Self-control is a struggle for many people, especially when it comes to food. Eating too much in one sitting or taking in too many calories throughout the day are common habits that can be hard to break. Over time, eating too much food can lead to weight gain and put you at risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Plus, it can hold you back from reaching your health and wellness goals and may negatively impact your emotional well-being. Although breaking the cycle of overeating can be challenging, there are ways to kick this unhealthy habit for good.
- Get Rid of Distractions - Make an effort to turn off or put away potential distractions like phones, computers and magazines so you can concentrate on your meal. It will help you eat less and prevent overeating.
- Know Your Weaknesses - Identify the unhealthy foods you can’t resist. Keep them out of your home or far out of sight, and make healthy options easily accessible instead.
- Fill up on Level 1 Foods - Eating healthy, low-calorie, high-fiber foods will help you feel full. You’ll be less likely to overindulge on unhealthy foods.
- Avoid Eating From Containers - Instead of eating food straight from the package, portion it into a dish. Try measuring out appropriate serving sizes to help train your eye to identify how much food is right for you.
- Reduce Stress - Stress can lead to overeating, so reducing the stress in your everyday life is one important step you can take to stop this downward spiral.
- Practice Mindful Eating - The practice of mindful eating has been shown to help reduce binge eating behaviors. Mindful eating focuses on being aware of your thoughts and senses while eating.
- Eat Fiber-Rich Foods - Eating fiber-rich foods like nuts and veggies keeps you feeling satisfied for longer amounts of time. Studies show this may help reduce the urge to overeat.
- Eat Regular Meals - Skipping meals may cause you to eat more later in the day. Instead, focus on keeping yourself feeling satisfied by eating timely, balanced snacks and meals made with whole, clean betr food choices.
- Post all Food Pictures - Studies have shown that tracking your food intake can help you lose weight. It will also help you become more aware of your habits and allow your coach to make appropriate recommendations.
- Dine With Like-Minded Friends - Who you eat with may majorly impact your food choices. Try to dine with people who also want to eat healthy meals in moderate portions.
- Slow Down - Focusing on eating more slowly and chewing your food thoroughly may help you recognize signs of fullness and may reduce overeating.
- Watch Your Alcohol Intake - Studies show that drinking several drinks in one sitting may lead you to overeat. Instead, stick to just one or two drinks for special occasions, or forgo drinking alcohol entirely.
- Plan Ahead - The more prepared you are to eat healthily, the less likely you are to overeat. Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with healthy, filling foods.
- Check in With Yourself - Ask yourself why you’re overeating and address the issues behind the behavior. Depression and boredom are two of the most common reasons.
- Break Old Habits - Identify your unhealthy habits and gradually replace them with new, more positive behaviors.
- Eat Healthy Fats - Try adding more healthy fats to your diet. Studies have shown it can help you feel more full after meals.
- Keep Your Goals in Mind - Identify specific short- and long-term eating goals and refer to them often. It can even be helpful to place motivational quotes around your home.
- Get Help If You Need It - It’s important to distinguish overeating from binge eating disorder (BED). BED is a serious eating disorder characterized by symptoms that include repeatedly binging on large quantities of food, a sense of loss of control during eating, and feelings of guilt or distress after a binge. BED affects millions of people worldwide and is the most common eating disorder in the United States. If you feel that you might have BED, it’s important to get help. Speak with your doctor or another qualified health professional about treatment options.
Sources include: Jillian Kubala, MS, RD, and National Institutes of Health.