The chips are in front of you, there’s leftover casserole on the table, the ice cream’s sitting in the freezer…how can you resist? Maybe you don’t want food to go to waste, you think if you eat it now then it’ll be out of the house, or you’re depressed and the food brings you comfort. Whatever the reason you regularly stuff your face, there are ways to help you overcome this weakness.
You want to lose weight and are ready to do what it takes. Consuming fewer calories is key to weight loss. But as you look forward to losing weight, don’t think you have to psyche yourself up to endure hunger pains and deprivation. It’s all about choosing the right foods at the right time in the right portion sizes. Do this and you’ll see the weight come off, your energy return, and your health improve.
The next time you feel yourself losing control when it comes to food, remind yourself of these tips.
Why are you eating? Are you truly hungry or are you eating to satisfy some other need? To avoid overeating, eat only when you’re hungry and stay in tune to the hunger and fullness cues your brain sends to your body. Before putting food in your mouth, ask yourself, on a scale from starving to stuffed, how hungry are you? Don’t just eat because you’re bored or not paying attention to what you’re doing, be present while eating.
Keep in mind it takes longer for fullness cues to reach your brain if you’re overweight. To help prevent overeating, only eat when you’re hungry, chew your food slowly, and take sips of water between each bite.
Eat on a Schedule
If you’re not sure how to judge whether you’re truly hungry, eat on a schedule. Eating at regular intervals helps prevent dips in your blood sugar levels and keeps your energy levels stable so you’ll be less likely to overdo it when food finally arrives. And remember, your meal schedule must include breakfast. Studies show people who eat a healthy breakfast eat less the rest of the day.
Plan to eat a meal every four to five hours with a small snack (100–150 calories) in between if needed. Depending on your activity level and current weight/age there is a set amount of calories you should be eating. Ask a nutritionist, or speak to your local FBBC owner about what that number looks like for you.
Choose the Right Foods
It’s a lot easier to overeat when you’re stuffing your face with foods high in fat, refined carbs, and sugar (cookies, chips, and white bread) than it is when you’re eating foods high in protein and fiber. Both protein- and fiber-rich foods fill you up so you can eat less before feeling satisfied and provide long-lasting energy so you won’t experience hunger cues as often.
Diet-friendly protein options include eggs, lean poultry, beans, light tuna, low-fat dairy, and nuts. Think fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains when you think of fiber. Make it your goal to include a source of protein and fiber for every breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack.
Get Enough Sleep
You may wonder what your bedtime has to do with overeating, but it actually has a lot to do with weight control. The less sleep you get, the more likely you are to overeat. Too little sleep causes your body to produce less leptin (the hormone that tells you when you’re full) and more ghrelin (the hormone that tells you when you’re hungry).
When you’re tired, you also have less self-control and more trouble making wise decisions when it comes to food choices. Set your bedtime early enough to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.