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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

9 Simple Ways to Stop Overeating

9 Simple Ways to Stop Overeating

Overeating is a serious problem for lots of folks. While many attribute overeating to a lack of willpower, it’s more complex than that. Scientists say people who overeat exhibit different brain activity than those who don’t.[1]

Fortunately, there are ways to stop overeating that don’t rely on willpower or rewiring your brain. Let’s explore nine of them.

1. Eat breakfast.

Skipping breakfast is a big no-no. Research shows people who don’t eat breakfast are more prone to overeating later in the day and have a higher incidence of coronary heart disease.[2]
Another study showed that eating eggs in the morning can help you eat less throughout the day.[3]

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2. Slow down.

It may sound obvious, but eating slowly and mindfully is one of the best strategies for combating overeating.  Eating slower helps you feel full faster.

3. Use smaller plates.

The larger the plate, the more likely you are to overeat, says food researcher Brian Wansink. Most standard dinner plates are around 12 inches in diameter. Switch to a 9-inch plate and you’ll eat less.

4. Pay attention to your emotions.

You need to become aware of your reasons for wanting to eat junk food to understand why you overeat. For example, maybe you eat compulsively to make yourself feel better or to combat stress. Identify your triggers, and you’ll be more likely to create personalized strategies to deal with them.

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5. Exercise more.

Research shows that your responsiveness to food cues is significantly reduced after exercise.[4] In other words, you’re less likely to want to indulge when you see a picture of a giant ice cream sundae.

Not to mention the fact that exercise is a keystone habit that can change your life.

6. Choose nutrient-dense foods.

“Nutrient density” means the amount of nutrition packed into a particular volume of food. For example, you can eat a giant plate of broccoli to get the same amount of calories in a tiny cup of ice cream because vegetables are generally more nutrient-dense.

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Steer clear of foods like sweets, cheese, and soda, which don’t offer a lot of nutritional bang for your buck. Choose healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, healthy oils, and beans instead.

7. Pack healthy snacks for when you’re on the go.

Healthy snacks are an essential tool to help you avoid overeating. Studies show that snacking on healthy foods like almonds can help you avoid food cravings.[5] So pack healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, fruit, and vegetables with hummus and take them with you to work, school, or other places you go throughout the day.

8. Allow for one cheat meal each week.

Cheat meals are when you reward yourself for eating healthy by splurging on something you love. This doesn’t mean have a free-for-all at the buffet. But having one or two pieces of pizza is okay. Completely depriving yourself makes it much more likely you’ll give in to food cravings and overeat.

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9. Plan for setbacks.

Implementation intentions help you plan for bumps in the road. The basic setup for an implementation intention is this:

If this happens, I’ll do that.

For example, if you find yourself getting stressed and reaching for a bag of chips even though you’re not hungry, write down the following implementation intention: “If I get stressed and reach for chips, I will grab a piece of fruit instead” or “If I get stressed and reach for chips, I will go for a walk instead.” This is a powerful strategy that uses proven principles of behavioral psychology. A little planning goes a long way.

Overeating can be a tough thing to overcome, but these methods will help. The more you can work to develop healthier habits, the less likely you’ll be to overeat. Take one step at a time, focus on the small wins, and you’ll crack this bad habit for good.

Featured photo credit: Szabo Viktor via how to stop overeating

Reference

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Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

17 Things People With Emotional Strength Don’t Do 10 Ways to Improve Your Mood When You Are Feeling Down 10 Simple Ways To Live a Longer and Happier Life 9 Simple Ways to Stop Overeating 8 Simple and Effective Ways to Start Reaching Goals Today

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Published on January 14, 2021

How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week

How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week

Meal plans are a great way to cut down waste, make shopping for food quicker and easier, and help you to stick to healthy choices. But where do you start? What makes a healthy meal plan for the week, and how do you know what to include?

Firstly, there is no healthy meal plan that works for everyone. At different stages of your life, you will need different levels of nutrients, but there are some general principles that you can follow, and then adjust as necessary. Here’s how to create a healthy meal plan for the week.

The Backbone of Your Healthy Meal Plan

For the vast majority of adults, these practical tips should be the backbone of your meal plan:

  • A range of fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grain carbohydrates (brown rice, brown bread, millet, bulgar wheat, etc)
  • Fermented food such as kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut
  • Unsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocados, and nuts
  • Two portions of oily fish such as salmon per week (or nuts and seeds if you don’t eat fish)
  • A handful of nuts and seeds a day
  • Aim for 30g of fiber a day
  • Eat a range of beans and pulses (such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, and lentils)
  • Drink approximately 8 glasses of water a day[1]

Calorie Counting

A calorie is the energy required to raise the temperature of 1g water from 14.5 to 15.5°Celsius. This is calculated in a laboratory, by burning the food. However, the food is not “burnt” in our bodies, and people’s metabolism and energy expenditure vary, so it’s a very rough estimate.

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The absorption and, therefore, how much energy is available for you to use, is also affected by how the food is processed. An example of this is sweetcorn. If you grind it down into a powder and make a tortilla, you will absorb far more calories than if you eat whole sweetcorn kernels. Instead, you will see most of the kernels untouched, in the toilet!

Another concern with calories is that instead of thinking about nutrient quality, it promotes prioritizing quantity. For example, there is a huge difference in the number of nutrients you could consume in 500 calories of fruit and vegetables, versus 500 calories of ice cream.

Also the number of calories you need varies according to so many factors, such as age, gender, lifestyle, and activity level, that it is hard to accurately predict exactly how many you need. Instead, I prefer to recommend a general principle of how to balance your plate and a reminder to eat mindfully when you are physically hungry, not because of an emotional trigger.

How to Balance Your Plate

When thinking of your healthy meal plan, for each meal your plate should contain approximately:

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  • Fruit and vegetables (1/2 plate)
  • Whole grains (1/4 plate)
  • Lean protein (1/4 plate)
  • A spoon of unsaturated oil

This will help you when you think of each meal to work out what to include and approximate portion sizes.

An Example Day

Breakfast

  • Overnight oats, with chia seeds, quinoa and milk or fortified plant based milk
  • A piece of fruit

Snack

  • A handful of mixed nuts

Lunch

  • Grilled tofu with a mixed salad and bulgar wheat
  • A piece of fruit

Snack

  • Apple slices with nut butter

Dinner

  • Chicken / tofu / salmon with miso brown rice and spring greens
  • OR vegetable curry, daal, and brown rice
  • OR stuffed aubergine with mixed vegetables and millet or quinoa
  • A piece of fruit

How to Adjust Your Meal Plan

There are certain phases when more or less nutrients are needed, so it is important to consider your changing needs.

When You’re Pregnant

During your pregnancy, you should limit oily fish to once a week, and only 2 tuna steaks or 4 medium sized cans of tuna per week, because of the risk of pollution.

You should also avoid the following food groups:

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  • Raw or undercooked eggs
  • Unpasteurized cheese
  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Pâté
  • Swordfish, shark, and marlin
  • Homemade ice-cream with raw egg
  • Soft-serve ice cream from vans or kiosks
  • Vitamin A supplements
  • Liquorice root
  • Alcohol

When You’re Breastfeeding

While you are breastfeeding, your body needs more calcium (1250mg), selenium (70mcg), and iodine (200mcg). Ensure that you include these in your meal plan.

When Going Through Menopause

Menopause

changes your long-term risk of disease, so it is important to focus on items that help support bone and heart health. The framework above already sets out a diet to support long term heart health, but for bone health aim for:

  • 1200mg calcium per day
  • High-quality protein at every meal
  • Foods rich in vitamin K
  • Foods rich in phosphorus
  • Foods rich in magnesium

Organizing Your Shopping

Once you have completed your healthy meal plan for the week, you can save the ingredients that you regularly need to an online shopping list, in order to make repeat ordering simpler. Some recipe books also now have a QR code so that you can easily synchronize the ingredients needed with your online shopping.

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Try to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables where possible, but canned beans, frozen, dried, and freeze dried fruit make great substitutes for fresh, retaining most of the nutrients.

Final Thoughts

Creating a healthy meal plan for the week may be daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll become a fun addition to your weekly planning, and one that will ultimately improve your overall lifestyle. Try to use the general feedback above and adapt it to your own specific needs. Enjoy looking for new and exciting recipes to include in your plan!

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Featured photo credit: Ello via unsplash.com

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