How to stop overeating – without feeling hungry
Let’s be honest – we all love to eat yummy stuff. If eating didn’t make us gain weight, we would be calm and happy to indulge ourselves with 3 chocolate muffins instead of just 1, because we’d still look great.
The problem is not that we love eating but that we love eating too much and too often. Our job is stressful, we’re constantly on the run to do this and that, we barely have the time to go to the hairdresser or visit a yoga class, we’re mad with Bae because he arranged to play football with the boys on Sunday although he knew that we wanted to go have lunch with Mom and then look for a New Year’s Eve dress at the mall… So what can we do? Well, we can have a snack – to ease up the tension and forget about our disappointment. Of course, that would be something made of sugar or/and flour.
Psychologists call this “emotional eating”. And they have a point – often times we eat not because we’re hungry but because our nervousness feels like hunger. Our hasty lives and hectic days make us even more nervous and exhausted, until here we are with a spoon in one hand and a jar of Nutella in the other. And then with a New Year’s Eve dress that’s one size bigger than planned. Grrrrrrr. For real.
The good news is that we can un-teach ourselves from eating out of stress, boredom and anger at Bae. We won’t do it by imposing restrictions or by calculating calories with an app or without one. Instead we’ll “hack” our bodies so that they won’t give us signals that we’re hungry when we’re actually not! The benefits from this technique are not only less appetite and a more slender physique, but also adopting a healthier approach to our body and learning a bunch of useful habits for life.
So here are 9 simple and easy rules that will help us reduce our “emotional eating” without depriving ourselves from food or feeling hungry and annoyed.
1. More fiber, less hunger.
There are plenty of studies that prove fibers naturally reduce appetite. Because they increase their size in the stomach, fibers create a feeling of satiety even if we haven’t eaten too much already. How can we get more of these magical and helpful fibers? Eat more fruit, vegetables, beans and wholegrain. We can always order a double vegetable side, start our meal with a light salad (instead of mashed potatoes) or simply prepare lentils one or twice a week. All that is not only healthy but also helps us feel hungry a lot less often.
2. Soups make us feel full and suppress our appetite
Starting our meal with a bowl of hot vegetable soup, is a great way to get warm in the cold winter months and also eat twice as less calories from our main course. Soups fill up our stomach so that we naturally want to eat less of our main course – always packed with far more calories than a simple soup. What you need to remember is to order or prepare plain soups with cut vegetables instead of cream soups which contain butter, potatoes, sometimes milk and whatnot. It’s true that they’re tasty but in terms of calories they come closer to the main courses and we’re after a different goal. So, make minestrone, nettle soup, celery soup your favorite soups. It’s safest this way.
3. Satiate hunger with a salad first.
Just like soups, salads do a similar thing. It’s important to eat your salad before the main course and not with it in order to be already almost full when the big plate comes. This way we get enough fiber which creates a feeling of satiety and revs up the metabolism but also we ingest a good dose of natural vitamins and antioxidants. It’s still best to go with light, simple salads like cabbage and carrots salad, greek salad, green salads, parsley salads. You can also add raw seeds and nuts like chia, walnuts, cedar nuts, balsamic vinegar and cold pressed olive oil.
4. Long live the grapefruit!
This sour-bitter-sweet fruit has a magical action when it comes to breaking down body fat – especially when eaten on an empty stomach or as a breakfast. For optimal results, we must eat the whole fruit and not just drink its juice so that we can benefit from all the pulp and fiber in it. Additionally, grapefruit boosts the metabolism and helps us digest food faster, thus turning calories into energy instead of fat.
5. Fats are not always the enemy
While carbohydrates artificially increase insulin levels in the blood which leads to a higher appetite and weight gain, natural fats helps us break down body fat. It sounds like a paradox but it’s true. A slice of matured cheese or a boiled egg when we’re feeling munchy can helps us keep our figure lean better than a biscuit or 2-3 candies. Hence, don’t avoid the rafts with fatty cheeses in the supermarket but leave back the packages with corn flakes, the bread and those biscuits that go so well with your morning coffee. Soon enough the effect from that choice will be visible.
6. Raw nuts are too good to miss
Nuts make us easily feel full and moreover they are super healthy – when consumed raw! Usually, to get the maximum benefit from eating raw nuts, we have to first soak them in water for several hours. If we do so in the evening, by the morning they will be ready to go into a smoothie or into a bowl with yoghurt and honey (and a pinch of cinnamon!). Another great feature of raw nuts is that they make a wonderful snack – to satiate that desire for food that comes around 11 am just before lunch, at 4 pm and at 10 in the evening when we’re watching Netflix. Instead of snacking on crisps, candies, half sandwiches and so on, we can simply eat 7-8 raw nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts). This way we’ll be getting a healthy dose of proteins and essential fatty acids which speed up fat burning, improve sleep and the work of our nervous system, reduce stress, strengthen our nails and hair, and rejuvenate the skin.
7. Slow eating works wonders
It takes our brain at least 20 minutes to understand that the stomach is full and to send a signal to our body that we’ve had enough food and can stop eating. In this case, if we eat slowly and chew carefully (and not get stuffed like a turkey, as our grandma used to say!), our brain will know that we’re full long before we’ve eaten way too much. Slow eating not only helps us get full with less food but it also teaches us to enjoy food, to feel its taste, to savor the experience for longer.
8. Let’s have a healthy snack 30 mins before lunch/dinner
According to a recent research with 40 female participants, those who ate an apple or some yoghurt or a vegetable half an hour before lunch and dinner, actually got full with less food compared to those who sat on the table too hungry and respectively ate more food. As we saw from the previous advice, our brain needs 20 minutes to “realize” there is food in the stomach and to decrease the sensation of hunger. So it’s only logical to eat something small and healthy before having our meal so that we eat less when the meal comes. It’s hard to overeat with your stomach already half full so let’s use this little trick in our favor.
9. Lastly – movement is king, you know that
Working out is proven to be healthy – for the heart, for the lungs, for our good mood, for the high dopamine levels, for tight thighs, for a flat belly. There’s no reason to shy away from physical exercise because the benefits from it are so many that no amount of business or laziness can’t justify our avoidance. However. When they hear the word “exercise” most women are thinking that they have to spend 3-4 hours to get to the gym, to put on their work out clothes, to have a work out, to take a shower, to put their makeup on, and to drive themselves home or to the office. This doesn’t sound quite inspiring. That’s what makes it so hard for most of us – our lives are busy enough to make room for long sessions of training.
Nevertheless, we can always do some exercise at home or in our neighbourhood. How? Instead of using the car we will go to the supermarket by foot. Or we can even choose to walk to a market that’s further away, instead of heading to the closest place. Without knowing it, we have walked for 30 minutes. Enough. We can get even more creative and go up and down the staircase in our building several times – this is a great exercise for heart health, fit calves and toned thighs. We can play our favorite music and dance solo in the living room or invite our amazed better half for a dance – he will most likely refuse to do it but we’ll make him! We can do yoga or callanetics or just do some stretches watching Youtube videos while the children are playing around us and we can simultaneously watch what they’re doing and take care of ourselves too!
So that’s that. We tried to make this easy and pleasant. We hope that it will be for you.