Eating is one of the great joys we humans get to experience daily. It also happens to be essential for supporting human life. However, there are limits to how much food our bodies really need to stay energetic and vibrant. If we indulge outside of those limits, we're likely to experience various unwanted side effects, such as feeling lethargic after meals and gaining weight.
Overeating is something many of us women fall prey to more often than we would like. Whether you're a blatant overeater who doesn't care if others see, or you're a shy overeater who indulges in the closet or laundry room while no one's looking, many others are just like you. We overeaters need to stick together and support each other as much as possible. Learning how to stop overeating is a much easier task when you realize millions of women are on the same journey as you.
Though there are many underlying reasons people overeat, there are basic things any chronic overeater can do to work toward greater health. It's important to note that we ladies should always love and respect our bodies how they are. It's also essential not to mistake unhealthy lifestyle habits as permissible or even applaudable. Self-love is possible even while we're working to improve ourselves.
Quitting overeating is a great way to gain greater control over your life and well-being. Though it is challenging (especially at first), you are stronger than you realize, and the results will be worth their weight in gold (or Twinkies). So let's get started on this exciting journey and learn how to stop overeating once and for all, shall we?
Common Signs of Overeating
Before you can conquer a foe, you first need to know how to recognize that foe, right? So let's talk about how to determine if you are eating too much food each day. Overeating is the process of consuming more food than your body requires for fuel. In other words, if you're eating more caloric energy than your body expends, that means you're overeating.
What surprises many people is that overeating is not just limited to junk food. While processed foods and sugary treats tend to be more calorically dense (and nutritionally poor) than vegetables, fruits, and other healthy options, it is possible to overeat healthy food. You just don't hear about it as often because people don't tend to gorge themselves on salads and apples. But a carton of ice cream is another story!
So how can you know for certain if you're overeating or if you're only consuming enough to support your body's energy needs each day? Well, some pretty recognizable signs are indicative of overeating. They include:
Eating until you're so full that you don't feel comfortable (if you've ever unbuttoned your jeans after a meal, you know what this feels like!)
Skipping meals, then gorging on food due to deprivation
Eating rapidly and out of control (this is also a sign of binge eating)
Eating even when you're not hungry (often to minimize boredom, stress, or other unwanted feelings)
Eating small amounts of food in front of others, but secretly eating large amounts of food when others can't see you (this is where the closet snacking comes into play!)
Feeling guilty or ashamed after eating
Being unable to slow down or stop once you begin consuming food
Having too many food restrictions
If you notice these common signs of overeating in yourself, don't worry, girl! We're here to help you gain a healthier relationship with food. Keep in mind that feeling guilt or shame is often counterproductive and can lead you into a damaging cycle of feeling guilty, overeating for comfort, feeling guilty again, then overeating for comfort, and so on.
There's no reason to feel ashamed for struggling with something that millions of other people also struggle to overcome. If we asked everyone who overeats once in a while to raise their hands, you'd see an entire planet full of raised palms!
What are the side effects of overeating?
Occasionally overeating is probably not a big deal and nothing to be worried about. If you generally eat well but want to indulge a little on your birthday or another special occasion, you shouldn't feel self-conscious about your decision.
However, if overeating is an every day or weekly part of your life, it's probably time to rethink your eating habits. Compulsive overeating could be a sign of a serious eating disorder, and it can also lead to unhealthy side effects. These include:
Heart disease (and other problems with the heart)
High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
These are just the physical side effects compulsive overeating can cause. In addition to these physical conditions, chronic overeating can also impact our social and emotional well-being. We deserve better, and learning how to stop overeating is an important first step toward greater physical and emotional health.
Fortunately, we can reclaim our health by learning and implementing better eating habits. We'll go over tried-and-proven suggestions for how to do that. But first, let's figure out why we're overeating in the first place. What compels us to eat more, even when we're already full? Once we understand the underlying cause of our need to over-indulge, we'll have an easier time changing our eating habits for the better.
Figuring Out Why You're Overeating
The reason you tend to overeat may be completely different from the reason your neighbor overeats. There are so many potential compulsive eating triggers out there, but here are some common reasons:
Junk Food Cravings. For the most part, all humans crave junk food once they get a taste of it. That's because eating junk food triggers the brain to release dopamine. This gives us a feeling of pleasure that is unfortunately quite fleeting. Additionally, most junk food is ultra-flavorful and is intentionally designed to taste as delicious as possible. Our bodies learn to crave the flavor, which is one reason why we continue eating after we're full. Food addiction is a very real thing that many people experience.
Nutritional Deficiency. Did you know almost 10% of Americans are living with a nutritional deficiency right now? In such a well-fed country, this tidbit of information may be quite surprising. However, it makes sense when we stop to think about how many nutritionally poor convenience foods are readily available. Our bodies know when they're missing important nutrients, so they turn on the hunger signals so we'll eat! Our bodies aren't trying to sabotage us; they just want us to consume the nutrients we need for optimal health.
Emotional Eating. Sometimes a piece of cake or a heaping bowl of mac and cheese feels like exactly what we need when we're feeling sad or stressed out. These types of food are often associated with comfort, but the euphoria they provide doesn't last. After all, a piece of cake can't talk us through our problems like a good friend can.
Boredom. If you tend to nosh on potato chips when you have nothing better to do, boredom may be driving your unhealthy eating habits. This is one of the most common underlying causes for snacking more than we should.
Not Getting Enough Sleep. Although your sleeping and dietary patterns may seem completely unrelated, they're more intertwined than you may realize. When you don't get enough sleep, your body's hormone production is disrupted, and you're more likely to experience increased hunger. Additionally, sleep-deprived people tend to be poorer at decision-making, which explains why you have a harder time resisting food cravings when you haven't slept well.
Eating Too Few Calories. It might seem strange to see "eating too few calories" listed as a reason for overeating. However, if you're consistently eating fewer calories than your body needs to function well, you're much more likely to break down and overeat at times. This is also known as binge eating. It's easy to cut calories back too much if our goal is weight loss, but doing so can backfire.
Dehydration. Our brains are smart, but they do sometimes get confused. If we're not drinking enough water, we might mistake thirst signals for hunger. If we're actually thirsty instead of hungry, we could eat all day and still feel dissatisfied until we hydrate better.
Now that you've browsed through this list of common reasons we overeat, can you spot your overeating trigger? To be honest, most of us can probably pick out several things from this list that cause us to consume too much food.
The good news is that understanding the cause of our oversized appetite can be empowering. It can help us take the first steps toward overcoming our tendency to overeat and develop healthier eating habits.
The Link Between Hormones and Overeating
For those of us who seem to have no control over our appetites and cravings, a hormone imbalance may be to blame. Research shows that imbalanced estrogen, in particular, is linked to a woman's inclination to overeat. Even a seemingly minor disruption to the delicate balance of female hormones can potentially mess with our appetites and cause us to eat more than we need to (or should!)
Our hormones are pretty powerful and can influence our daily choices. Consider how hormone changes during pregnancy or our period can trigger powerful cravings. A hormonal imbalance could have the same effect on us even when we're not pregnant.
So what can we do if our overeating is caused by too much estrogen or another hormone imbalance? Besides cutting out highly processed foods and sweets that can trigger hormone imbalances, we can supplement our diets with Hertime.
This natural supplement is a monthly lifesaver in many ways. It helps minimize unpleasant menstrual cycle symptoms. It can also balance hormones and minimize the urge to overeat. For best results, it's important to take this product daily (which is easy to do, because it tastes delicious!)
When to Get Help
Generally speaking, overeating once in a while isn't great for our waistline, but it's something we don't need to be too concerned about. However, if we start developing an eating disorder, it's time to seek help. From binge eating disorder to starving ourselves in an attempt to combat overeating, there are a variety of unhealthy disorders we can potentially develop when we lose our healthy relationship with food.
Here are a few indications we may be dealing with an eating disorder:
Constantly obsessing over food
Relentlessly pursuing weight loss even when we are a healthy weight
Cycling between long periods of not eating and bingeing on food
Having a distorted body image
Following extremely restricted eating patterns that cause us to lose control and overeat
Regularly eating to the point of discomfort and not eating based on our body's natural hunger cues
Purging after each binge eating episode
Being so obsessed with dieting and weight loss that we cancel activities with friends and family members
Having an unusually intense fear of gaining weight, even when we're at a healthy weight
Showing signs of nutrient deficiency, such as fatigue, hair loss, disturbed sleeping patterns, irregular or missed periods and pale skin
If we can see any of these symptoms in ourselves, it's time to see a doctor, or reach out to the National Eating Disorders Association. There's absolutely no shame in doing this. In fact, we should be proud of loving ourselves enough to seek help.
Healthy Ways to Stop Overeating
The first and most important step to conquering overeating is realizing it's happening. Since you're here, you've obviously already done that, so congratulations! Instead of feeling guilty, work on building up your self-confidence and showering yourself with positive affirmations. Positivity is empowering and will help you along your mindful eating journey.
Alright, we've kept you waiting long enough, so here are some easy tips to stop overeating and start healthy eating habits.
Be More Mindful
It sounds cliché, but simply being more mindful when we eat can help us avoid overfilling our bellies. Mindful eating is the practice of actually paying attention to what we put into our mouths. If you're raising an eyebrow and thinking, "I'm pretty sure I know exactly what I put in my mouth at any given moment," hear us out. When is the last time you decided to eat just a few chips, then noticed a while later that you consumed half the bag without even realizing it? That's mindless eating at its finest.
Mindless eating is very common in our society, and it often occurs when we sit down to snack or eat a meal while also doing something else. While you may applaud your multitasking abilities because you can eat a full meal while simultaneously preparing (er ... "overseeing") your kid's science project or while binge-watching your favorite TV series, you're probably engaging in mindless eating. And mindless eating almost always leads to overeating.
Thankfully, there's an easy way to stop this habit. Simply pay more attention when you eat. This is called mindful eating. Don't eat while watching television, writing emails, or doing anything else that distracts your attention away from what you put in your mouth. Take time to savor and chew each bite sufficiently. You'll find that mindful eating not only helps you avoid consuming too much by helping you realize when your appetite has been satiated, but it also allows you to really enjoy your meals without guilt. You'll also naturally eat fewer calories when you mindfully eat.
Focus on Nutrition
If your body lacks nutrients due to a poor diet, your appetite will increase because your body wants to take in more food to nourish itself. The best way to reduce overeating due to nutritional deficiencies is to focus on healthy eating with a well-rounded diet.
If you currently have symptoms of nutrient deficiency, you may want to start supplementing with the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Hermulti is a multivitamin product that comes in powder form and can easily be added to water. It contains important nutrients the body requires to function optimally, including Vitamins D, C, K, and E. It also contains folic acid, magnesium, chromium, and more. When your body receives the nutrients it needs through healthy food and supplementation, it's less likely to rev up the hunger signals because it's nutrient-deprived.
Get Enough Healthy Fat, Protein, and Fiber
One of the most common myths about eating is that fat is "bad" and should be avoided at all costs. However, along with protein and fiber, healthy fat is very nutritious and filling. That's why it's important to include it in your diet if you struggle with overeating. Healthy sources of fat include avocados, whole eggs, chia seeds, nuts, and fatty fish.
Protein-rich foods include kefir and high-protein yogurts, beans, fish, poultry, nuts, and seeds. Good sources of fiber include oats and oat bran, vegetables (especially sweet potatoes and leafy greens), beans and lentils, whole fruits, and whole grains. We know that sometimes it's hard to get all these good foods in, and if you're like a lot of other women, you might struggle to consume enough vegetables and greens. That's why we've created Hergreens; a simple way to get your full serving of greens each day.
Get Cravings Under Control
Cravings can come out of the blue and smother our strongest desires to avoid overeating. If you frequently indulge in snacks even when you're not truly hungry, you're probably dealing with cravings.
See a Dietitian
If you're a binge eater, a registered dietitian can provide you with the tools you need to properly fuel your body and make better food choices. Depending on your dietitian's recommendations, you may learn helpful dietary techniques such as intuitive eating and avoiding trigger foods.
Make at Least One Food Rule
While too many food rules can cause you to feel deprived and lead to more binge-eating episodes, one or two food rules can help you avoid overeating. Your food rule can be anything from "I'll never eat while watching TV" or "I will always drink a glass of water before eating." Just choose something that will be most effective in helping you manage your food intake more effectively.
Begin Your Journey to More Mindful Eating
Today is a great day to start eating more mindfully. Here at Mixhers, we'd love to be part of your journey. Whether you're looking for help with your cravings or nutritional needs, we're confident our carefully formulated products can help. Stop by today and find out which product can help you conquer overeating for good.
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