4 Hacks to Regain Control
There’s a biological and behavioural science behind why we find ourselves overeating, binge eating, or snacking mindlessly larger portions than we usually do.
The issue I’m addressing here is from a nutrition perspective, based on the common dictionary definition above.
If you consider your overeating as being mild to moderate, then don’t worry, you’re not alone, and the advice in this article is appropriate for you. For example, you experience days when you have an insatiable hunger, or times when you snack on something and feel like you just can’t stop.
Disclaimer: if you believe you are overeating to an extreme degree, or your binge eating is medically complex, please consult the advice of your doctor.
When you eat in excess amounts, you find yourself eating mindlessly and feeling loss of a sense of control.
Here are some potential solutions you can try:
1) Recognize it, then indulge consciously
It’s a lot harder to freefall into a full-on binge when you’re doing it consciously. Instead of denying yourself of food (I am of the belief that deprivation always backfires), negotiate with yourself some portion control. Decide to indulge and decide when you’ll stop, i.e. “I’ll stop when I finish this bowl of snacks”.
2) Identify your hunger as biological or emotional
Get used to tuning into your body when you feel hungry, and separating your biological hunger from your emotional hunger. Sometimes when we feel hungry, it’s actually because we’re bored or stressed, and not actually hungry.
Emotional eating is triggered by feelings such as boredom, anger, fatigue, anxiousness, and sadness.
If your hunger is emotional, then trying taking a break to go do a non-food activity that will reset your feelings. Go outside, go for a walk, or do something around the house.
3) Plan ahead your meals and snacks
Healthy eating begins with planning ahead. It should not take a lot of effort or time because it needs to fit into your lifestyle reasonably and sustainably. Planning ahead should actually save you effort later on in the day because it saves you from decision fatigue having to decide at every point what to eat.
When you do plan ahead your meals and snacks, choose high energy, nutrient dense foods that keep you satisfied for longer. Usually the more natural and whole the ingredients, the more energized you’ll feel.
4) Regulate your sleep
Ever notice you’re ravenous the day after not getting enough sleep? If you find yourself overeating or having an insatiable appetite, check in with yourself on whether you may be unusually tired or sleep deprived. This may be then a sign of emotional hunger (from fatigue) — see step 2.
Sleeping on a regular schedule will allow your body and metabolism to re-calibrate.
As you can see, this kind of thing is pretty common and occurs for reasons both within and beyond your control. Learn to recognize these patterns when they are happening, and make simple small tweaks to get you back on track.
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