Do you find yourself struggling with overeating or mindless snacking? You are not alone. Over 70 percent of American adults are now overweight and nearly 40 percent are obese. Much of this weight gain above normal weight is due to overeating and eating “empty calorie” food. You don’t have to be part of these statistics. You can protect your waistline with the help of some simple yet effective strategies.
The Way to Happiness: Nutrient-Dense Foods
Nutrient-dense whole foods, especially fruits, veggies, and legumes, are your nutritional friends and waistline harmonizers. They are packed with naturally occurring antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They nourish you from the inside and out, instead of packing on unwanted pounds with empty calories. Put your foot down and just say “no” to refined carbohydrates (such as white flour bread and cookies), refined oils (especially soy bean oil), sugary drinks, artificial ingredients, processed food, and outright junk food (think: greasy fries). Instead, fill up on anti-inflammatory, waistline-friendly, nutrient-dense foods, including a whole range of foods such as greens, vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices, mushrooms, fruits, nuts and seeds, and wild-caught fish.
Healthy Fats For a Healthy Body
Forget about low-fat fad diets. Healthy fats are good for you. They fill you up, fuel your body, reduce your cravings, and reduce the urge to overeat. Healthy fats you will love include avocados, coconuts, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, olives, and extra-virgin olive oil.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Did you know that stress can contribute to weight gain? When you feel stressed, your cortisol levels can rise too high which makes your body hold on to fat, especially around your belly. When you feel stressed, you may be more likely to crave unhealthy foods, junky snacks, and simply overeat by habit. To manage stress better, consider meditation, yoga, breathwork, regular exercise, journaling, and time in nature.
The Art of Eating Mindfully
Have you noticed that you mindlessly reach for food when you are feeling bored, watching a movie, stuck in traffic, feel unmotivated, or stressed? We call this mindlessly eating. Mindful eating is the opposite of emotional or mindless eating. The first step is to become aware of what you are feeling emotionally.
Help your inner self to get in touch with your feelings of hunger, your deeper emotions, and your body’s hunger cues. Develop a sense of being present when you are eating. Silently check in with yourself before you reach for a snack to see if you are truly hungry. Take time to sit down when you eat. Chew your food well. Take a moment between bites to reflect. Listen to your body to see if you feel satisfied. If you do feel satisfied, do not let yourself continue to eat.
Intermittent Fasting: An Awesome Concept
Intermittent fasting is a tremendously valuable way of eating that cycles between a period of fasting and another period of eating within the same day. It is a great way to prevent overeating and for many, guarantees loss of unwanted weight. For example, one time window that you could choose may be 8 hours. This means that you may eat only during these continuous 8 hours per day. You might choose an eating time window of 10 am to 6 pm (for a total of 8 hours). Or you could choose an eating time window of 8 am to 4 pm. This means that after 4 pm, you would stop eating any solid food until the next day.
Because the body’s digestive system as well as the whole GI tract is able to rest and heal for much longer periods of time (when no food is allowed), many people have had amazing gains in their physical, mental, and energy levels. Be sure to load up on nutrient-dense foods and meet your caloric needs during your eating window.
Your Personal Food Journal
Keeping a personal food journal can be a great comfort and self-reflection guide. It is a helpful tool not only to track your daily meals and calories, but to help uncover your triggers for mindless eating, “junk food” snacking, and overeating. With the help of your food journal, this feedback can help you slowly change your habits and keep your progress on track. The key is to note the foods at every meal and snacks you eat.
Try these simple and effective strategies to free yourself from overeating and mindless, emotional eating. You'll love the fact that you can start losing weight, regain your energy, and reclaim your life, one healthy step at a time.