Have you ever eaten more than you intended to at a party? I sure have! What about overeating in general? Planning ahead is helpful, but sometimes plans go sideways. Delectable party foods, enjoyable conversations, and extended times at the dinner table can sabotage anyone’s notion of “I’ll eat sensibly.”
Overeating (and not of the healthy stuff) is one thing that can negatively impact the fibromyalgia and chronic illness body.
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Here are three basic tips that can help you to survive mealtime temptations and keep the overstuffed feeling at bay.
Top 3 Tips to Prevent Overeating
1) Eat Real Food
Fake food – processed, packaged, nutrient-deficient foods actually INCREASE cravings and decrease satiety. Meaning they leave you feeling unsatisfied and wanting more.
I’ve never heard a client confess to me, “I’ve just overeaten a whole head of raw broccoli!” But the same isn’t true for Girl Scout cookies.
When you think of fake foods, think of the word, temporary. Fake foods taste good right away, but it’s a short-lived burst of feeling good. It only leads to the urge to eat more and more to extend that fleeting (and elusive) feeling.
Rather than chasing a temporary and arbitrary feeling, recognize that real foods give the body what it needs for the short-term AND the long-term. We can feel full, sated, and satisfied with a typical serving of real, whole foods and feel fine until the next meal.
Real foods naturally satisfy the body when we select a macronutrient balance of healthy fats, healthy proteins, and plenty of fiber-rich, nutrient-dense veggies.
2) Take a Gratitude Break
Whether eating alone or with friends and family at your next gathering, take a quick break before eating. Take a deep breath (or 3), say a prayer, and seize the opportunity to appreciate your surroundings.
Fill your heart with gratitude.
A grateful heart is less likely to feel undernourished and ravenously hungry (especially when emotional eating is at play). The emotions of thankfulness and gratitude send a cascade of “happy hormones” rushing through the body which turn off hunger hormones. What a win/win remedy!
3) Use a Hunger Scale
If you’ve never heard of a hunger scale before, it’s a simple method to rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 — with 1 being ravenous and 10 being stuffed.
Using a basic hunger scale before mealtimes can be very effective. It gives you the opportunity to step back from the moment and give your appetite some perspective. It’s common to say out loud, “I’m starving!” but are we really?
Give yourself the breathing space to assess how hungry you truly are. This step may be exactly what you need to prevent eating more than you’ve planned. For a quick overview of a hunger scale and how to use it, check out this article.
More Overeating Tips and Strategies
The tips listed above are obviously simple remedies that provide a practical and pragmatic approach to mealtimes. Taking a step back before mealtimes to assess how we feel can give us a wider and increased perspective on our eating behaviors including compulsions and mental chatter.
If cravings, deep hunger, and/or emotional eating have been a pattern for you, these tips will get you started, but may not address underlying root concerns. An “empty” heart may speak to cravings for social connections that feel like cravings for food. Food is often used as a companion or a substitute for what the heart longs for.
Speaking with friends, family, or support groups can help. For consistent and effective support tailor-made for you, enlist the help of a health coach. Working with a coach can help you get to the root cause of eating patterns you’d like to either change or eliminate.
Do you have tips you’d like to share? Please leave a comment below and join in the conversation.
If you’d like to connect with me on this or other health-related topics, send me a quick note to Work with Sue page. Let’s Connect!