We’re all guilty of overeating from time to time, but what your appetite has got out of hand?
You know how it goes. You’ve eaten a massive meal, feel like you couldn’t eat another bite and then somehow manage to fit in dessert. Followed by some biscuits with a cup of tea. And maybe a bag of crisps before bedtime.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Nutritionist and weight-loss expert Lily Soutter explains just why many of us all into that trap.
“Our gut is referred to as our second brain as this is where many of our neurotransmitters are produced and lie,” she says.
“For example, 90% of our happy hormone, serotonin, is produced within the gut, with only 10% being found within the brain. What we eat will affect our gut, which will have a direct impact on the brain as to how we think and feel. A recent study shows that overeating causes stress to the gut lining cells, reducing their output of uroguanylin (satiety or feeling full hormone) resulting in a lack of satiety registered by the brain.”
She added: “Due to the addictive nature and abundance of processed food today, overeating is easy and will inevitably stress the body. Overeating means our bodies will struggle to produce sufficient digestive enzymes, bile and hydrochloric acid to breakdown and digest our food. This is likely to increase the stress response within in the cells of the gut lining, whilst potentially causing stress induced damage.”
But what can you do if you do find yourself overeating – and binging time and time again?
Lily shares her top tips to stop you from binge eating:
Learn the art of mindful eating
In other words, stop eating mindlessly – which eating in front of the TV or computer can do.
“Pay attention to the texture, taste, colours and flavour of each mouthful and you’ll be sure to feel more satisfied after your meal,” explains Lily.
“Mindful eating also helps distinguish between emotional and physical hunger. The increased awareness of food related triggers can help us be in control and develop a healthy response to them.”
Remember, it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full so give yourself time for your body to work through the process.
Fool yourself with a smaller plate
Larger plates can make a normal serving look small – swap that for a small plate and your brain will think you’ve got a full plate of food.
It’s an oldie but a goldie. If you fancy a snack, take a drink of water and wait 20 minutes to see if the hunger passes. A lot of the time, we think we’re hungry but we’re actually just thirsty.
Pack in the protein and never skip breakfast
Lily explains: “Protein keeps you fuller for longer, which results in eating less throughout the day. A protein-rich breakfast is absolutely vital to keep hunger at bay.”
Make meal times an event
Take your time to eat your meal, rather than rushing through it. Try and put your knife and fork down in between bites and savour the flavour.
Detox your kitchen, car and desk
Lily advises: “If you find yourself polishing off a whole packet of cookies, it may be time to eliminate them from your living space.
Processed foods can be highly addictive, so why torture yourself by keeping them within arms’ reach?”
Clear the kitchen space immediately after cooking
Simply, if food isn’t left out, you’ll be much less likely to go back for seconds.
Don’t use food to change your mood
Emotional eating, says Lily, never resolves the underlying issue and leads to guilt and shame.
“Always have a list of non-food related self-soothing activities to hand. By having a relaxing bath, taking a walk or watching your favourite programme, you can lift your mood in a natural and healthy way,” she comments.
Do you have any tips for cutting out binge eating? Share them in the Comments section below.