So the big day is not too far away now. I know I’m guilty of saying “it’s come round way too fast this year” but damn, it’s come round quick. Christmas is one of my most favourite times of the year but it doesn’t come without its challenges.
With the copious amounts of alcohol, food, snacks etc, it can be a nightmare for those of us who struggle to keep the amount of food we eat, balanced. Before I started on my health journey, Christmas used to be a time where I would get my myself into a right tizz, stressing about all the weight I would put on. Instead, I should have just tried to have more self-control and owned my own issue of gorging. However, that’s a lot easier said than done.
In my dedication to change my lifestyle, food habits were a big thing for me and especially managing my behaviours with food. I learnt quickly what I needed to do to avoid overeating and I want to share them with you.
Self-control is a struggle for many people, especially when it comes to food. I know I struggle myself.
Although breaking the cycle of overeating can be challenging, there are ways to kick this unhealthy habit for good. Take a look at my tips and let me know yours in the comments below.
Keep your most difficult foods out of the home
Understanding the foods that cause you the most trouble and are the hardest to reduce should be your first focus point. For example, the chocolate bar always sitting in your cupboard ready for your 9pm TV chill time. To break this cycle, avoid keeping this in your cupboards. Instead, replace it with some healthy alternatives, so that you can still have your late night treat.
Don’t deprive yourself from a treat
That being said, removing all of your favorite foods is NOT a good idea. The purpose of this is not to punishing yourself but to create new behaviours. Removing or depriving yourself from foods can cause you to binge.
Instead, focus on a healthy and balanced diet that allows you to have a treat once in a while.
Avoid eating straight from the packet
Eating out of the packet is one of the quickest ways to feel terrible about yourself, take it from someone who knows. Whether it was a movie night or a quick snack before dinner… if I was given a packet of crisps, didn’t matter the size, I would demolish it!
Everything in moderation is a moto I now live by. Where appropriate, I still treat myself, however instead of just eating crisps out of a packet or putting a chocolate share box out, I instead, portion it into a dish. This is not only great for my waistline but also my purse.
Limit your stress
Stress is a catalyst for so much. From cardiac arrest, to autoimmune conditions, to overeating. STRESS.IS.A.NIGHTMARE.
For someone who suffers from chronic stress, it will drive up your cortisol levels, a hormone that increases appetite. Studies have shown that being stressed can lead to overeating, increased hunger, binge eating and weight gain.
My advice to you is to look for the stressful triggers in your life and understand ways to reduce them. There are lots of things you can do to minimise stress including yoga, exercise, gardening, listening to music etc.
Practice mindful eating
What is mindful eating? Well, mindful eating is simply, taking a moment to appriciate what you have and in the context of food, it’s to enjoy the smells, taste and texture of the food you’re eating.
Many studies have shown that mindful eating is an effective way to reduce binge eating behaviors, overeating and emotional eating.
Eating more slowly, taking smaller bites, chewing thoroughly, being aware of your senses and appreciating your food are all simple mindfulness practices you can incorporate into your daily routine.
Eat regular meals
When attempting to loose weight, many people cut out meals, inevitably fasting themselves. Whilst fasting is really good for you, for those who are looking to create a new relationship with food and develop new behaviours, fasting is probably not the best thing to start with as this can cause some to binge eat when the opportunity for food arises.
Eating healthy, whole foods, regularly throughout the day can help fuel you for longer and avoid the need to overeat.
Keep a food journal
Self-monitoring your food patterns can also help in your mission to avoid overeating. When I first started on my health journey, I set up my instagram account, which inevitably kept me on the straight and narrow. I couldn’t hide from my what I was eating as I had to post it for the world. And, whilst the intention was not to use my Instragram account for that purpose, it became a way for me to document my habits and take accountabilty for my actions. This was probably the most powerful thing I did as it really did open my eyes to what I could acheive with determination and motivation.
Fill up on protein
You’ll never hear me say you have to stick to x amount of calories. I don’t believe that. When I was losing weight, I wasn’t following a calorie focused diet. I was instead eating wholesome foods and managing my intake. I removed gluten, dairy and processed foods from my diet and instead replaced them with healthy and wholesome options. My plates are normally filled with protein, whether that be chicken, salmon, red meat, eggs etc. Protein is a great souce of fuel for the body and will keep you fuller for longer.
If your reason for overeating is due to being unplanned and so a takeaway is the only option, remove the trigger and plan ahead. For the first 12 months of my health journey, I planned every meal from what I would drink to what I could snack on. This meant that I never had anything in my fridge that shouldnt be there and that I was always prepared if ever hunger struck. I could also avoid that urge to order take-out.
Eat healthy fats
Finally, swap out all fats for healthy fats. I literally love avocados. I smile whenever i’m including them in my meal.
Several studies have shown that adults who consume high-fat, low-carb diets are less hungry three to four hours after meals and lose more weight over time than people who consume diets high in carbs and low in fat.
Adding healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butters and olive oil to your diet may help you feel more satisfied after meals and reduce overeating.
Through all this, try and keep your goals in mind. These are what should be driving you to succeed and motivate you each day to stick to your plan.
There are many people out there that struggle with overeating. Fortunately, there are ways to manage this and to not let it control you.
For example, try adding more protein to your meals, implementing mindful eating techniques and reducing your stress levels. There’s support out there if you need it too. For example, Healthcare professionals like psychologists, doctors or registered dietitians can provide counseling and guidance to help you get back on track.
Overeating can be a hard habit to break, but you can do it. Use these tips to help yourself establish a new, healthy routine.