How to Control Your Eating

How to Control Your Eating?

So many different journals and magazines try to offer advice to people on tips at controlling or curbing people’s unnecessary eating habits. But, when you really break it down, how a person avoids eating those extra bites is being attentive at what they’re eating and how much they have eaten. This specific way of thinking when eating is called “Mindful Eating”.

A report recently was released revealing that implementing 3 strategies can help a person eat less throughout their day.

1-     Avoid distractions

2-     Think about your food while you’re eating it

3-     Remembering what you ate at your previous meal

The reports found that eaters who were distracted by television, radio, or reading while eating, ate more at that meal. Then, they ate even more at the next meal. The study conditions also played a role in the amount of food eaten. Participants were less aware of what they ate when they were in a dimly lit room or eating in a buffet restaurant when employees were constantly removing empty plates from their table.

The results were similar for unrestrained eaters and restrained eaters (individuals who watch what they eat to avoid gaining weight).

So, the researchers came to the theory that anything you do to enhance your memory of what you eat can help control how much you eat at that meal and especially later on. Scientists speculate that when we make decisions about eating, we draw on memories about the satiating effects of our most recent meal.

The following tips can help a person eat mindfully, and likely maintain a healthy weight…

  1. Remove eating distractions: Eating in front of the TV, while reading, checking emails, or while doing anything else takes the focus off of your food are eating. This will increase the chance you overeating.
  2. Think about food when eating: Be conscious of every bite while you are eating to help regulate how much you eat. Involve your senses to notice the smell, taste, texture and color of foods being eaten in the present moment.
  3. Cue your food memories: When you sit down to eat, recall your last meal or snack. Make a mental list of the foods you ate, how they tasted and how satisfied you felt after eating.
  4. Pay attention to hunger: It takes practice, but listening to your body’s hunger cues can help you reduce your calorie intake. Take a moment to determine how hungry you feel before you eat, halfway through a meal and after you finish eating.
  5. Slow your pace: Eating slowly forces you to savor your food and eat less. It also leads to better digestion. After every bite, put down your knife and fork. Chew thoroughly.
  6. Dine to music:  Research shows that listening to soft music can help reduce anxiety, irritability and depression, emotions that can lead to overeating.

Here is a helpful checklist to keep with you at the office or at home:

–        Am I sitting?

–        Am I eating fast or slow?

–        Am I mindlessly munching or noticing each bite?

–        Am I asking “How hungry am I?” on a scale from 1-10

–        Am I multitasking or truly focused on my meal?

–        Is my stomach rumbling or am I bored, stressed, tired, anxious, etc.?

Controlling Your Eating

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Why Do We Overeat?

Why Do We Overeat?

A lot of factors go into why, we as people, overeat. Having some idea of our behaviors is helpful in order to solve our problem and try to do better with it. Researchers recently did a study that looked at the effect of 3 common overeating triggers… Alcohol- Lack of Sleep- and TV.

The study found that alcohol had the strongest effect on food consumption, followed by sleep deprivation. Watching television had the least strongest effect of the 3 triggers. The effect of alcohol was double; yes I said double, that of sleep deprivation, which was double the effect of watching television.  

Well, it turns out that all 3 behaviors lead to an increase in circulating ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates your appetite. So, there is a biological foundation behind our weakened resolution when these lifestyle factors are in play. The scenario could be characterized by biologically unnecessary appetite stimulation paired with a heightened response to environmental food cues, which causes us to overeat!

The authors of this study discussed that with all 3 of these triggers combined- this promotes an increase in acute caloric consumption. These lifestyle patterns are not merely correlated with obesity but likely contribute to it by encouraging excessive eating.

Obviously not everyone eats in front of the TV and many people indulge in alcohol only occasionally. These folks don’t have a problem to solve though. It’s when these types of habits become a lifestyle that they become important factors in adding and maintaining those extra pounds.

If you think you have either of these lifestyle habits going on, then 1) limiting TV time and 2) limiting the number of episodes per week you indulge alcohol, should be obvious goals. Avoiding being sleep-deprived is more complicated, but trying to arrange your schedule to get a full 7- to 8 hours of sleep per night, is a good place to start (or adding a regular nap to make up some of the difference).

Mindless Eating comes into player here. Mindless eating is taking that extra time to actually enjoy your food that you’re eating- without all those multitasking duties that everyone does. So, instead of watching TV or reading the newspaper during a meal, actually sit and chew your food thoroughly and enjoy your meal. This way, you become more aware of how much you’re eating and become full faster.

Why Do You Overeat?

overeating