Modern living has us believe that having a huge plate full of food is how we’re supposed to enjoy each meal. For some people with large appetites, this may ring true but for others, this pressure to eat large meals can lead to overeating. Getting on top of your portion control will not only help you get healthy but also lose weight.
We’ve put together a list of 15 things to help you overcome overeating and some interesting science that can help you stop overeating if you just pay attention.
15 things you can do right now to STOP overeating!
1. Meal Planning
Meal planning and prepping are the BEST ways for you to maintain control over meal portions, whether you’re at home or out and about and stop overeating.
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Successfully meal prepping and meal planning for your meals each week will not only help you manage portions, eat better but also avoid overeating. When you portion out all your meals you then know you have all the calories you need in that meal ready.
Even when you’re trying to lose weight you need to make sure you’re eating enough, without overeating. Changing your schedule of meals will help avoid overeating at certain times of the day and then eating less at others.
Most people would likely eat three meals a day without any real thought of what to do when they’re hungry at other times, this can lead to not only overeating but also snacking on less desirable foods.
If you switch up your meal plan to include breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and after dinner snack or dessert or both depending on how late you stay up. You can then fill this meal plan up with healthy snacks and meals to help keep you full for the periods between these meals and avoid overeating.
3. Practice mindful eating
It seems that mindfulness is not just for yogis and meditation enthusiasts! Mindfulness is a skill that anyone can learn; you can even teach your kids the skill of mindfulness! Mindful eating involves focusing on what you’re eating and avoiding distractions when you’re eating.
Slower-paced eating is associated with increased fullness and decreased hunger and can serve as a useful tool for controlling overeating.
Most of us often just eat with no thought for how much we’re actually consuming or we do it whilst scrolling on our phone. Adopting mindful eating will not only help you avoid overeating it will also help you reduce your stress levels as you practice mindfulness.
4. Develop positive self-talk
There’s a lot of (great) dialogue about women learning to embrace their curves and having more body positivity, but what about when it comes to men? Well, men also have pressures from the media to look a certain way which can dampen how they think about their bodies or how they talk about themselves.
We joke about the good old beer gut or the dad bod but the reality is we need to make sure that we focus on what we love about ourselves. It could be as simple as saying I like how my beard looks or showing off my tattoos or feel great in these jeans. Finding positive ways to speak about yourself will help you avoid binge eating or emotional overeating.
Our bodies are made up of up to 60 per cent of water, and yet it’s often the last thing we think to reach for when we get hungry.
We can also confuse thirst for hunger like if you’re craving something could it be that you’re just thirsty? Men should be drinking at least 2.6 litres of water per day or 10 cups (if you can) but often aren’t so next time you have some hunger pangs consider skulling a glass of water first rather than grabbing that snack or meal which could lead to overeating.
Overeating can also be a result of having too much time on your hands, particularly at night. Think about it… once mealtime is over and the kids are in bed, it can feel a little strange to find yourself with 5 minutes of silence and time…all to yourself! This odd occurrence of extra time could lead you to binge eating something as you want to have a “treat”.
Now we’re not saying you shouldn’t treat yourself but just be conscious of how much you eat and then use the rest of the time to enjoy some other hobbies or interests.
7. Write down your goals and put them where you can see them
Having health or weight loss goals will help you avoid overeating as they keep you focused. Writing down and referring to your short, medium and long term goals regularly will help you keep your health as your focus.
Knowing the reason to stop overeating and how overeating is preventing you from reaching your health and wellness goals can motivate you to work toward establishing new eating patterns.
8. Brush your teeth
It seems that when all else fails, one sure-fire way to avoid overeating is to brush your teeth! Nothing tastes good after you’ve brushed your teeth!
This one may seem a bit out there but if you really think about it, it makes sense. No one likes that extra minty taste that gets mixed into anything you eat after brushing your teeth, plus you have the added benefit of maintaining dental health.
9. Know your triggers
There are likely certain foods that trigger you to overeat more than others. For instance, you may have a sweet tooth and once you have that one sweet treat you can’t help but eat more.
If you recognise which foods trigger you to overindulge or emotionally overeat you can then work to minimise these foods in your diet but try to avoid demonising these foods as this can then cause more issues.
A good way to identify this is to keep a food diary of what you eat along with tracking your behaviour and feelings in the moments before you ate. This will make clear the difference between emotional eating and hunger. Are you bored? Is your job highly stressful? When you realise what drives you to the fridge you have the chance to change the way you react to these situations.
10. Don’t ban foods from your diet
You may be tempted to completely ban the trigger foods or foods that you’ve been told are “wrong” from your diet but this isn’t helpful to have a healthy relationship with food overall and can lead to further issues.
Diets that focus on whole, unprocessed foods are always best but there should always be room for occasionally having food that sits outside these boundaries. You don’t want to be eating McDonald’s every day but that doesn’t mean getting a Big Mac once every so often is a bad thing.
Restricting what you’re “allowed” to eat too much can lead to episodes of binging, what you need to maintain a healthy diet is balance.
11. Avoid eating out of packets
Picking up a bag of chips or a carton of ice cream and eating directly from it rather than transferring a small amount into a bowl can lead to overeating or overindulging when you really only needed a small amount to satisfy your hunger.
Yes using a bowl means there is cleaning to be done but that’s much better than piling on the kilos cause you finish a tub of ice cream at every sitting.
12. Reduce stress
Let’s face it, stress is inevitable in our modern-day lives which means we may turn to stress eating. But in reality, getting rid of the cause of the stress might not be feasible. Instead, why not try yoga or mindful meditation? If that’s not your thing another option may be to engage in another form of group activity such as taking a body pump class at your local gym or joining a book club at your local community centre. Engaging in a group activity gives you the opportunity to unwind. If all else fails to strike your interest, make sure you get enough sleep. Fatigue makes you more likely to emotionally eat.
13. Increase the fibre in your meals
Fibre helps you feel fuller for longer which means you’re less likely to overeat if you increase the fibre in your meals. Make sure you’re opting for healthy sources of fibre such as beans, vegetables, oats and fruits.
You can also include The Healthy Man Meal Replacement into your meal plan because it’s high in fibre and helps you feel fuller and more satisfied for longer and help stop overeating.
14. Fill up on protein
Just like fibre, protein can help you feel fuller throughout the day. Including some form of protein in each meal will help you stay full and satisfied between each meal.
Especially having a high-protein breakfast such as eggs will start your day off well, feeling full and stop overeating.
15. Watch the alcohol
We all know that alcohol lowers our inhibitions and this translates to impacting how much we eat as well.
While having a drink or two with a meal generally won’t have a huge effect, having several drinks in one sitting may lead to increased levels of hunger.
So when you do have a few drinks remember to pay attention to not overindulging in food when you’re under the influence.
There is a gene that tells you you’re full and help you stop overeating
OMG! It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for!
A study has revealed there IS a gene that triggers a feeling of fullness as well as the need to sleep after eating.
Aussie and Danish researchers found a gene encoding a transcription factor, called ETS-5, which controls signals from the brain to the intestines.
The gene basically tells your brain when it’s stored enough fat and then it essentially puts you to sleep and as long as you listen to this you can stop overeating.
Scientists studied roundworms because of the simplicity of their brains – and believe-it-or-not, humans and worms share up to 80 per cent of their genes, as well as half of the known genes which are involved in human diseases.
The gene found in worms is similar to the one humans have, but it has 302 neurons and 8,000 synapses, whereas humans have billions of neutrons and 100 trillion synapses.
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Compared to mammals, who become obese when their diet contains too many fats and sugars, these wormsroamed in search of better nutrition when they were fed low-quality food.
“When animals are malnourished they seek out food by roaming their environment,” says study author Profession Roger Pocock, at the Monash University in Melbourne.
“When they’re well fed they have no need to roam, and when they’re fully sated they enter a sleep-like state.”
“Because roundworms share so many genes with humans they are a great model system to investigate and gain a better understanding of processes like metabolism as well as diseases in humans.”
The ETS family of genes that is present in humans has previously been linked to obesity regulation, but experts are looking to invent a drug to target obesity.
Professor Pocock says: “Now that we’ve learned this gene family controls food intake through a feedback system to the brain, it represents a credible drug target for the treatment of obesity.”
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