Appetite Control Strategies to Stop Overeating and Binge Eating

Overeating or binge eating is something we all have dealt or are still struggling with. Weather you get a large food portion at the restaurant and you feel like you have to finish it or you can’t stop snaking while you watch a movie, there is a reason behind why you can’t stop overeating.

In most of the cases you will feel guilty after you eat so much and you will blame yourself for not being able to resist the food temptations. My recommendation is to stop the negative thoughts and before you look for strategies to stop overeating, to understand the reasons behind your eating habits.

Before I go in more details about why you overeat and the ways you can stop this behaviour, I would first like to discuss about the differences between overeating and binge eating. 

The difference between overeating and binge eating

While overeating has to do with physical hunger, binge eating is an emotional behaviour. Overeating happens mostly when you are hungry, when you eat mindlessly or when you go for seconds just because you love that dish. If this behaviour repeats frequently it can lead to weight gain and health problems.

Binge eating however, happens due to an emotional trigger. This is a serious eating disorder where you feel like you can’t control the amount of food you eat. In most of the cases, the person who experiences this problem, will feel ashamed, guilt and it can lead to frustration and depression.

Tips to stop overeating

Now that you know the difference between overeating and binge eating, I would like to first offer some tips on how you can solve the overeating issue:

  • The first step to overcome this issue is to learn how to eat mindfully. When you practice mindful eating you need to focus on what you are eating and on the experience of eating. This means that your attention will 100% go towards checking the food colours, smells and tastes. Mindful eating will also enable you to discover when you are actually hungry and when you are eating from boredom.
  • Check your portion size. You need to learn how much you should eat on each serving so you can achieve your nutrition goals. Check out my nutrition plan if you want to learn how to correctly size your food portions. 
  • Make sure you eat all your regular meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and healthy snacks during the day. Studies show that eating more frequently throughout the day can decrease hunger and overall food intake. 
  • Avoid blood sugar spikes, by removing foods that include processed sugars, carbohydrates with high glycemic indexes like bread, cakes, white pasta and rice, etc. Fluctuations in your blood sugar levels will result in hunger and overeating. 
  • Don’t restrict yourself from all the foods you like as it might may cause you to feel deprived and drive you to eat the forbidden treats. Instead, focus on providing your body with mostly healthy, nutritious food while also giving yourself the freedom to truly enjoy a treat here and there
  • Make sure you always stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is a simple yet effective way to curb cravings and stop overeating.

Tips to stop binge eating

You may find that binge eating is comforting for a brief moment, helping to ease unpleasant emotions or feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety. But then reality sets back in and you’re flooded with feelings of regret and self-loathing. The good news is that you can actually do something to control this behaviour. 

You need to find a way to better manage your feelings. As I said binge eating is related with your emotions, weather you are stressed, anxious, or you are just having a few bad days. While your first instinct would be to solve your issue by ordering junk food or by eating tones of sweets, I would rather recommend you stop for a second and you make an effort to understand the root cause of your problems.

Once you have identified the cause of your emotional feelings, you need to accept what you’re feeling without judging it or yourself. Find a solution (other than food) to your problems by:
  • Talking to someone you trust and discuss about what you feel. Most of the times talking about your issues can help you understand the root cause and enable you to find solutions. 
  • Sicking help from a professional, if you feel like this situation is too overwhelming. 
  • Learning how to let go of the “goal” of weight loss, and commit to pursue actual health. I know it can be difficult to change your mind-set when everyone around us tells us we need to fit in some unrealistic weight and shape constraints. In my opinion you should learn to love yourself, no matter your body sizes and focus more on how you can become healthy rather than losing weight. In this way, you will see that emotional eating will slowly disappear. 
  • Solving your emotional issues through workouts. Exercise is considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.

Have you ever experienced overeating or binge eating problems? How have you managed to overcome these behaviours? I would really like to know if you have any recommendations that have worked for you. Leave a comment below and let me know.
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