“You decided to eat healthy and lose weight, and you started by making a meal plan for the whole week. But when it comes time for lunch, lunch or dinner, you start to feel insatiable hunger and cravings set in. Mainly, this is the point where most of your healthy eating plans went out the window. You become disappointed and frustrated with yourself and are ready to give up on your weight loss plans. You feel you don’t have enough willpower and you won’t be able to achieve your goals.’
We’ve all been there and it’s okay to feel frustrated and discouraged. However, the most important thing to remember is not to give up. One of the main ways to keep moving towards your goals is to compile a tool list and build your toolbox to help you avoid overeating and also get all the essential nutrients and also get all the essential nutrients.
Below are some of the most common reasons we see people who tend to overeat and some tips to combat the behavior:
1. lack of protein
Optimal protein intake is very important for your overall health and well-being. Protein can boost your metabolism, decrease your appetite, support healthy blood sugar balance, and induce thermogenesis.
Research has shown that eating 25% of your diet in protein leads to increased satiety, decreased nighttime eating, and less obsessive thoughts about food. Furthermore, another study showed that women who consume the ideal protein intake with each meal lose an average of 12 pounds in 12 weeks. When you don’t get enough protein at every meal, you’re more likely to overeat and crave unhealthy foods.
Here are some great sources of protein based on animals, seafood, and vegetables:
|Protein||portion size||grams of protein|
|Duck||1 cup cooked||27g|
|Pork loin||4 ounces||26g|
|Tuna fish||6 ounces||45g|
|sardines||3.8 ounces canned in oil||22.7 g|
|lentils||1 Tablespoon||12.3 g|
|Cottage cheese||1 cup||25g|
|black beans||½ cup of cooked beans||7-10g|
|Flax seeds||¼ cup||10.4 g|
|Cashew nut||¼ cup||10.3 g|
|Chickpea||1 Tablespoon||12.5 g|
two. lack of fiber
Fiber plays an essential role in your health. Try to eat lots of fiber-rich foods at each meal. Optimal fiber intake will help increase your satiety, aid digestion and absorption of nutrients, and slow the absorption of glucose. Fiber-rich foods help feed healthy gut bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids and boost immune system function.
Below are some foods that are high in fiber:
|Fiber||fiber service||grams of fiber|
|Poop||1 cup shredded coconut pulp||7.2 g|
|figs||a dried fig||9.8 g|
|Pear||medium sized pear||5g|
|Brussels sprouts||1 cup||4.1 g|
|acorn squash||1 cup||9g|
|lentils||1 cup cooked||15.6 g|
|lima beans||1 cup||7.6 g|
|Chickpea||1 cup canned||9.6 g|
|Flax seeds||2 tablespoons||4g|
3. chronic stress
Chronic stress can slow your metabolism and impair your digestion and nutrient absorption. Research studies show that chronic stress can increase your cravings for sugary, refined, and high-carbohydrate foods that affect your mesolimbic dopamine system, otherwise known as our reward pathway.
When you are chronically stressed, your hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis (HPA Axis) is continually activated, which leads to increased cortisol (stress hormone) causing increased food cravings. In addition, chronic stress can also lead to high blood sugar levels. So when you’re chronically stressed it’s common to crave overly processed foods, becoming a stress coping mechanism.
For this reason, it is important to have non-food-based stress coping mechanisms as this will help reduce cravings, balance hormones, and end overeating.
Some of the great ways to help reduce stress are:
- spending time in nature
- Spending time with your loved ones and friends
- tai chi
- Practicing Gratitude and Mindfulness
- Reading a book
- Take a relaxing bath with Epsom salts
All of these exercises and practices will help you decrease stress and increase your body’s ability to deal with stress better.
4. Sleep badly
Sleep is very important for our overall health and well-being. A fast-paced lifestyle and chronic stress can lead to poor sleep. The studying shows that chronic sleep deprivation can lead to increased insulin and cortisol, further contributing to overeating.
Have you ever noticed more irritability and cravings for sugary foods after a bad night’s sleep?
Your body becomes more sensitive to insulin during sleep. For example, just a single night of sleep deprivation causes a 40% reduction in your ability to handle glucose.
Also, when you don’t sleep well, your body produces more hunger hormones called ghrelin and decreases production of leptin, our satiety hormone. Leptin tells our brain when we need to stop eating and ghrelin increases our appetite. It’s no surprise that sleep deprivation can cause many negative changes to your delicate hormonal balance that further contribute to overeating.
In addition, sleep is important for the production of growth hormone. Growth hormone increases your lean body mass. It also helps to burn fat for fuel. Growth hormone improves bone mineral density and generally protects your body from aging.
This is yet another reason why we need to prioritize sleep to optimize our hormones and end the cycle of overeating.
A great place to start is to have a relaxing nighttime routine and avoid screen time, as blue light from your phone, TV, and other devices can disrupt your circadian rhythm and decrease melatonin production.
Alternatives could be reading a book, bathing with Epsom magnesium salt, meditating, spending time with your family, or journaling. Journaling is especially useful for writing down your thoughts, worries, or to-do list to help you reduce stress and anxiety.
5. Very strict with your diet
Eating healthy is very important and I applaud your desire to lose weight and keep it off. However, the biggest mistake I see clients make is engaging in overly restrictive diets, or often jumping from one extreme diet to another, and/or trying various weight loss pills in search of a magic cure.
You may even lose some weight, but being too restrictive with your diet often backfires in the long run as it is difficult to sustain in the long run. Often, overly restrictive diets can be maintained for a short period of time, but they can lead to unhealthy relationships with food, obsessive thinking, or chronic calorie tracking.
Restricting too many foods at once can lead to uncontrollable cravings for specific foods and, ultimately, overeating.
I encourage you to start making small, healthy changes daily and implementing healthier habits to prevent chronic restriction. With this, you will be able to lose weight and keep it off.
the bottom line
I always teach my clients to look at every meal as a way to nourish themselves. Ask yourself this question: Would this meal help me feel energized and get healthier? Our mindset is very important when it comes to healthy eating. If you have access, head to the local farmer’s market, try some new foods, have a healthy cooking party with your friends or family.
Overeating can be a very challenging habit and hard to break. If you struggle with overeating, consider working with a certified health coach or licensed therapist to help you overcome this habit.
Our health coaches will be happy to answer any questions and help you get started on your health and wellness journey.