Have you ever found yourself reaching for the fridge door simply because you had nothing better to do? Or pigging out at the conference buffet just because the food is there?
We all have a tendency to overeat at times; it's just natural to want more of the foods we really like. Unfortunately, it's also one of the surest and fastest ways to derail your weight loss program. Even if you tend to opt for healthier foods, eating too much or feeding when you're not really hungry are huge barriers to getting in shape.
But how do you stop it? Well, it's all about identifying the cues, or triggers, that are causing the eating behaviour. Here are five of the worst offenders, and what to do about them:
Tasty foods can have a tranquilizing effect on your mind and body, which is why stress is among the most common triggers that cause you to overeat. But emotions can never be satisfied with food, and the extra calories will only compound your problems.
Solution: Talk things over with someone you trust, and try meditation or other relaxation techniques. Look for alternative activities that help rebalance your hormones in a more constructive way, like exercise or sports.
When you get, you may find yourself turning to food for a quick "pick-me-up." This is why people often snack on sugary treats late at night when they should probably be going to bed.
Solution: Make sure you're getting enough sleep, and develop a nightly routine to help you wind down. If your lifestyle allows for it, try an afternoon power-nap instead of a snack to beat the 3PM slump. Most importantly, get plenty of protein and healthy fats with your meals to keep you full and energized.
3. Food Associations
Any activity you consistently associate with eating can become a potential trigger. For example, if you're used to eating in front of the TV, just sitting down to catch up with the news or soaps can be a cue to have a snack in hand.
Solution: Whenever you have a meal, make sure to sit at the dining table and eliminate all distractions. Turn off your TV, computer or tablet, and focus all your attention on your food.
They say the Devil finds work for idle hands, and this is so true when it comes to overeating. We've all found ourselves reaching for food when we've got nothing to do, but this is an easy enough trigger to deal with.
Solution: Make sure you're not putting something more important off (boredom often goes hand-in-hand with procrastination). Look for more productive ways to pass your time, like reading a book, going for a walk, hitting the gym, or meeting up with a friend.
5. Social Events
Parties, Christmas, a night at the movies — any event that removes you from your normal routine has the potential to catch you off guard and make you overeat.
Solution: Focus on enjoying the occasion rather than the food, and always make the healthiest food choices you can in a given situation. If you can time it properly, the event can even replace one of your regular meals so you're not eating more than you normally would, or just have a healthy snack before heading out.
Want to learn more about how to curb unnecessary eating and make it easier to get in shape? Request a free consultation here and we'll show you how!
Image: Aunty Acid