Introduction: You Need to Stop Overeating
In life and especially in the holiday season, the struggle with overeating is a familiar tune that many of us find ourselves dancing to. The relentless cravings for sugary indulgences and refined carbs often lead us down a path of indulgence, leaving us grappling with the repercussions on our health, not to mention the ever expanding waistline. However, fear not, for in our collective journey toward healthier habits, we uncover nine tips that sidestep the confines of mere calorie counting.
These strategies offer a compass, guiding us away from the pitfalls of overeating. Join me on this expedition as we explore practical and mindful approaches. All of this is rooted in real, unprocessed foods, aiming to reset not only our appetites but the very fabric of our relationship with nourishment.
Embrace Whole Foods:
The bedrock of our quest to conquer overeating lies in the wholesome embrace of real, unprocessed foods. These nutritional powerhouses, untouched by the machinery of modern processing, carry within them the potential to recalibrate not just our physical well-being but the very essence of our cravings.
From vibrant vegetables and succulent fruits to nourishing nuts and hearty whole grains, the spectrum of whole foods is as diverse as it is delicious. It’s a journey into the realm of simplicity and purity, where the act of eating transforms into a conscious choice to nourish both body and mind.
This means, of course, that the place to begin being mindful is in the supermarket. Fill your basket with whole foods instead of the processed alternative and you are on the way to mindful eating and self-control.
As the sun rises on our pursuit of mindful eating, the spotlight shifts to the significance of breakfast. A recent study illuminates the correlation between morning nourishment and weight management, revealing that those who make breakfast a daily ritual are more likely to sustain a healthy weight. Beyond the numbers, breakfast serves as the compass that guides our nutritional choices throughout the day.
What this means is that if you start your day by consciously choosing a healthy breakfast instead of being satisfied with a coffee, you are much more likely to keep up that momentum. Moreover, refraining from late-night snacking by allowing at least two hours between the last bite and bedtime creates a favorable environment for mindful eating.
In the midst of our bustling lives, the act of eating often succumbs to the relentless pace, transforming into a hurried routine rather than a mindful practice. Deadlines and rush hour traffic might tempt us to stuff our faces and wolf food like there’s no tomorrow but self-control is the name of our game.
Enter the realm of mindful eating, where each morsel becomes a deliberate choice, and the pace slows to sync with the rhythm of our bodies. So to get started with mindful eating, you need to slow down. Give yourself a long time to have your meal and… make a meal of it. Resolve to eat as if in slow motion and put down your knife and fork between bits. This ensures that you remain mindful at all times. If you forget to put down your knife and fork or start speeding up, just notice and go back to the controlled pace.
Learn the 20 minute rule. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are full. This is why slowing down is so powerful. Drag out your meals as long as possible by eating at a snails pace and you find that you eat less. The 20-minute rule, a silent conductor in the symphony of digestion, teaches us the art of patience.
By engaging our senses, chewing deliberately, and savoring each bite, we not only enhance the dining experience but also pave the way for a healthier relationship with food.
Eliminate or Limit Alcohol:
The dining table often plays host to an uninvited guest – alcohol. While it may seem a companion to conviviality, its effects on inhibitions can unleash a cascade of consequences, including overeating. We all know what happens to our sense of inhibition and self-control when we have had one drink too many.
Alcohol just pushed away your objectives and condemns you to a lifelong bad habit. By curtailing the influence of alcohol, we clear a path towards conscious choices, reducing the risk of succumbing to additional sugar calories. .
Become Aware of Trigger Foods:
Embarking on our mindful journey, we confront the notion of trigger foods – those tantalizing temptations that, with a single encounter, can set us on a path of overindulgence. From sugary drinks to delectable sweets, trigger foods wield the power to unravel our best-laid plans for mindful eating.
For many of us, chocolate is one such food. All someone has to do is open a box of tantalisingly wrapped little choccies and you just know that “I’ll just take one” is a big fat lie. If chocolate is your trigger food then don’t buy it and tell your friends and family to not wave it around in front of you. Trigger foods are those which when sampled, open the floodgates to a bout of serious overeating. Don’t buy it.
But what if someone offers you one of your trigger foods? Well, there are various ways to approach this: You might try a brutal honesty approach such as “Don’t offer me that because I am completely addicted to it and I will lose control and then literally hate myself for eating it. Seriously, don’t offer it to me”. Look them straight in the eye when you say it and get ready for the “It’s only one” response. Just repeat your first answr ad-infinitum until they leave you alone. Well, that’s one way of doing it.
Keep a Journal:
In the labyrinth of our relationship with food, words can be wielded as powerful tools for understanding and change. We turn our gaze to the practice of journaling – a journey into self-reflection that transcends the mere documentation of meals. Many of us are using food to push away unwelcome emotions.
We use the expression “comfort food” and all the time we know that the long term effects of this food are very uncomfortable. We need a better way to handle our feelings and our rogue thoughts. There are many different ways to start a journal.
Some people opt for a good old fashioned paper journal that you keep under lock and key. This is by far the most personal option as the expression of emotion is deftly achieved through pen and paper. Another option is a journal app, the best of which are password protected.
Get Sufficient Sleep:
In the quietude of the night, our bodies embark on a restorative journey, a symphony of biological processes that set the stage for the day ahead. Sleep, however, is not merely a respite for the body; it is a critical factor in our battle against overeating. Studies reveal a link between insufficient sleep and insulin resistance, a precursor to weight gain and increased cravings for sugar and carbs.
By prioritizing sufficient and quality sleep, we equip ourselves with a powerful ally in the quest to conquer overeating. Take it seriously.
Control Stress Levels:
In the tapestry of our lives, stress often emerges as a formidable adversary, capable of influencing not just our mental state but our eating habits as well. Acknowledge the intricate dance between stress and overeating. The demands of daily life, coupled with the pressures of work and personal relationships, can propel us toward food for comfort.
By actively seeking relaxation through methods like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing, we not only mitigate the impact of stress on our bodies but also fortify our defenses against stress-induced overeating. The great thing about meditation is that is is pleasant to do. Once you have formed the habit, it becomes something that you look forward to.
It doesn’t really matter if you choose a more formal meditation technique such as Vipassana, Zazen or Contemplative prayer, or opt for guided meditations, the result will be a significant drop in stress levels.
The final chord in our symphony of strategies to overcome overeating is the harmonious embrace of regular exercise. Physical activity, when approached with intention, serves as a catalyst for weight loss, maintenance, and appetite control. Now, you might be thinking that you have no time nor inclination to spend hours slogging and sweating in a gym, so the good news is that just a little exercise done at a moderate level is enough for our needs.
Whether it’s a brisk daily walk, a dance session in the living room, or a playful game, exercise becomes a cornerstone in our journey towards a healthier lifestyle. As we infuse our routines with movement, we discover a renewed sense of control over our bodies and appetites.
You can even combine some exercises with other things: a nice daily walk can be accompanied with listening to an audiobook or radio show and there are walking meditation practices. Another approach is to to rely less on the car or the bus and walk to places on a regular basis. Skip the elevator and take the stairs. Stay well away from the sedentary lifestyle.
In the pursuit of mastering mindful eating and overcoming the persistent challenge of overeating, we’ve traversed a landscape of practical strategies. From the wholesome embrace of real, unprocessed foods to the intentional choices of breakfast and mindful eating, each step has been a testament to the transformative power of conscious consumption.
Well, now it is up to you. It’s easier to write a blog post than it is to exercise the self-control I’m suggesting here. I’m aware of that. But I know… YOU know that it’s worth it.