How to Get out of the Bad Habit of Overeating – Part II

Man eating a sandwichDisrupting your regular diet and going overboard with overeating is pretty easy. However, its implications can be far-reaching. For instance, it can waste all the progress you made through exercise. Moreover, it can make you more vulnerable to many unwanted health conditions.

In Part 1, we discussed different steps you can take to stop yourself from overeating. Here, we will extend our discussion to more measures that one can help in cutting the excessive part of your dietary intake.

Keep Stress Out of Your Eating Routine

Chronic stress leads to several unwanted health conditions and behaviors and one of them is overeating. It has been scientifically proven that cortisol–the stress hormone–also catalyzes our appetite. So, a person suffering from chronic stress will also experience frequent spurts of overeating. Relieving stress, in general, requires many different measures. You can increase physical activity, practice yoga, and meditation, and add more outdoor expeditions to your daily routine to suppress chronic stress.

Dealing with Emotional Eating

Stress and emotional eating/overeating can be dealt by employing several measures. First, accept that you are eating under the influence of certain psychological distress. This will help you to address the issue directly. Stress eating is often highlighted with hasty wolfing down food. The affected person is eating just for the sake of it. So, try to enjoy and feel every bit of what you are eating. This might take you out from the spell of stress eating.

Also, try to identify the triggers of your stress eating. Some people overeat when they feel lonely. Some overeat when they are angry and agitated. Whenever you experience these triggers, try to neutralize them with non-dietary measures. You can talk to friends or go for rounds on a punching bag to sublimate your anger and stress.

Refrain from Distracted Eating

All of us are guilty of distracted eating behavior. We have eaten on our workstations and have had eaten meals while enjoying our favorite TV shows. Some of us even scroll through our social media feeds during meals. Eating while performing other chores is considered multitasking and required in today’s hectic schedules.

But it has also been noticed and formally studied that distracted eating mostly leads to overeating. If you can avoid and afford it, refrain from distracted eating particularly if you are already suffering from weight issues. Try to focus on your meal and you will eventually reduce your calorie intake without putting in any concentrated effort.

Eat from Servings Instead of Containers and Packets

Eating directly from packaging is yet another seemingly harmless habit that can actually develop a strong overheating problem. For instance, if you are eating directly from the ice cream bowl, bag of chips or any other container, then you will most certainly eat more than what you have planned.

Make a serving size for yourself depending on the items you are going to eat. By making portions, you can cut down the size of your calorie intake that will eventually help you in shedding the extra pounds as well.

Don’t Complement Your Food with Soda

Many people have the habit of sipping sodas with their regular meals. The decades of aggressive marketing from cola giants (you know their names) have played an integral part in the development of this habit. Apart from giving a sharp, satisfying fizz, soda drinks also add lots of sugar to our systems.

Moreover, a study has found out that people who eat their meals with sugary carbonated drinks eat 8% more than those who take water with their meals. If you have a well-developed habit of eating your daily meals with soda beverages, then we don’t recommend you to cut off your entire consumption all of a sudden as this can also lead to a harmful relapse.

Replace your sweet sodas with seltzers. The latter is simply carbonated water with no artificial flavors and sweeteners. Later on, you can move to water to make your meals completely free of artificial drinks.

Increase Healthy Fat Content in Your Diet

Fats are generally considered bad for health and responsible for obesity. However, a significant body of research has debunked this alleged characteristic of fats. Not all fats are bad for health. In fact, their smart consumption can also help in reducing weight and getting rid of the habit of overeating.

It has been studied that people who regularly eat high-fat and low-carb foods experience fewer cravings, which protects them from overeating. In the long run, this strategy can turn out more effective in shedding weight than any episodic diet plan.

However, make sure you don’t consume fatty foods comprised of bad fats. Nutritionists across the board consider Trans fats and unsaturated fats bad variants of this macronutrient. To keep bad fats away from your diet, avoid hydrogenated oils, margarine, and meat fat. You can consume more healthy fats by adding nuts, avocados, butternut and olive oil to your daily diet.

Feast on Proteins

Increased intake of protein is also considered good to deal with the instances of overeating. It has been studied that people who eat protein-rich breakfasts feel more satisfied and satiated throughout the day. It has also been studied that protein-rich foods lower the level of the hormone ghrelin in the blood, which is responsible for revving up a hunger. Greek Yogurt is a dairy product that has become quite popular among diet-conscious people lately. It is rich in proteins and can be added as a dessert to your daily diet.

Overcoming the habit of overeating is possible by making little changes in your daily dietary regimen, as evident by the detailed discussion in these two articles. Nevertheless, you might find it hard to adopt these changes especially if you have a well-developed habit of overeating.

If you can’t get out of the habit of overeating after exercising self-help techniques, then it will be suitable to consult professional nutritionists, physicians, and even psychological experts. These professionals will help you in dealing with this detrimental habit that eventually leads to obesity.

How to Get Out of the Bad Habit of Overeating—Part 1

An overweight man devouring a sandwich while sitting on the sofa and watching TV
Photo by tomwang –

Note: Article updated: 120620

Obesity has aggravated into an epidemic in the last couple of decades.

In the US, more than one-third of the adult population are suffering from this condition. Besides its social and mental repercussions, being obese makes one vulnerable to a range of diseases and medical conditions and now with the COVID pandemic, the situation worsens for those with eating disorders.

Apart from falling food quality and modified dietary choices, the majority of overweight people are lacking the necessary discipline to control their diets. It’s not due to poor metabolisms or genetics for most people, although this is a factor for some, but because they often indulge in overeating.

From the outside, it looks rather easy that one can deal with this obesity-causing habit by restricting the amount of food intake.  But it is actually easier said than done. Altering overeating behavior can be quite challenging and not an easy task at all.

In this two-part article series, we will share with you a list of some simple steps* that can be taken to get rid of this seemingly harmless but eventually detrimental habit.

Stop Stashing Your Favorite Snacks

We love snacks and go overboard with our consumption if they are readily available. People love to stash their favorite snacks for untimely cravings. Having multiple bowls of your ice cream in the fridge and loads of cookies and chips in the pantry is surely a convenient way to deal with late-night food cravings. It simply becomes quite difficult to keep your hands off when you are devouring your favorite dietary item. Cutting down on these high sugary items is an essential first step towards a healthier lifestyle.

Put together a plan where you can gradually weed yourself off of them. In the beginning, it will definitely irritate you when you can’t get these snacks while badly craving for them. But eventually, you should get used to it.

Try to Maintain the Feeling of Satiation

Apart from our taste buds, overeating is strongly connected with the psychological and physiological feeling of satiation. It entails the state when we nutritionally feel satisfied and full. A satiated person is less likely to overeat. To develop this feeling within your body, there are some recommended foods you can choose from. Here is a list of some of the most satiating ones:

Batch of Eggs

  • Boiled Potatoes
  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Fish
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Vegetables
  • Quinoa
  • Cottage Cheese

Don’t Skip Regular Meals

Some diet plans, such as intermittent fasting, calls for dropping the number of regular meals. Skipping a meal every day can have beneficial implications for weight management for some people but largely, it’s the precursor of overeating.  Research studies also advocate for keeping the routine of regular meals for a better dietary regimen.

One research shows that eating prescribed portions throughout the day has an overall good effect on our health. It also decreases cumulative food intake. In contrast, skipping a meal increases the chances of overeating in the subsequent meal.  

Add More Fiber-Rich Items to Your Diet

Gluten Free Breakfast

Fiber-rich foods are good for gut health. Moreover, they have a good value of satiation that helps in protecting oneself from overeating.

Whole wheat, vegetables, fruits, beans and oats are low-calorie and fiber-rich that can help you a lot in dealing with overeating.

A study has concluded that people who eat oat-based cereals in breakfast eat less at lunch as compared to those who eat cornflakes in the morning. Ensure that vegetables make up a large portion of your meals. Also, add fruits and nuts in the place of carb-based desserts. With these small changes, you can get rid of the bad habit of overeating. Moreover, it will also help you to fight obesity through other means like lower calorie count and increased anti-oxidant intake.  

Be Aware of the Choices of Your Dining Partners

Whether it’s friends or family, the people with whom you choose to eat with also affect what and how much you consume. You tend to overeat with those who overeat. Similarly, you are more likely to order unhealthy options if other people at the table are doing it.

In short, the habits of your dining companions can impact your own dieting routine. So, make sure the entire family is on the same page when they come to the dining table. Moreover, try to eat out with friends who have the same attitude as you when it comes to the perils of overeating.

Become a Sloth While Eating

Sloth is one of the deadly sins, but so is gluttony. However, it’s not a transgression to deliberately slow down while eating. Take your time to thoroughly chew each and every bite of your meal. It has been studied that quick eating also leads to overeating. In contrast, people who eat at a slow pace tend to eat less and develop a feeling of satiation more quickly.   

Overeating and Binge Eating Disorder

Woman eating unhealthy
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Binge Eating Disorder is a severe but treatable eating ailment where the affected person starts devouring exceptionally large quantities of food with an involuntary urge and subsequently, they start feeling guilty and distressed.  

It is important to mention that Binge Eating Disorder is not an episode of overeating. So, it is strongly recommended to get professional help if you are affected by this disorder.

Bottom line – Diligence and common sense is a good start to losing weight. Of course, there are people who cannot lose by just watching what they eat, such as Binge Eating Disorder and there are others who may require a medical resolution such as laparoscopy and bariatric surgery, but if you are overweight and have not pursued a healthier alternative yet, why not start here? You never know what your mind and body can do!

* Note: You should always confer with a health professional prior to beginning any weight loss program!