Do you call yourself an overeater?
Many people who are trying to lose weight have the idea that they need willpower to succeed. They fight against their appetite, then end up bingeing on the foods they are trying to avoid!
So what exactly is overeating? Well, it depends on many factors, but in many cases it boils down to this:
1. You are depriving your body of the nutrients it needs, so it sends a signal to your brain that you need food. You may crave sugar if you are on a low carb diet, a low fat diet or if you are consuming too much or too little protein. The remedy: Eat a combination of healthy protein, fats and carbs at each meal and snack.
2. You are stressed about food. When you spend a lot of time and energy worrying about what and how much you eat, you send your body into a stress response and you will not digest your food and assimilate your nutrients properly. Then, your body tells you it is still hungry because it isn’t getting the nutrients from the food you are eating and is storing it all as fat instead! The remedy: Take 5 good deep breaths before you eat. Don’t eat while distracted (TV, computer, phone, newspaper, etc). STOP counting calories, fat grams, protein, etc. If you MUST count something, pay attention to the sugar content. Better yet, eat food that doesn’t come with labels.
3. Your body rhythm is out of whack. You skip meals, you have liquid meals, you eat sporadically throughout the day and/or eat very late at night. The remedy: Eat most of your calories in the earlier part of your day and eat a light dinner. (I’m not suggesting you count your calories; just make your breakfast and lunch bigger and eat lighter during the evening hours.)
4. There is another area of your life that needs attention. Maybe your relationships need work, maybe you aren’t making time for the things you enjoy, maybe you use food to de-stress, maybe you’re having a tough time at work. Remedy: First, let me say that all of these reasons are OKAY to cause overeating sometimes. Just don’t stay stuck there! So, perhaps you need to figure out the next step in these areas. Maybe that step is just acknowledging there is an issue! Figuring out what you need is a huge step to getting through it!
5. You fear your appetite. This is really common and the cause of a lot of disordered eating! The remedy: Recognize that appetite is natural, normal and necessary for survival. Food gives us energy and allows our body to function. We need to eat to live and having a desire for food is not a problem! A FEAR OF APPETITE LEADS DIRECTLY TO OVEREATING! Embrace your appetite, listen to your body and give it what it needs.
6. You are dehydrated. Remedy: Obviously, drink more water! To figure out how much, start with half of your weight in ounces (i.e. 150lb person should start with 75 oz). Then, assess your urine. If it is dark yellow, you need to drink more. If it is clear, you need to drink less. Your urine should be the color of light lemonade.
7. You receive no pleasure from food. When you don’t enjoy your food, whether it lacks taste, texture or substance, you are depriving your body of a natural response to food. The remedy: Allow yourself to enjoy eating again!
So, are you an overeater? Well, we all are sometimes! And that is perfectly alright! Our bodies are smarter than we are, we just need to take the time to listen!