I think everyone has different food triggers that almost guarantee they are going to eat more than they should. At the very least it may lead to a second helping, and at its worst, we’re talking a full blown binge. This phenomena is not exclusive to humans either. It seems almost all species will overeat if given the chance – for different reasons, of course, but they still do. After all, how do you think we came up with phrase “pigging out”?
But for those of us that are trying to lose weight, or simply trying to eat healthily and stay where we are, overeating can be a real issue. For some, bingeing can be a problem of epic proportions and is responsible for more love handles than any other source. It attacks us when we are weak, and like a thief in the night it steals our hopes and dreams.
Once we realize that bingeing is the great wrecker of weight loss, we can then begin to very clearly see the sly and deceptive way with which she operates. This is serious business with huge (no pun intended) consequences… and we need a plan!
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All kidding aside, diet experts do agree that chronic overeating can be controlled when certain techniques are put into use. Below I’ve listed 14 tips endorsed by various health and fitness professionals to help you tame those uncontrollable feeding frenzies.
- Use Your Head: No one wakes up in the morning and writes in their day planner that they’re going to eat 4 Krispy Kreme doughnuts after lunch. Read the suggestions in this article, and start planning appropriately to avoid temptation.
- Start Your Day Right: Start your day with a glass of water with lemon juice in it, to help kick-start your digestive system.
- Don’t Be In Denial: Don’t be in denial about the foods that you just can’t control. Whether it’s cookies or potato chips that make you weak-kneed… know thy enemy. By identifying your trigger foods, you can begin to adapt to whatever works for you.
- Savor Every Bite: When you are eating a food you really love, slow down and experience the flavor. Bingeing is a mechanism brought on by the pleasure of what we are eating. Force yourself to really savor and enjoy every bite.
- Chew Your Food More: Almost all of us are guilty of gulping down our food. C’mon… we’re not great whites here. Chew your food slowly and thoroughly; it’s a habit you can develop over time quite easily.
- Control Your Portions: Establish limits for each serving through portion control. Limit your access once the correct portion size has been served.
- Use Smaller Plates: Smaller plates will amount to less real estate for your food to sit on. Make the switch and ditch the platters when eating at home.
- Drink More Water: Drinking more water throughout the day will help; but try having a glass of water right before each meal as well.
- More Fiber: Fiber tends to expand with liquid, making you feel full. Consider mixing 5 grams of psyllium fiber in a glass of water and drinking it 30 minutes before a meal, and/or before going to bed.
- Take It Easy: Sometimes, the pressure of adhering to our expectations can bring on unnecessary anxiety, which can lead to emotional bingeing. Realize that perfection is not realistic, nor a requirement. It’s OK to mess up once in a while!
- Sit Down: Avoid eating when you are hurried, or on the run. Develop a ritualistic rule to only eat when you are under control, sitting at the table.
- Take A Timeout: The next time you feel the urge to devour that big bag of chips… make yourself wait 10 minutes before you start eating. Often, these urges to binge can be temporary. By taking a little timeout, you can control the situation, with a higher probability of success.
- Make Healthy Substitutions: Put healthy snack foods in the easy-to-reach locations. Eye level shelves in your fridge and pantry are probably not the best places for cupcakes and cookies.
- Reward Yourself: Abstinence is not easy. If you really love having a slice of cheesecake now and then – have one! Giving yourself a reasonable allowance is perfectly fine.
- Eat More Oatmeal: Oatmeal is rich in dietary fiber, low in calories, great for your cholesterol and really fills you up. It’s been a star staple of bodybuilders for years because of its high nutritional value, low calories and low glycemic index.
Overeating and bingeing are never easy things to overcome. They sneak up on us with little warning, and before you know it… the whole box of cookies are gone! Living a healthy life and keeping your weight under control doesn’t have to be a prison sentence, nor do you have to fall victim to the yo-yo syndrome. With a little planning, and some junk food soul searching, anyone can begin controlling their urge to binge. Buen Provecho!