Eating too much has always been a struggle for me since I was a little kid because I never felt full until I was stuffed and then it was too late. I am sure there are many reasons for this like my parents getting divorced when I was three years old which meant I turned to food for comfort. I became a mirror of my environment where food was offered as a form of love. Maybe these are just excuses and at some point we all have to learn how to change our behaviors and make new habits.
Since I have been on my health/weight loss journey in 2001, I have learned a lot about myself and how to avoid overeating. We all have hard days where we use food to cope with stress but we have to take responsibility for our actions to keep from making the same mistakes over and over. Many times if we are not choosing the right food from the moment we get out of bed we are setting our selves up for failure. By picking foods that are very satisfying and blood sugar stabilizing we will increase our satiety to avoid destructive binge eating patterns.
12 Tips to Avoid Overeating:
1. Only cook enough for the people who are eating right now:
Lots of health books say cook for the whole week and put it in little containers. For the obese and food obsessed this is a dangerous option! I do much better with raw meat and vegetables in my fridge. When I have cooked food in the fridge it is too close to being in my mouth.
2. Get a food scale:
I know this sounds a little too obsessive but it really helps me. I know that usually 4- 6 oz of meat (or 3-4 eggs) will fill me up so if I measure that out I know I will be full and wont need to go back for seconds. I love this little food Food Scale and I use it everyday.
3. Eat sitting down at the table:
If you eat standing up digestion will be impaired because you are likely to be in a sympathetic stress mode. That means you will not absorb nutrients and will continue to be hungry. Sitting down increases awareness and makes you eat more mindfully to get a handle on portions.
4. Chew your food:
Chewing activates digestive enzymes which will help you break down your food. If your food is not broken down you will not get enough protein to fuel your neurotransmitters which make your feel good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. That means you will always feel like you are missing something and will still be hungry or craving sweets. Try to chew each bite 20 times to stimulate digestive enzymes!
5. Eat enough fat:
The right fats like coconut oil, grass fed butter, Grassfed Organic Ghee , the fat from grass fed/pastured animals (grass fed beef and egg yolks), olive oil and avocados are all examples of fats that are very satisfying. When you eat the right fats you will eat less and stay full for many hours. This will help to stop you from over eating fattening foods like cereal, bread and chips. I tried being on a low fat diet for 8 years and I was hungry and watching the clock the whole time. It is proven that a low fat, high carb diet has negative impacts on thyroid function because it wears out the adrenal glands.
Optimal adrenal and thyroid function are intricately tied to blood sugar regulation. It is important to keep your blood sugar between 83 and 120 at all times to support the thyroid and adrenal function which are responsible for healthy hormones and metabolism. Keeping blood sugar between these numbers will also lower inflammation and improve heart health.
6. Eat lots of high quality protein:
Our cells are remaking themselves everyday from the protein that we eat. If we do not eat enough amino acids at meals we are more likely to have food cravings and blood sugar swings. If we are deficient in protein we will not be able to make enough muscle to stoke our metabolic fire. We will also likely be depressed too because our feel good neurotransmitters rely on protein sufficiency. Soybeans, legumes, and nuts will not cut it as primary protein sources because the lectins and phytates interfere with digestive enzymes ans can not be properly broken down. Make sure and choose high quality grass fed beef, lamb, buffalo, pastured poultry and pork which are not eating GMO corn and soy which will also disrupt digestion and assimilation.
7. Avoid Family Style Dining
Try not to serve food family style because it is a given that you will go back for seconds when you are bored at the end of the meal. I like to serve each plate in the kitchen then put the plates on the table to help with portion control.
8. Put extras in the fridge right away:
If you leave a big pot of food on the stove simmering and smelling great there is good chance you will go back and eat more. If you put that food into glass storage containers and into the fridge before serving the plates it is less likely that you will go back for more. Plus if extras are behind closed doors you are more likely to forget about them.
9. Try Emotional Freedom Technique:
This technique has really helped me to eat slower and chew more. It heightens your senses and you get full faster. It will be much harder to overeat if you do several rounds of this powerful tapping technique.
Watch a great video of how to do it from Dr. Mercola or from me in this video.
10. Eat Breakfast:
Intermittent fasting is all the rage right now but after working with hundreds of clients over the years I do believe in eating breakfast. If you have been following a low carb or paleo diet for 6 months to a year and have improved your health and stabilized your blood sugar then IF’ing may be a good choice for you. Most clients I see who skip breakfast (or eat only carbs early in the day) binge after work to make up for it. These clients start this vicious cycle all over again to be “good” the next day. I also do not believe in eating 5-6 small meals because that is unnecessary if you are eating a lower carb (and higher fat diet). Eating 6 small meals is a lot of work and it opens that Pandora’s box too many times for people with food issues.
11. Drink enough water between meals:
Many times excess hunger is just thirst. Drink 64 ounces of water or herbal tea per day but do it in between meals so you don’t dilute your stomach acid which is crucial for breaking down food. Spruce up your water with mint, lemon, lime or cucumber. I also love sparkling water in glass bottles to avoid BPA.
“The solution to pollution is dilution.” Paul Chek
12. Avoid multi-tasking (TV, Iphone, Ipad, computer):
I know everyone is guilty of this and it is a hard habit to break. I like having the TV on when I am eating alone but now I just put on some nice music instead. When we zone out to the TV we lose awareness and do not chew. It is inevitable that we will shovel more food in our faces if we are thinking about how cute Patrick Jane is or why they just dropped the ball during the big game. I also see a lot of clients working through lunch while staring at a computer screen or staring at a smart phone. Using these devices will not create a restful relaxed time to digest because you are bound to get stressful e-mails during your meal that will divert your the blood flow away from the digestive organs impeding the breakdown of food. If your food does not digest well you will still be hungry later and you will be looking for snacks.
Bonus Tip: Plan for success!
Make sure and fill your fridge and freezer with high quality meat and veggies during the weekend so that when the week gets busy you do not fall off the wagon. Stock up on canned salmon, sardines and eggs so you will always have some easy food ready to go. Keep some organic frozen veggies in the freezer so you will always have something you can steam up or saute. Make sure and keep plenty of coconut oil, Kerry Gold grass fed butter and Ghee on hand for cooking.
If you need help avoiding overeating check out the great e-book 21 Day Sugar Detox which will get you the tools you need to start changing your habits!
What are some of the ways you have found to avoid overeating?
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