Have you ever found yourself faced with a plate of food so big that you didn't know where to start?
It's a common situation, and a frustrating one when we're trying to lose weight. Oftentimes when eating out at restaurants or friends’ houses you’re forced to deal with huge platefuls served by someone else, that you’re expected to finish.
So, how can you properly manage those overwhelming plates and make sure you don't overeat?
First, you should recognize the signs of overeating. Do you feel full to the brim after a meal? Do you finish your plate without even realizing what you're eating? These are some of the indicators that you might be eating more than your body needs.
The challenge is managing situations where you find yourself with huge plates or unhealthy choices. What do you do at a business lunch or during the holidays, surrounded by delicious, fatty meals?
Let's start at the beginning: identify the situations in which you overeat.
Signs of overeating - Trigger situations
Some situations that make it hard to stick to our diet. Parties, fast food, boredom, and stress can make us eat more than we should.
Here are some common overeating trigger situations:
- Celebrations: during weddings, birthdays, parties... Remember, you don’t have to try everything!
- Eating out: restaurants often double the normal serving size. Also, restaurant dishes are often high in calories, and paired with sugary/alcoholic beverages.
- Fast food or takeout meals are often high in fat and calories. Convenience can lead you to order out, but that’s deadly for your diet.
- Boredom or stress eating: many people turn to food as a form of distraction or comfort. This can lead to overeating, even when not physically hungry.
- Group meals: it is common to get carried away by the social dynamics and eat more than necessary when out with friends.
Common signs of overeating
Look out for the following signs of overeating next time you are in one of these situations:
- Feeling of heaviness and stomach discomfort: do you feel bloated, uncomfortable and even with abdominal pains?
- Excessively full: do you feel completely full, even beyond the normal feeling of fullness? It may be difficult to move or have the feeling that you can't eat another bite.
- Drowsiness and lack of energy: do you feel drowsy and sleepy? Your body is busy processing excess food, which can lead to a feeling of fatigue.
- Heartburn or acid reflux: especially if you have consumed fatty or spicy foods. Do you have a burning sensation in your chest or throat?
- Feelings of guilt or regret about not controlling your portions.
- You have not lost the weight you expected: if you have overeaten for a while, you are likely to gain weight or at least not lose any. The extra weight is usually temporary and due to fluid retention.
Tips to beat temptation and avoid overeating
- Plan your meals: planning your meals helps maintain a clear focus and avoid temptations. By organizing your meals and snacks based on your caloric needs, you not only establish a structured eating routine but also become more attuned to the signs of overeating.
- Control portion sizes: use smaller plates to visually trick your brain and sit down to eat in a quiet environment without distractions. Chew slowly and enjoy each bite, giving your body time to register satiety.
- Be aware of what you eat: practicing mindful eating involves paying attention to your hunger and satiety signals. Learn to distinguish between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Eat when you are genuinely hungry and stop when you feel satisfied. It’s important to avoid eating out of boredom, stress or whenever you walk into the kitchen.
- Use self-hypnosis to rewire your brain and control your cravings: self-hypnosis can help you lose weight and improve your eating habits. In a study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, self-hypnosis was found to be an effective treatment for weight loss. In fact in that study, participants who frequently practiced self-hypnosis lost more weight than the control group.
- Include protein and fiber in your meals: Protein and fiber are nutrients that help you feel fuller longer. Include lean protein sources such as chicken, turkey, fish, legumes and low-fat dairy products. Eat foods rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, which will help you control your appetite and keep you feeling full.
- Avoid highly processed foods: highly processed foods, such as cookies, chips and soda, tend to be high in calories, trans fats and added sugars, but low in nutrients and fiber. These foods can trigger cravings and cause you to overeat.
- Always have a glass of water on hand: water can become your ally in maintaining control during these situations. It provides a feeling of satiety, helping you control your appetite and avoid overeating. Also, drinking water between bites gives time to really think whether you are still hungry or simply eating on impulse.
- Manage stress and sleep: stress can trigger the desire to overeat, especially unhealthy foods. Try managing stress with relaxation techniques, such as meditation, exercise or self-hypnosis. Also, make sure you get enough sleep, as lack of sleep can modify the hormones that control appetite, triggering hunger and overeating.
I want to lose weight now
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