How to Stop Overindulging in Food
We are all guilty of overindulging in food from time-to-time; whether it's downing pints of ice cream after a breakup or having one more slice of birthday cake at the office, sometimes our eyes are simply bigger than our stomachs. However, when this indulgence becomes a habit, it can cause real damage. Overeating has the potential to lead to issues such as weight gain, digestive problems, and feelings of shame or low self-esteem. Luckily, there are lots of practices that you can easily introduce into your daily routine to encourage mindful eating. Here are six steps towards kicking those unwanted eating habits.
Pay Attention to your Food
There's nothing more relaxing than turning on your favorite Netflix show with a bowl of chips at-the-ready; however, eating with distractions, like television or books, can lead to mindless munching. Before you know it, your small snack has turned into a three-course meal of chips, crackers, and cheese. Setting aside time specifically for meals can make a real difference in curbing hunger later in the day and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Set Consistent Meal Times
Not only is it important to set time aside just for eating, but it's equally important to do so regularly. Eating meals at the same time every day can create more consistent and healthier eating habits; this practice cuts down on snacking throughout the day. It also stops you from skipping meals.
You might assume that skipping lunch would be helpful in trying to cut down on overindulgence, but it can often simply lead to overeating later. Sticking to a regular eating schedule also provides a sense of control that is often lost when we struggle with overeating.
Presentation is Everything
Consciously create your servings. Eating right out of the packaging means there's nothing stopping you from finishing the whole container, but taking a moment to serve yourself a portion of food is an effective way to stop yourself from overindulging before you've even had your first bite. Serving yourself on a salad plate, rather than a regular dinner plate, can also help keep your portions smaller. If you're unsure about portioning food correctly, you can find some guidelines here.
Eating Slowly Can Curb Overindulgence
When you have a busy morning, it can be hard to do anything other than gulp down your breakfast as fast as you can with one hand while driving to work with the other. But it can take a while for your body to let you know that you’ve had enough to eat. Taking the time to sit down and eat your food without rushing has been proven to help satiate hunger more effectively because it gives your body more time to let you know when it is time to stop eating. Drinking water before, during, and after meals, as well as putting your fork down in between bites, are good strategies in slowing down meal time
Be Mindful of Your Habits
Consider keeping a food journal to track what you eat. This can be useful in revealing any good or bad habits you may want to change and make you think twice about any mindless snacking. Meal planning at the beginning of the week, while also cutting down on grocery bills, can make you more accountable for what you consume. Making a conscious effort to take note of what you eat without judgement can make all the difference in changing eating habits for the better.
When to Seek Help
All of the above tips can be useful in putting an end to overindulging in food; however, if your overeating is more severe and frequent, it could indicate a larger issue known as Binge Eating Disorder (BED). If a person has a binge eating episode at least once a week for at least three months, it is possible that they may have BED, and it is important to contact a medical professional for help in this situation. BED is usually treated with different types of therapy and/or medication.
How to Stop Overindulging in Food
It can be easy to give into temptation when we are stressed, in a rush, or simply hungry, but with a few quick changes to your daily routine, you can greatly improve your eating habits and find a healthier you through the process! Overindulging in food does not have to be a long-term problem.