Food can be an addiction as strong as any drug. This particular addiction is legal.
It is even encouraged by thousands of advertisements on every possible method of communication from billboards to live streaming. The results are often devastating and, in the long run, can be lethal.
You love to eat. You love to eat all the foods that you shouldn't: the ones with lots of fats, sugars, the ones that are deep-fried. Ever tried deep-fried Snickers? Don't.
So what can you do to break this horrible habit and get your eating under control?
Here are some ideas.
When you eat, do nothing else
- If you watch TV or work through lunch, you have relinquished your control over the amount you eat. You're just not paying attention.
- Multiple scientific studies have demonstrated that if you are aware of what you are eating, you will eat less than when you are distracted.
Avoid your 'trigger' foods
- When you start eating ice cream, do you have a lot of trouble stopping?
- Ice cream is a 'trigger' food. It sets off your desire to have more - lots more.
- The best way to avoid this problem is to avoid the food altogether. Don't buy it. Don't bring it home.
Don't ban all your favorites
- One sure way to put your diet on the rocks is to deprive yourself of the foods you love and crave.
- Give yourself a treat at times.
- Find alternatives to your 'trigger' foods. Whatever is both a healthy alternative and satisfying is the perfect snack.
Don't eat out of the bag
- Avoid eating from the container - from the bag of potato chips, from the can, from the box.
- Using the container itself does not establish limits. Plate the chips or ice cream in a bowl. That's your limit.
- Otherwise, the only limit is the container.
- When food enters the stomach, hormones are released that tell your brain to feel full.
- But it takes about twenty minutes for that to work.
- So eat slowly and give your brain time to catch up with the eating.
Stop halfway through your meal for an intermission
- A pause gives your brain time to gauge whether you're still hungry or not.
- The pause also helps to let your brain catch up and put out the "I'm satisfied" signal.
Eat a snack before your meal
- A small number of high fiber foods, such as carrots, celery, or raw broccoli, eaten before your meal will help you feel fuller and cut down on the amount you eat during the meal.
What about boredom? Do you eat when you're bored? You find yourself with nothing to do and then you find yourself looking into the refrigerator. Here's how to thwart that impulse to eat every time your life feels dull and uninteresting.
Make a list of projects that need to be done at home, at work. You can lose yourself for hours in a project.
- Write down anything from washing the walls to washing the dogs.
- What needs to be organized in your home? Try the junk drawer or the closets.
- The attic or the storage room or wherever you keep your memories will hold your attention.
Drink a glass of water
- Fill yourself up a little bit and hydrate while doing so.
Call a friend
- You don't have to set up a sponsor for your Food Anonymous program. That, however, isn't a bad idea.
- Just call someone: your brother or sister, your best friend, that guy you met last week, your mom.
Walk the dog
Take your dog for a walk, even if it's only for ten minutes. You'll spend some time thinking and your brain will be busy when you get back. And your dog will love you.
Stress is a major component of the causes of overeating. Studies done on humans link binge eating and stress closely. So you need to handle your stress better. Stress is part of the human condition. It happens to everyone and there are ways to help your mind manage it.
- Exercise, walk, run, lift weights, whatever you can. The effort you put into the exercise takes away the stress. Try it.
- Decrease the amount of coffee, tea, soda, or whatever contains caffeine that you swallow.
- Take a class in yoga. The practice of yoga really does lower your stress levels.
- Play with your kids, your pets.
Try some or all of these tips. You'll find yourself feeling better and not eating as much.