Did you know that two-thirds of adults in the United States are either obese or overweight? Many people aren't even aware of what a healthy weight looks like anymore.
There are plenty of things that can lead to someone becoming overweight or even obese, but one of the primary ones is overeating. For most people, "calories in vs calories out" is how you start weight loss. If you consume more calories than you expend, you'll gain weight.
If you're not consistently working out, you'll gain fat instead of muscle. If you're not exercising, you need to stop overeating.
But that's easier said than done, right? How can you stop overeating and live a healthy lifestyle when you're so acclimated to eating so much food?
Let's talk about it. Read on to learn a few tips that can help you eat less without depriving yourself.
Know Your Trigger Foods
Many people who find themselves over-eating have specific "trigger foods." These are foods that someone is unable to stop eating even if they're no longer hungry (or even feeling ill).
For some people, these are salty snacks. For others, it may be ice cream or chocolate. Basically, if you buy a type of food and get through an entire family-size container in a day or so, it's likely a trigger food.
While you shouldn't deprive yourself (more on that later), it's a good idea to avoid these trigger foods most of the time. When you don't have them available to you, you can't eat them.
To make this easier, never go to the grocery store when you're feeling hungry. You'll be more likely to buy those trigger foods!
Identify if You're Hungry, Thirsty, Anxious, or Even Bored
Many people eat when they're not hungry at all! While the occasional snack is okay, if you're struggling with your weight, try to identify why you're eating.
If you're hungry, feel free to eat. You shouldn't ignore your hunger signals, even if you're on a diet. That said, sometimes those signals are deceptive.
It's possible that you're just thirsty. Drink a glass of water when you're feeling peckish and see if the feeling goes away.
You might also be feeling anxious or bored. If you're under-stimulated or feeling uncomfortable, you might turn to food for entertainment or comfort.
Eat Filling and Healthy Foods
When you are feeling hungry, commit to making most of your food healthy and filling. We love the 80:20 method (you eat healthy foods 80% of the time).
Look for "volume foods" like vegetables and greens that you can eat a lot of without eating too many calories. Consider swapping some of your carbs with these foods (for example, if you make a burrito bowl, substitute half of your rice with spinach).
Look for foods with plenty of protein and fiber. These foods will keep you feeling satisfied and they also promote weight loss and muscle growth.
You can find healthy snacks that are tasty without being "bad" for you. Tasty protein bars, hummus with vegetables, and apples with peanut butter are all great options because of their fiber and protein content.
If you're struggling to feel full or get all of the nutrition that you need, consider adding dietary supplements.
Portion Your Snacks
When it is time to snack, even if you're eating "junk food," make sure that you portion everything out. Resist the urge to pull chips straight from the bag, eat ice cream straight from the carton, or eat sugary cereal right from the box.
Instead, grab a bowl and pour a serving or two in. You'll find that you don't mindlessly snack on it and that you'll feel full when you're done eating. Bonus: your snacks will last longer!
Don't Deprive Yourself
It may be surprising that we're advocating for you to eat snacks and your favorite "bad" foods, but it's for good reason. You need to get rid of the "diet" mentality.
When you "diet," you're making a short-term change by getting rid of your favorite foods and drastically dropping your calories. This isn't sustainable. Everyone knows that when you "can't have" something, you want it that much more.
When you eat "unhealthy" foods in moderation, you won't be as obsessed with them. You'll be able to learn how to include them in an otherwise healthy lifestyle instead of demonizing them.
Planning out your meals ahead of time is a great way to stop yourself from overeating. Better yet, plan your meals for an entire week so you don't over-shop at the grocery store.
Aim for every meal to have protein, vegetables, carbs (in moderation), and fiber. Even your breakfast and lunch should be nutrient-dense if possible.
Write down everything that you're going to need for all of your meals and take that list to the grocery store. If you struggle with self-control at the grocery store, order your groceries online so you can't pick up any extra snacks.
Meal planning will save you time, money, and excess calories.
Slow Down During Meals
If you rush to eat, you're almost certain to eat too much. You aren't giving your body enough time to feel full. By the time your meal is over, you may start to feel nauseous because you've over-eaten.
Slow down with your meals and be more mindful of what you're eating. If you're worried about your meal getting cold, don't be afraid to microwave it if it means that you'll slow down.
You Can Stop Overeating
Try one or several of these tips to help you stop overeating. Overeating is rarely about hunger. If you nourish your body with healthy foods and notice real hunger signals, you'll find that it's easier for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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