It doesn’t matter whether you are watching your weight or making a lifestyle change to a more healthy and balanced diet; overeating is the biggest enemy. We know how much we should eat and what it takes to keep us going, but still we cannot seem to help ourselves sometimes. Having eaten too much, we can either just accept the fact or try to make up for it by eating less later or exercising more. This works to some extent, but wouldn’t it be better to keep from overeating altogether? Of course it would, and by adding a few simple self-control mechanisms, you can increase your odds quite a bit.
The problem with overeating is not, as some people claim, just bad character or lack of motivation. The truth is that we are fighting our own brains, which are trying to protect us from starvation. It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are, your mind does not comprehend that there is more food coming—here and now is what matters to your brain when it comes to food. When food was scarce and food supplies varied a lot, overeating was sensible. Nowadays it’s not. Even though you will feel full after a while when you eat, there is a delay between when you’ve had enough, to the time your brain realizes that. During this time you will keep eating, and you’ll end up feeling stuffed, knowing you’ve had too much.
I hinted earlier that it has to do with control: you need to make sure your brain picks up on the signals it needs to keep it from cheering you on while you eat. All the tips below help to ensure that you slow down or lower your calorie intake a little bit while eating. When your food intake becomes a bit slower, your brain has time to catch up with the signals from your body. No more overeating.
- Start with vegetables.
By starting with your vegetables before moving on to the meat, pasta, rice or potatoes you get multiple benefits. First, you make sure that you get all the nutrition from the vegetables on your plate, and secondly, you start filling up with low calorie, healthy food so that you can feel satisfied earlier. Finally, you give your stomach a little head- up before the heavier stuff arrives.
- Chew, chew, chew, chew.
By chewing every bite for longer, you automatically slow down your digestion which is what you want to happen. You also make sure that the digestive enzymes in your saliva get mixed with the food before moving on to the stomach. Digesting the food starts already here and it is an important step.
- Take breaks.
This is a pretty obvious tip, but one that many people seem to forget constantly. After eating a few mouthfuls, put down your knife and fork and just take a break. Talk to the people you’re eating with, and let your body and mind catch up with your food intake.
- Stop when satisfied.
There is a difference between being full and being satisfied. Being satisfied is when you have eaten enough; you are no longer hungry but still not full. This is the perfect amount—feeling full basically means that you have maxed out. Learn to feel the difference and act on it.
By applying any combination of the tips (preferably all of them) you take control of your eating habits, and when you take control, great things happen. Eating healthy or maintaining a diet requires self-control, and now you have 4 simple techniques to help you on your way.
What is your preferred method of maintaining control?