Too many people are overeating, which puts our health at risk.
“The answer is simple,” some people naively claim, “just eat less.”
But this is not very helpful advice.
Portion control and moderation strategies don’t tend to work in the long run. When you try to cut back on food, you usually feel hungry, unsatisfied, and deprived.
Even if you can stick with it for a few weeks, your hormones and biological impulses will eventually override your willpower.
Rethinking The Overeating Problem
You’re not weak or lazy. Overeating is not a result of a lack of willpower or discipline. It’s a normal response to the modern food environment.
Gaining insight into the hidden factors that may be influencing what and how much you’re eating can help you establish a healthier relationship with food.
Eating Too Much
It’s easy to overeat when you’re not paying attention. When you’re distracted, you’re more likely to overeat without realizing it.
Are you paying attention to what you are eating, or are you distracted by work, TV, or your phone?
Make a conscious effort to be more mindful of what you’re eating while you’re eating.
Are you savoring the flavors and textures of your food?
Chew your food slowly and thoroughly.
Are you actually still hungry?
Actively listen to your body and trust your fullness cues before reaching for seconds.
Eating Too Often
Another common problem with people’s diets is that they eat too frequently. If you are snacking all day long, you probably aren’t giving your body enough time to digest each meal fully.
What is triggering your urge to eat?
Don’t eat out of boredom, anxiety, or stress relief.
Are you hungry, following a habit, or just eating it because it’s there?
Notice and question the reasons why you are reaching for that snack.
Overeating the Wrong Foods
It’s hard to walk away from the dinner table or resist a craving when your stomach is half-empty. Meat, dairy, and junk foods have many calories and fats packed into a relatively small volume, so it’s easy to overeat them. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables have a low energy density, meaning you can fill your stomach without taking in too many calories.
What foods are you eating too much of?
Instead of trying to eat less (which leads to more hunger, craving, and overeating), discover tasty, healthy, low-calorie-density foods that you can eat in abundance.
Do you have healthy snacks available?
Surround yourself with healthier options that can satisfy your cravings without overindulging.
Overeating is often due to what you are eating, rather than how much. Some foods (meat, dairy, processed foods) make it easy to overeat without realizing it.
By filling yourself up on delicious fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds, you won’t feel deprived or unsatisfied, and overeating will be less likely to happen.