Do you ever find yourself finishing your plate and realizing you are not hungry anymore, but you continue to eat? Many of us have an emotional and mental relationship with food. When we are in a bad mood or sad, we continue to pick at the plate even though we are completely full.
Others of us have been on diet after diet and have forgotten how to enjoy food, and then how to stop when we are finished. We need to remember that feeling of satisfaction and then how to let food go.
The first step is realizing that you are eating too much. Many people deny that they are overeating and some just do not even realize it. So how do you come to know that you are overindulging? For one week, write down everything that you put in your mouth. From the breakfast you start with to the tiny bites you grab of your son’s candy. At the end of the day it all adds up.
The second thing you need to do in this challenge is to really taste the food you are eating. When you write down what you eat, also write down how it tasted when you started and tasted when you finished.
Lastly, look at your environment. Write down your surroundings. Are you out to dinner with your friends, are you watching your favorite show, or are you eating in the car on the way to work? All of these factors add up into figuring out why you’re not stopping when you are full.
The Proof is in the Pudding
A study done by Cornell Food Lab tested a group of Americans from Chicago and a group of French to answer the question, “How do you know when your are through eating dinner?” The responses were fascinating.
The group of Parisians said they were finished when the food no longer tasted good to them or if they knew they wanted dessert, they would stop eating early. Food to them was about being with friends and not the food alone. On the other hand, the Americans said that they knew they were finished when the plate was clean, the TV show was over, or when everyone else around them was finished.
When the study was finished they determined that main reason people kept eating was external cues and not listening to their body to see when they were satisfied. Our society tends to focus on large portions and we look to others to know how much to eat.
For example, if a skinny friend is eating a hamburger and fries, we tend to think we can eat that as well. In reality, we all have different metabolisms and we are wired differently to know when our stomachs are full. Have the hamburger, but only eat half or a quarter. We need to stop reading books or listening to others to tell us exactly how much to eat or what to eat, we need to listen to ourselves.
How To Make A Change
Let’s go back to the first step. You have been completely honest for a week and have written down exactly what you ate, your surroundings, and how it made you feel. Now you need to read it. Find anything interesting? Look for correlations and learn from them. Now you can avoid situations of overeating.
Make A List
Now I want you to make a list of your favorite activities. They can be anything from biking, working out, shopping or reading, but make a list. The list should have about 10 to 15 activities on it. When something is bothering you, or you are sad, bored, or experiencing any extreme emotion, go to this list and engage in an activity. Get out of the house and away from the refrigerator. This is going to help you break the habit of turning to food.
Use Smaller Plates
You need to retrain yourself to eat the proper portion sizes. Use your smaller salad plates and soup bowls (as opposed to dinner plates and pasta bowls). Drink lots of water with your meals. Please ditch the soda, it really is not worth it. Put whatever you are having on the small plate and eat at the table.
Do not bring the food to the table. Mentally get out of the kitchen. Enjoy each bite and put the fork down between bites. Think about what you are eating and stop when you are satisfied or when it just does not taste as good anymore.
Do Not Deprive Yourself
The worst thing you can do is to have a forbidden food list, as it will have the reverse effect sooner or later. Our society has become so obsessed with food that we need to break that obsession and realize it purpose.
Food is for fuel, whether we like it or not. Eat what you feel your body needs but in moderation. For example, I love peanut butter, absolutely love it. I eat a small amount every day. This is so I do not overindulge in it. My craving is satisfied and I walk away.
It took some time and effort to break the old mindset. But before you go overboard on something, remember how it makes you feel later. Is it really worth that stomachache? Is it such a bad food choice that you cannot have a little taste every day?
Be Able To Pronounce All The Ingredients
This is so very important. A lot of the food we eat is overly processed and has horrible fillers in it. The problem with these is that our body does not recognize them. Your body is not sure if it is full because it is not sure what you are eating.
Always try to eat things that are out of the ground, from a farm, or you could make yourself. It might take a little more effort but I promise you will start to really understand flavor and your body will be able to tell you when you are full.
I hear it over and over again, that some people are just not breakfast eaters. Well you are, you just do not know it yet. Start eating something small every day. Sooner or later you will start to wake up hungry and start eating less at night.
Breakfast is the key to everything; energy, mood, focus, and overall health. It does not have to be large and it can be anything you prefer, but please have breakfast. My husband eats a turkey sandwich since he despises breakfast food, but he eats breakfast.
This is your chance to stand up for yourself and make a difference in your lifestyle. Learn that it is okay to be full and not finish your plate; the food will still be there tomorrow. American culture is obsessed with the overwhelming abundance of food available to us, but you can break that cycle.
Remember what makes you happy away from food. Shut the refrigerator door and do something else. If you implement these tips, you should see a change in your appetite and, in time, your physique!