Sometimes humans make simple things way too complicated.
In fact sometimes it seems that the more complicated the solution, the happier some people are. Take the problem of overeating as an example.
There is a worldwide obesity epidemic. People are eating more calories than their body needs. The excess calories are stored as fat. The person eating the excess calories then becomes overweight. It’s hardly rocket science.
Walk into any book shop and there will be an entire set of shelves dedicated to dieting and weight loss (usually next to the shelves containing all the recipe books for mouth-watering and highly fattening meals).
Study after study has been done trying to find the culprit for the massive growth in overweight people. Could it be all the sugar we are eating? In the USA they blame High Fructose Corn Syrup, yet in countries like Australia that product is not used, and still the population grows bigger by the day. Maybe it’s the grains. People are eating too much starch in the form of refined grains. Bread, pasta, rice, cakes, biscuits, cookies and the like. Is it all the soda that people are drinking? Has the Coke marketing machine tricked everyone into drinking liquid sugar and made everyone fat?
Psychologists are interviewed about this phenomena and they put forward all sorts of theories for why people eat more than they should. Are the overeaters using food as a source of comfort when they are sad or bored. They warn us that our feelings can impact our eating habits leading to out of control binge eating. Maybe your overeating is caused by more deep-rooted issue. Your mother didn’t love you or your father left home when you were a kid.
Parents have been blamed for influencing their children’s weight through the foods they feed their children and through their own eating behaviours. If you had fat parents maybe they fed you the same crap that they ate and set you up for bad eating habits as an adult?
Or maybe it’s your friends? There is a theory that being overweight is socially contagious. Do you hang out with big eaters? Maybe you have selected a lifestyle built around eating and drinking as a social activity that has nothing to do with physical hunger? Are all your friends obese as well, or worse do you have friends that can eat like a pig and never put on weight. We all have different genetic backgrounds so it could be quite possible that your dining companions have thin genes while you drew the short straw and can get fat by just looking at a Krispy Kreme doughnut.
What are some of the tricks people use to manage overeating?
- Plan your eating up front. Know how much you need to live on and only plan to have meals containing that volume of food.
- Portion Control. Measure how much you are eating. Not with a scale, just using rough measures like the recommendation to eat a portion of chicken that can fit on your hand.
- Don’t go food shopping hungry. You will risk buying the most unhealthy food and probably eat half of it before you get home.
- Don’t cook too much food. Try to only prepare one serving. Avoid the trap of having second serves of food.
- Always sit down to eat. Focus on the meal not on the television.
- Use smaller plates so that the smaller portion of food fills your plate.
- Leave the table as soon as you have finished eating.
- Don’t leave tempting foods lying around where they are visible
- Drink lots of water before and during dinner to fill yourself up
- Don’t eat snacks
- Eat your food slowly. It takes 12 or more minutes for food satisfaction signals to reach the brain of a thin person, but 20 or more minutes for an obese person. When you eat slowly you allow enough time for the satiety messages to reach your brain.
- Be attentive or “mindful” to the eating process. Don’t just shovel food down your gullet on automatic pilot.
- The first bites of food taste the best so make them count. That way it will be easier to stop when you are full, even if there is still food left on your plate.
- Try to include bulky and satisfying foods in your meal. Avoid foods that provide high density calories with little volume. A chocolate bar could provide as many calories as a complete meal, but wont make you feel full.
So there are many reasons why people overeat and there are many tricks and techniques that people can use to stop or minimise their overeating.
But in life, most problems tend to have a root cause and if you know what that root cause is, the solution becomes obvious.
Yes, people who overeat have a long list of excuses for their overeating, and too often they want to blame external factors rather than look in the mirror to see the real culprit.
If you are overeating, it is YOU who is putting the food into your mouth. With few exceptions (a hunger striker being force fed would be one such example), every calorie of food that enters your body has been put there by you.
So the simple and effective technique that you can take away from this post is this ….
STOP IT !!!!!
Eating too much food …. STOP IT !!!!!
Buying too many fattening foods … STOP IT !!!!!
Cant resist buying snacks from the vending machine … STOP IT !!!!!
Cant resist having a second helping of dinner … STOP IT !!!!!
Just STOP IT !!!!!