Eating disorders are often only associated with people who suffer from either anorexia or bulimia but the truth is there are a lot of overeaters as well who are in bad health both physically and possibly mentally who need help and support. Many of us overeat at certain times of the year, mostly in the winter when we are less active and the days are colder and shorter, forcing us to spend more time inside.
How easy is it to curl up on the couch with your favourite movie and favourite unhealthy snack. Most overeating can be consciously controlled but when there are deeper issues causing the gluttonous act than some form of intervention may be needed.
Break the Habit
Overeating can cause weight gain and lead to other health problems associated with obesity. In order to break the habit, you’ll have to start paying attention to what you are eating, how long it takes you and how much you put on your plate. Most of us switch off at meal times and don’t even realize that we are overeating. This is usually due to the fact that we are preoccupied with the Television or computer. By following these easy steps the average person can cut down on their unnecessary eating and help to control their weight.
Start small by only taking a small amount as your first portion. If you are still hungry after finishing your first plate then go back for more but take even less than you did the first time.
Use smaller plates to start with until you know how to control your portion sizes.
Pace yourself. You’ll eat less by chewing more slowly. Eating slowly gives your stomach the chance to tell your brain that it is full. Often when we eat quickly we are full before we realize and therefore don’t stop eating until it’s too late.
Drink lots of water. Hunger is often confused with thirst. Keep your body hydrated to stave off hunger and drink a glass of water before every meal.
Measure your portions. You may want to buy a scale or use measuring cups to start with until you develop an eye for correct portion sizes. Balance your meals with the right combination of protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat. Speak with your doctor or a nutritionist about how much you should be eating of each category.
Split your meals when you eat out. Serving sizes at restaurants are usually double what your body needs to consume. Share your meal with a friend or ask for a takeout box at the beginning of your meal and put half in the box before you start eating. If the food is off your plate you won’t be tempted to eat it.
When it’s More Than a Habit
If your overeating or the overeating of a loved one or friend cannot be controlled know the signs and get help. Doctors’, Hospitals and Eating Disorder clinics can give advice, support and answer questions on overeating. Overeating will lead to other more serious illnesses like hypertension, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease and depression. Watch for these signs of chronic overeating as it may not always be associated with being overweight:
Eating faster than others
Continuing to eat even after verbalizing that they are full
Feelings of regret or guilt after eating
Spending a lot of time or money on eating
Has a phobia of being not in control of their eating
Eating in solitude to avoid judgment
Hiding food in strange places to consume later when no one is around
If someone you know is showing any of these signs of overeating and is unable to control it on their own using the Break the Habit steps listed above, help them seek the help of a professional. Treatment can come in the form of a therapist to find out the root cause of the overeating, a dietitian to help control portions or through a combination of both strategies. Controlling overeating can help us be more physically and mentally healthy.