10 Steps To Stop Overeating
Consuming too much is very common, especially on occasions like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any get-together in which there is a variety of delicious and mouthwatering foods.
It’s challenging to resist on such occasions where everyone is just enjoying eating. But having a habit of overeating is a leading path towards worse health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases.
Although breaking the habit of overeating is not easy, it saves you from a lot of health-related problems.
Causes of Overeating
Medical specialists and researchers are doing their best to find the root cause of overeating and steps to avoid that.
Some of the leading causes of overeating are:
• Eating for pleasure, also known as hedonic eating, is one of the main reasons for overeating in some people. Eating because it makes you feel good as it activates the brain’s reward systems that trigger you to eat more.
• Stress is responsible for ‘cortisol’ production, the leading cause of overeating and obesity in many people. Cortisol enhances the craving for sugary and fatty foods and increases appetite. Stress can also influence hunger hormones to play their role.
• Sleep deprivation is one of the scientific reasons for overeating as it induces the production of increased levels of ‘ghrelin’, causing more hunger. Studies revealed that sleep-deprived people tend to make the worst food choices leading to obesity.
• Dehydration inhibits the brain from processing between hunger and thirst. As they are not drinking enough water, they always feel hungry or have cravings to eat. This is very common and known as dehydration hunger.
Other than that, boredom, tiredness, alcohol consumption, sugar addiction, oversized portions, binge eating, comfort eating, social eating, and emotional eating are some of the causes of overeating.
STEPS TO STOP OVEREATING
As already mentioned, overeating can result in declined health, so it is necessary to take steps from the start as the sooner, the better. Following are some of the measures recommended by health specialists and psychologists to avoid overeating.
• Cut out processed foods and eat whole foods.
Cutting out processed foods can be very difficult but slowly start supplementing your meals with whole grains and fresh foods. Moderately switching to a low-calorie diet and low sugary food can reduce your metabolic rate, decrease inflammation, improve your ability to focus, and boost your energy levels.
• Eat breakfast
Breakfast is essential as it regulates your metabolism throughout the day, making a habit of eating a good healthy breakfast daily. Eating food earlier in the day prevents you from overeating later and specifically at night, which is the leading cause of obesity. I prefer protein-rich breakfast like eggs as it reduces the level of “ghrelin” hunger hormone.
• Eat mindfully
Slow down while eating and avoid distractions like watching TV. These distractions enable the brain to signal physical fullness and don’t realize when you should stop eating. Start eating mindfully means start analyzing whether you are hungry or bored/tired, avoid all kinds of distractions while eating. Thus it will contribute to healthier habits and lifestyles.
• Moderate or illuminate alcohol
Studies proved alcohol consumption could enhance appetite, and its correlation with obesity is established. A recent study shows that ethanol in alcohol can trigger the brain cells to become hyperactive, leading to starvation and hunger, thus promoting appetite. So try to moderate the alcohol consumption as it is nothing but calories.
• Become aware of the trigger food
Be aware of the food that triggers you to crave more and eat more, and avoiding them can help you to stop overeating. Stop keeping the stock of your favorite snacks and replace them with whole food rich in protein and carbohydrates. Learn to resist food temptation, but that doesn’t mean depriving yourself of eating your favorite food; just try avoiding them by stocking them at your home.
• Keep a journal
You can use words to block food by planning your healthy diet and sticking to it. For people who struggle to relearn hunger cues, journaling is always helpful. You have to write your eating plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner, what you will eat, and the drinking plan; this is one of the best self-acknowledgment and improvement methods.
• Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation triggers’ ghrelin’ (the hunger hormone) and decreases the’ leptin’ hormone (feeling of fullness), causing an increase in hunger. The more you are awake, the more are the chances of eating snacks and food. Thus getting enough sleep of about 6 -8 hours is a crucial and necessary step towards a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle.
• Control your stress levels
Stress makes us overeat due to cortisol production (hunger) and encourage the body to replace the loss of energy. Chronic anxiety and depression can be very dangerous as it will lead to persistent hunger and obesity. It would help if you tried to control your stress levels through exercise, yoga, meditation, keeping a connection with your friends and family, and acknowledging your accomplishments.
• Exercise the right way
Exercise controls your appetite by relaxing your body and reducing stress levels. At least 30 min walk or jogging, which is almost 10,000 steps a day, is recommended for a healthy lifestyle. It has direct stress-reducing effects by producing endorphins, i.e., neurotransmitters released by the brain during exercise that make you feel good and relaxed. Lowering stress levels is the key to lower hunger hormones and overeating.
• Drink plenty of water
Drinking water can help you with your craving as people with prolonged dehydration often confuses thirst with hunger as their brains fail to differentiate between hunger and thirst signals. It is recommended that whenever you feel hungry, drink some water, and feel the effect. You can have any drink to avoid overeating, but water is preferred as it has zero calories.
Overeating is becoming one of the most common problems due to our eating habits and modern lifestyles. Changes in lifestyle and dietary habits can only save us from the consequences of overeating.