Eating beyond fullness happens to the best of us.
And on occasion, it’s not really cause for concern!
But if you find it happening more than you want it to, it’s worth some investigation. Especially if your overeating feels out of control or happens more frequently than you might like.
Read on to learn how to overcome overeating without willpower, extremes or restriction.
Signs of overeating
When we talk about overeating in this article, we’re talking about unintentional overeating.
Because, let’s be real, eating past fullness on Thanksgiving isn’t really something most of us want to change. And of course, some people intentionally eat beyond their needs because they want to gain weight.
How can you tell if you’re unintentionally overeating? Here are some common signs:
- You feel distended, bloated or uncomfortable after eating
- You feel lethargic and low energy after eating
- You struggle to stop eating when you’re full
- You often eat more than you want to
- You experience unintentional weight gain
The biggest sign you’re unintentionally overeating is that you eat more than you want or need, well, kind of by accident! It becomes a pattern or sometimes feels out of control. And this is where gentle nutrition can help.
1) Include protein at most meals and snacks
I know, I know. Protein gets way too much hype these days. But the research shows that it’s critical to help us feel full and stop eating. When you eat it consistently, protein can also help stabilise blood sugar and keep our energy and appetite more predictable.
Instead of hyper-fixating on protein, aim to add a source of protein to most of your meals and snacks. I also recommend adding protein whenever you reach for carbs!
2) Add more fiber to your diet
Fiber is another important nutrient for promoting satiety. Satiety is what helps us feel full after meals and stops us from reaching for food when we no longer need it.
To get more fiber in your life, choose plant foods often, such as whole grains and whole grain products, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits.
3) Don’t let yourself get overly hungry
Letting yourself get overly hungry is a recipe for leaving meals overly full. When you’re super hungry, you eat with more urgency and care less about honouring your fulless. This might also mean eating so fast that your brain doesn’t have the chance to signal that you’re full.
Eat every 3-4 hours, or at the first signs of comfortable hunger. This might include thinking about food, feeling distracted or noticing an empty feeling in your belly.
4) Eat until you’re full, not just ‘not hungry’ anymore
This one sounds counterintuitive, I know. But many of us are so used to eating until we’re ‘just not hungry anymore’, which basically means we’re walking around chronically underfueled. And eventually, your hunger will catch up with you and cause that eating urgency we talked about above.
Challenge yourself to eat slowly, reduce distractions and eat until you’re actually full. You’d be surprised at the impact this can have on accidental overeating later on.
5) Stop trying to cut out carbs
Forget what keto Karen said, okay? Carbs are you body’s preferred source of fuel and when you deprive yourself of them, your body is going to cry out for more.
Stop trying to cut or drastically reduce carbs. Instead, include high fibre carbs you enjoy at most meals and pair them with protein often.
Unintentional overeating is rarely a matter of willpower. Try these strategies and let me know what changes you notice!
And if you want to explore ways we can work together, send me an email. A healthy and balanced relationship with food is possible for you, and I’d be honoured to show you how.