Feeling uncomfortably full after a meal is the most regretful feeling in the world. Nobody wants that guilt of another cookie or the second serve of grandma’s stew, but sometimes it’s inevitable.
There are ways to tackle the unnecessary overeating that may lead to indigestion, weight gain or PEST (Post Eating Stress Disorder). Having a healthy relationship with food is extremely vital, not just for your health but also to tackle the onset of having an addiction with food.
Here are 10 simple tricks you can adapt to stop overeating and treating your stomach like dustbins.
- Eat protein-rich snacks
When you snack in between meals, go for food that’s high in protein, low in sugar and carbohydrates. This will not just fuel your body with better nutrients, but forbid you from going for second helping of the bad variety of food. Baked edamame, natural protein bars or homemade bliss balls are a great snacking option. Or make a small 30g serve of boiled chicken with lettuce leaves and cucumber and a side of 8-10 almonds. This will keep you fuller for longer and you’re more likely to preserve lean body mass by consuming protein-rich snacks.
- Know your cravings
Psychoanalyse your hunger – from the what time you crave what kind of food to how often you crave it. When you know that mid-afternoon is time for sugar cravings to kick in, you’ll be able to tackle that during lunch or when planning your post-lunch snack.
- Drink water when you start to crave food
Sometimes our body signals the brain for hunger when it’s actually just dehydrated. We often confuse thirst with hunger, as a result of which, we overeat. Next time you start to feel grumbles in the stomach, sip on a glass of cold water and wait for 30 minutes before deciding to grab a bite or not; your body might surprise you.
- Add more fibre to your diet
Because the body processes fibre-rich food the slowest, snacking on fibre all-day long is a very clever way to handle overeating. Keep celery sticks, raw salad, baby carrots or fruits by your desk at work, and every time you feel like making a run to the vending machine, snack on these fibre-intense food. They will keep you full and satisfied until your next real meal.
- Eat every three-four hours
Not eating for hours at a stretch often signals the brain into stuffing the body with as much food as it can, leading to three or more servings. If you keep snacking on fibre and protein rich food every two-four hours, you’re less likely the fill the plate with more food in order to compensate for what you haven’t eaten.
- Always eat breakfast
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition tracked the diets of nearly 900 adults and found that when people ate more fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the morning, they stayed satisfied and ate less over the course of the day than those who ate their bigger meals later on. Unfortunately, majority of us are either too busy or too lazy to eat a nutritious meal first thing in the morning. Start the day right with a low G.I. carbohydrate and protein meal, so you’re less likely to attach food at mid-morning or lunch. Try a homemade porridge with nuts, yoghurt, frozen berries and fresh fruit or 3 egg white omelette with one slice of multigrain bread.
- Never eat by a screen
When you eat a meal, don’t have it on the run or while sitting in front of a screen; grab a plate and some cutlery so you can pay attention to what’s going in your body. Those who eat in front of moving screens or whilst answering emails are 60 per cent more likely to overeat than those who practice mindful eating, say German scientists in a 2011 study.
- Practice portion control
The size of your plates and bowls can lead to overeating, so be careful. When we start to see empty space on the plate, the brain gets tempted to fill it up with more food. However if you eat in dinner plates with dessert spoons, you would need more time to eat the said meal, making you not wanting more servings. Eating is all in the mind; it’s a psychology of the brain.
- Drink soup for starters
Before attacking the entree at the restaurant, savour a bowl of soup as it stretches in the stomach and sends a signal to the brain that you’ve already eaten. Skip the ‘cream of’ soups and maximise nutrition by picking vegetable-based ‘clear’ soups made with broths.
- Hide the food
Sounds childish, yes, but it works. If you don’t know it’s there, then you’re less likely to consume it. If sugar-rich lollies are your weakness, keep them in an opaque container, and only reach for them when it’s an emergency. Otherwise, go for its low-fat, more nutritional variety which will curb the craving, satisfy the soul and be kind to your waistline.
What is your one tip to stop overeating? Do share.