Do you often feel uncomfortably full after eating? Do you find yourself being unable to stop when you are no longer hungry?
As babies, we knew when we were hungry and we also knew when to stop eating, but as adults, over time, many of us have forgotten this, resulting in overeating.
Whether it was your parents telling you to eat everything on your plate, or just that "your eyes were bigger than your belly", overeating seems to have become one of the most common reasons for struggling with weight loss.
1. You don't stop when you are full
A lot of us spent our childhood's being told that we had to clear our plates, and this is undoubtedly one of the reasons many of us overeat. It's important to stop eating when you feel almost full, and I don't mean uncomfortably full; I mean when you feel like your hunger has almost been satisfied but you don't yet feel like you need to slip out of your jeans and into some joggers.
The reason I say to stop when you feel almost
full is because it takes time for your brain to realise that you have eaten a satisfactory amount of food. So even after you stop eating, your brain is still waiting to receive the message that you are full.
You do not need to clear your plate! If you feel full before your plate is empty then save the rest for your next meal, or, providing it's not something that could give you food poisoning, make a leftovers dish the following day.
After just a few days you will realise the size of meal that best suits your appetite, and you will be able to adjust your portion sizes accordingly.
2. Your plates and bowls are too big
We've all done it; made the portions large enough to fill the plate regardless of our actual appetite. Why not just buy smaller crockery?
at Cornell University found that, when we see a large amount of space around our meal on a plate, we are convinced that the portion size is smaller, when the same portion size put onto a smaller plate convinces us that the portion is then too big.
Find your happy portion size and then find the suitable plate and bowl for that.
3. You skip breakfast
Loads of people assume that skipping breakfast will help them to lose weight, but this is not actually true.
Not only does skipping meals have a negative impact on your metabolism
, but, by missing breakfast, you are also more likely to gorge to satisfy your hunger at lunch. When we wake up we need to refuel our bodies and, by skipping breakfast, the hunger developed through the night will grow right up until lunch, resulting in you eating an even bigger lunch than you would have had if you'd eaten breakfast.
Stick to eating at regular intervals throughout the day; whether that's 3 or 5 meals a day. It will not only keep your hunger satisfied throughout the day, but will also keep your metabolism working at its optimum rate.
4. You eat in front of a screen
I'm not going to preach to everyone declaring that you should all purchase a dining table and chairs, but eating while watching the TV, or staring at a laptop or tablet, is one of the things that causes many people to overeat.
When you are eating while staring at the screen your mind is connected to what is happening in the program/video you are watching rather than focusing on the amount of food you are eating. We've all come out of the cinema feeling ready to burst; it's for the same reason. You don't think about every handful of popcorn you devour during a film, and you won't think about each forkful of food you eat while watching TV.
Try to designate your meal times to just
eating; obviously that doesn't mean that if you already eat at a table that you should ignore the people at the table by just eating and not talking. Conversation flows perfectly with a meal; it's just the deep concentration involved with watching TV that is distracting while eating.
5. You eat too fast
This is another way in which your brain is effectively tricked into eating more than you actually need.
By rushing your meals you could actually end up eating more than if you were to take your time. Research led by Mark Gold, MD, at the University of Florida at Gainesville has shown that it takes at least 12 minutes for food satisfaction signals to reach the brain. This means that if you eat fast then you may have even eaten a whole plate of food before your brain receives the message that you are full.
6. You confuse thirst for hunger
Many people confuse the sensation of thirst for hunger, and this can often lead to overeating. If you crave a snack between meals, try drinking a glass of water, then wait 20 minutes and see if you still feel hungry. If you do, then the feeling was indeed likely to be hunger, but if your "hunger" has gone, then it was thirst.
It's also a good idea to drink a glass of water 20 minutes before a meal so that you rule out the risk of dehydration
convincing you that you are hungrier than you actually are. This will reduce the risk of overeating.
7. You never snack
Although snacking all day is obviously not good for weight loss, small snacks can actually help to combat overeating.
As mentioned before, if you feel hungry for a snack, first rule out thirst, and then choose something that is a healthy snack. This could be nuts, or perhaps chopped fruit or vegetables.
Snacking is often seen as a bad thing for weight loss, but it's better to have a small portion of nuts to satisfy your hunger, rather than holding out until your next meal and overeating to indulge the growing hunger you have felt since you craved a snack.
8. You indulge after a workout
It's a common philosophy that doing a workout means that you can then treat yourself, but this WILL NOT give you results...or at least not the results you want!
If you "make up" all of the calories you burned during a workout by eating a big slice of cake or cheeseburger after your workout then, not only are you undoing your hard work (and eating far more calories than you probably burned in the first place), but you are also ruining your chance of losing weight and, I hate to burst your bubble but, using the completely wrong approach to fitness.
It's absolutely fine to treat yourself
, but that treat shouldn't be after every workout!
If you really want to lose weight then you need to adopt a clean eating lifestyle and regulate your treats so that you have more control over what you are eating and when you are eating it.
9. You comfort eat
If you do this then you are not alone; this is one of the most common ways for people to soothe themselves, but sadly it is not the best. It's a very fast way to overeat by a dramatic amount.
Turning to a big slice of cake or chocolate bar may make you feel better for a few minutes; maybe even a few hours, but it is not a long term fix. If anything, comfort eating could actually make you feel worse because it may result in you feeling immense anger that you've affected your weight loss journey, which we all know, could result in you feeling even worse, and then comfort eating even more!
Whatever you are looking for in the tub of Ben & Jerry's you will not find it there.
Try to find other ways to deal with your stress; yoga or meditation are two fantastic ways to reconnect with inner peace...or try talking to someone about it. I have been known to turn to the Ben & Jerry's on a few occasions, but over the past few years I've learnt that it really doesn't make things better. A workout in my opinion is the best medicine! Getting those endorphins rushing around your body will instantly perk you up.