How to Stop Overeating
Overeating can quickly undue progress made from our daily fitness habits. A 2-mile walk or jog will burn off approximately 200 calories in 15-30 minutes, and yet it takes less than a minute to devour a 240-calorie candy bar! I know…it seems unfair, but it’s a harsh reality. Our nutritional habits are just as important, if not more so, than our exercise habits. I overheard a fitness trainer tell a client that 6-pack abs are made in the kitchen…not the gym. So if we want to get into great shape, we’re going to need to curb our eating. Overeating can be attributed to a multiple of reasons: stress, emotions, habits, etc... And it’s these habits that can quickly dismantle our fitness plan.
So if you are plagued with snacking bouts and periods of overeating through the day, here are the common causes of overeating and some ways to improve your eating habits so that you can see and feel the benefits of your workout efforts.
- Stress & Emotions
Many people resort to overeating during times of stress and when they’re emotional. Take a look at when you overeat the most. Is it when the children misbehave? after a stressful workday? after a break-up or argument? This habit can add thousands of calories into our week (Remember 3,500 calories = a pound of body fat). So next time you turn to a pint of ice cream or a stack of cookies…go for a walk or a jog…exercise can clear our minds of stress without filling our stomachs!
- Waiting too long between meals
Sometimes when we wait too long to eat, we get so ravenous that we eat everything in sight. A piece of fruit between meals can save hundreds of calories of binge snacking…just because we waited too long to eat. Studies have also shown that people that skip breakfast often eat more total calories during the day than those that ate breakfast. If you’re on the go in the morning, try grabbing a bowl of oatmeal, cereal, oat bran muffin, banana or another
high fiber food. These will fill you up and keep you satisfied until lunchtime.
Sometimes we feel hungry when all our body really wants is a glass of water. Dehydration is often mistaken for hunger. It’s estimated that 75% of Americans go through life chronically dehydrated. Before you grab a handful of chips or other snack, try having a glass of water and see if that calms your hunger down. Water can help calm hunger and help you overeat less.
- Habits: Social & Cultural
It seems that every week there are multiple celebrations going on for some reason or another. Weekends, holidays, birthdays, festivals, doughnuts in the break-room, etc… Most people associate food with parties and celebrations, and for those of use with weaker willpower…this can lead to massive overeating! Parties don’t have to be a time of abstaining from all of your favorite foods, but you may want to cut back a bit and just enjoy a few of your favorites. For example, if you really like cake and ice cream, cut back on the chips, nuts, and pretzels and have a moderate portion of dessert. Plan ahead for these occasions and make yourself a mental plan of how much you can have and when you can have it. Sometimes I’ll go for a long run on the morning of a party so that I can have a few more treats that evening…use whatever self-trick or games that work for you ;-).
- Eating the wrong foods
Overeating is rarely associated with fruits and vegetables. When we think of overeating it’s usually those “heavy foods” like chips, pretzels, cookies, cakes, bagels, doughnuts, etc… These foods have very little water content and are usually very high in processed sugar, starches, and fat. These foods pack calories in like no other. And these foods are also some of the more enjoyable foods to eat. Save these for special occasions…and eat smaller portions. Once you get in the habit of having these treats less frequently, you’ll notice a drop in your calorie-intake…and on the scale, too!
Exercise is a great way to stop from overeating. Cardiovascular exercise can dampen hunger pangs and keep you out of the kitchen…it also builds calorie-burning muscle which will help you stay fit.
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