Want to stop overeating?
EVEN though exercise plays a huge role in weight loss, eating healthy and having a healthy relationship with food are also very important.
We live in a world where food is easily accessible and the temptation to overeat is constant. In order to address overeating, we have to understand what being “full” means.
There is a common saying — “Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full.”
It makes sense, but do we really know what being full means?
Let us dive into what being full means, and examine five ways you can stop overeating and aim for just fullness and satisfaction.
A question I get asked a lot is: “How do I know when I am full?”
This is not a surprising question, as it is easier to understand what it is to feel starved and what feeling stuffed is as opposed to being full — which is the in-between of the two extremes. In fact, being full can vary from person to person.
If you skipped a meal or few, you understand that you are very hungry based on a physical response (for example, hunger headache, tummy rumbling, et cetera), and if you had a huge meal you are so stuffed and uncomfortable that you have to unbuckle your belt.
Nutrition experts define this as satiety. According to the British Nutrition Foundation, satiety is the feeling of fullness and the suppression of hunger for a period of time after a meal.
It is the culmination of various bodily signals that have a conversation with the body from the moment you eat, and continues even during digestion.
So feeling full can register as feeling like you have eaten enough and are satisfied.
Feeling full and satisfied after a meal can suppress hunger longer and cut down on how much we eat later.
Numerous studies highlight that the need to overeat is based on:
• How savoury the food and drinks are;
• Portion sizes;
• Our emotional states (for example whether we are lonely, depressed or happy);
• Our physical activity levels;
• Aspects in our surroundings (for example food availability and advertising);
• The social situation around eating (for example quarantine conditions or holiday dinner);
So how do we ensure we don’t overindulge?
Five tips on how to feel full
1. Have a balanced plate of all macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fats) and fibre at every meal. That might mean leaning towards lower fat options, using leaner cuts of meat, and including higher fibre-rich foods such as beans, fruits and vegetables.
2. Have something to eat when you start to feel hungry, rather than once you are starving. This ensures you make better food decisions, as hunger can lower willpower and increase preferences for sugary, high-fat foods.
3. Consider smell, taste, temperature, and appearance of your food. We eat with all our senses, so it is really important to create a pleasurable environment.
4. Chew your food longer. This forces you to pay attention to your food more and savour each bite. This can help to increase feelings of satiety.
5. End your meal with something sweet and low-calorie such as a ‘sweetie’, a small handful of raisins, or a piece of fruit. The little pop of sweet makes you feel full and satisfied.
Jo-Hanna Taylor is an internationally certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, registered Power Vinyasa yoga instructor, and a wellness coach who specialises in behaviour change. Want to ask a question or share some positive vibes? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Instagram at @jo_hannabanana
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