Do you have the best of intentions, normally eating for health and/or weight loss, but you find yourself overeating regularly?
Have you noticed that by the time you eat that you are so hungry, you feel like you are starving?
Do you ever reach for whatever food you can get your hands on, regardless of it’s nutritional level, just because you have reached the point of “no return”? You have that feeling of m-u-s-t e-a-t n-o-w!
This is different than reaching for food for emotional reasons, or eating uncontrollably in a binge (eating beyond the level of comfort). This is about either being so busy that you think you don’t have time to eat, and/or not listening to your body.
The result is that your blood sugar drops so low, your hunger gets out of control, and you feel a little frenzied, maybe even highly annoyed. You’ve waited too long to eat and your ability to eat in moderation is severely stunted at this point. You end up overeating, whether or not the food you are eating is healthy. Even if your meal is the most nutritious food on the planet, overeating is still overeating.
So how can you avoid this situation and ensure that you don’t overeat? Here are 4 tips that work for me:
- I’ve found that by eating small amounts of healthy, whole foods throughout the day, every 2-3 hours I don’t reach that level of “starving” hunger. Because I don’t overeat when I do eat, 95% of the time I am hungry by the time of my next meal (or snack).
I’ve also found though, that when I am very busy, I either am not paying attention to the clock, and/or I am not tuned in to my level of hunger. By the time I look at the clock it has been 3 hours since I last ate (I usually eat every 2.5 hours), and I am very hungry.
- Something you can do to remind yourself if you are busy at work on your computer all day is to set a notification in Outlook. If you don’t use Outlook or don’t work on a computer, you could use a timer, a stopwatch, or even better (if you work in an office), use the alarm on your phone and set it to vibrate.
Contrary to popular belief, you do need to eat and eat often in order to both lose weight and avoid weight gain. When your body reaches that level of “starvation”, it’s going to think it is starving and will then store whatever you eat to be ready for the next drought.
This is something that you certainly want to avoid, and the best way to do so is to eat smaller portions of whole, healthy, nutritious foods, spread throughout the day. This also helps your mood stay even since you won’t be having large fluctuations in your blood sugar (assuming you aren’t eating a diet full of refined sugars and simple carbohydrates).
- Another way to avoid overeating due to being overly hungry is to always have your food ready, waiting, and easily accessible. Don’t make yourself scramble or go through many minutes of preparation before you can eat. Have your healthy meals or snacks ready to go, which will also help you avoid reaching for those non-nutritious food choices.
- Additionally, your water intake greatly influences your level of hunger since there are times when what you perceive to be hunger is actually thirst. If you always have that glass or bottle of water handy (and drink it! 😀 ), then you can avoid eating when you truly aren’t hungry, but thirsty instead.
In the end, it all comes down to being prepared in advance and paying attention to your body’s true hunger signals. If you eat a diet of whole, healthy foods, eat only when you are hungry, and do not overeat, (and exercise regularly!) you will be well on your way to living a life filled with better health, increased energy, weight loss (if you need to lose weight) and clarity of mind.