Let’s face it, in today’s world, most of us ‘live to eat’ rather than ‘eat to live’. With globalization and so many food varieties and options available, of course we ‘live to eat’! However, we often eat when we are not truly hungry, we eat because we see something that makes our mouth water, or we eat when we are so famished that we could eat like a glutton and then we eat more till we are so full that.. burrrp, yes we overate!
Do you ever complain of acidity, burps, farts, gas or heartburn? These are all signals from your body warning you that you have overeaten. As a nutritionist, my clients are often asking me ‘quick fixes’ for acidity and gas. And my answer is always ‘There is no quick fix to these problems. Stop overeating and eat at regular intervals for them to disappear’. But what do you do? Pop an antacid or an effervescent salt and get ready for the next meal.
So how do you know how much to eat and when to stop?
You decide what to eat, but let your body decide how much! Let your body talk to you. Well, it won’t literally talk, but it will give you signs and signals – that is the body’s way of communicating!
8 simple steps to stop overeating:
- For starters, eat only when you are genuinely hungry; not famished, just hungry. When your stomach starts making those rumbling, growling sounds (due to contractions of the stomach and intestines) and there is a slight ache in the stomach – that is your cue to eat. After you start eating, you will feel the growling sounds settling, your stomach feels satiated and you feel more alert. When the stomach is full, it sends a signal to your brain. You will notice the hunger dispel and that is your sign to stop.
- Eat with all your senses. Look at the colours, enjoy the aroma and feel the texture of the food on your fingers, listen to the sound of chewing and relish the flavours and taste. When you eat with all your senses, your attention is on the food you are eating and the way your body is reacting to it. You are more observant of your body signals.
- Eat slowly and chew thoroughly. Put your spoon or fork down in between bites to avoid overeating.
- Don’t eat while watching TV or texting on your phone. These are distractions that supersede satiety signals leading to overeating.
- Start with smaller portions. That way you can have the joy of a second helping but not overeat.
- As a nutritionist, this is my favorite advice. Always wait 5 minutes before reaching out for yet another helping. If you are still hungry after 5 minutes, go ahead get some more.
- Eat smaller frequent meals every 2-2.5 hours. The stomach will tell you when it’s time for the next meal or a snack. As a rule, the size of your stomach is the size of your two palms and that is how much you need to eat. Smaller frequent meals also help boost metabolism (the rate at which the body functions), and thereby allowing your body to use nutrients to maximize benefits.
- Never wait to eat till you are famished, because if you don’t eat when you first feel hunger pangs, then you are letting your body slip into a ‘starvation mode’. And eventually when you eat, you gobble down everything in sight because you are ravenous and end up storing all the extra energy as fat.
To conclude, all we can tell you is, eat like a baby. A baby always demands for milk when she is hungry and stops feeding as soon as she is full. Try to feed her more and she’ll turn her face away.
Watch more ways to stop overeating in this quick video: https://youtu.be/jP34wM6biuU (10 ways to eat less food)