night out, so you decide it's best to forgo going out to dinner with your friends altogether.
Not only do these items fail to address the root of the problem, but they may exacerbate it when you are unavoidably confronted with the same meal or setting again.
Furthermore, it can trigger a variety of emotions such as guilt, shame, sadness, and depression as a result of feeling out of control and separating yourself from friends, families, or experiences that may trigger your overeating or encourage unhealthy eating behaviors, which, if left unresolved over time, can lead to more disordered eating habits.
So, if you're learning to stop overeating, avoiding certain foods or settings won't help you do so in the long run.
The most important thing is to treat the fundamental cause of overeating in a helpful method that isn't restrictive and is long-term maintainable for you.