Overeating is very common. It's nothing to beat yourself up about! We have all done it. And given the fact that from an evolutionary stand-point we are hunters and gathers, we are actually wired to overeat. Our ancestors did not have access to food all of the time. Mother Nature governed how frequently and how much they ate, and overeating was much more appropriate given the fact that sometimes they didn't know when they might eat again.
However, these days we do not live in the wilderness and due to the development of agriculture and the rise of industrial age, there is now more than enough food for everyone. This is great for sustaining a large population, but given our wiring, it can be quite challenging to eat appropriate portions.
Below are some useful tips to avoid overeating:
1) Plan your meals ahead of time, and then stick with your plan! If you are not prepared, you will fail to make good choices. It's really that simple. The great thing about planning ahead of time is that when it comes time to eat, you don't have to think about it. You've set yourself up to succeed!
2) Brush your teeth after you eat. Not only is this good for your dental health, no one likes to eat when they have that toothpaste taste in their mouth.
3) Enjoy an essential oil ritual. This will most certainly become a favorite practice for after eating or anytime you're feeling "bored" or experiencing an addictive craving. You can pick up essential oils at any health food store. Find the one that suits you (they usually have testers available), and keep it with you all the time.
Essential oil ritual... place a few drops of oil in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together. This will gently warm the oil. Then cup your hands and place them over your nose and mouth, and take in 3 deep breaths. You can do more if you like.
4) Don't snack; eat meals. What this looks like is actually portioning out some nuts, instead of having the whole bag in front of you.
5) Thoroughly chew your food. Not only does this get you present to the eating, which will have you enjoy your meal so much more, but chewing creates saliva that contains enzymes to support proper digestion. This makes the nutrients more bioavailable, which will trigger your neurology, telling your brain when it is time to stop eating.
6) Don't eat when you're hungry. Now this one may sound strange, but if you are experiencing hunger pangs, you've either gone too long without food or you are dehydrated. First, having a glass of water. If you know you should eat, have a juice or a smoothie instead of solid food. Your body needs nutrition right away, and liquids provide much "quicker," bioavailable nutrition. After about an hour, then have a small meal consisting of solid food if you still feel like you need something to eat.
7) Connect with someone after you eat. Have a conversation with your spouse or give mom a call. Not only is this a good way to distract yourself, but one of the main reasons we overeat is because the eating is taking the place of something else that we long for, like love and connection. Opt for fulfilling yourself in a different way.
8) Take on a low impact activity like a light stroll, knitting or reading. It's recommended that you wait 10 minutes if you decide to take a walk, even the little bit of exercise can be a strain on your body while the food is still in your cardiac stomach.
9) Enjoy a hot tea after your meal. Again, I think it is wise to wait at 10 minutes, so as to not dilute the digestive juices going to work in your stomach, but this can be a highly satisfying finish to any meal.
10) Keep track of what you eat in a food journal. Anyone who is taking on new food choices should consider keeping a journal of everything they eat and also their experience. This also invites more structure.
11) Stay well hydrated. Dehydration is commonly misinterpreted as hunger.
12) Keep your meals balanced and nutritious. This will help to prevent spikes in your blood sugar leading to crashes, which lead to cravings that are VERY difficult to control.
13) Start your day off right! If you are going to overeat, say you're going to a party or potluck, do it later on in the day. Don't start your day off this way or you'll be dealing with the aftermath for the rest of it.
14) Put any extra food away before you begin eating. It's so easy to continue to snack after a meal if the food is still available. Get it out of sight, so that when you come back in the kitchen you're not tempted to "even out the edges" of the amazing lasagna you made for dinner.
15) Organize your days. A planner is a very useful way to keep everything in your life on track and food is no exception. Know when you are going to eat and eat at those times only. If you stray a little, that's fine, but create that structure is actually what frees you up to have it all.
16) Learn something new. Watch an informative video or read a stimulating magazine article after you eat. TV is not recommended, unless it really is something educational.
17) Be prepared when eating out. Eating at restaurants on a regular basis is setting yourself up to fail. Restaurant portions are typically too big, even raw food restaurants. When you do eat out, you might bring your own food or at least a few things to eat with a salad off the menu. *In this case, it is a good idea to let the waiter or manager know that you have special dietary needs and ask for their permission to bring out your food. I also bring my own to-go containers for the extras. The human stomach can only hold about 16oz; I don't care how big or small you are. If you eat more than this, you are overeating.
18) Share your food. Not only is this fun, but you will get love back. If you don't like sharing your food, do it anyway. Allow yourself to deal with those emotions. You will learn to love this practice and you will get so much more than you can imagine in return.
19) Enjoy some fresh air after a meal. There is nothing like fresh oxygen to finish off a delightful, healing meal. Allow a lovely sunset and fresh breeze to become your favorite dessert.
20) Chew on something other than food. Sometimes we just want to chew or have something in our mouths, even when we're not hungry. A natural chewing gum, licorice stick (I am not referring to candy here, it is an actual stick) or toothpick can be a good replacement for food when you're not really hungry. You can pick all these things up at your local health food store.
I hope you find these tips helpful. And please feel free to post your comments or perhaps some tips of your own below!
thank you! this is awesome!!
i definitely do use the essential oil trick! my favorite now is called Emotional Rescue, by Wyndmere.
so many great ideas!