How did I stop overeating an entire pizza and stick to just one or two slices per sitting? More importantly, how did I lose more than 80 pounds without feeling like I was starving myself? Well, it involved quite a bit, but especially changing how I looked at food.
In reality, it was a combination of increasing physical activity and not eating nearly as much during meals. As simple as it sounds, weight loss can be isolated to one provable fact for most people: intake vs output.
Now, there’s a bit more to it than just counting calories and making sure you’re burning them off. But in the beginning, that’s probably the most important thing to keep in mind.
If you’re overeating and are not physical enough to burn off what you consume, it’s going to turn into fat…plain and simple.
What Can You Do to Stop Overeating?
There are a lot of tips and tricks to help just about anyone who wants to curb their intake. However, not all of them are going to work for every person or in every situation.
That’s because we are all unique and have varying degrees of difficulty. Nonetheless, I can tell you how I prevented overeating since I started my weight loss journey.
These methods still work to this day.
Understand Proper Portion Sizes
One of the biggest reasons why so many people overeat in the first place is because of a lack of understanding when it comes to proper portion sizes. For example, an entire row of Oreos is not a single serving. In fact, a 16 oz steak at your favorite restaurant isn’t a single serving, either. It’s actually closer to four.
Practicing proper portion control can help you greatly decrease the sheer volume you’re eating without too many restrictions.
For instance, I’ll still have two chocolate liquors from Anthon Berg to satisfy my sweet tooth while only costing me 140 calories. For me, this is nothing but a 15-minute walk around the backyard.
One of my favorite lunches is 5 ounces of grilled chicken breast and a serving of roasted potatoes. That comes up to 335 calories and roughly 20 carbs.
Yesterday, I had a 5 oz chicken breast and a serving of chicken parmesan ravioli. That only racked up 375 calories and was more food than I really needed at lunch.
Pay attention to the portion sizes of the foods you eat. Most foods have them clearly labeled, while others are easy to find on the Internet.
Monitor Intake vs Output
While keeping an eye on portion sizes is important, so is making sure you burn what you ate. As I said earlier, the basics of weight loss center around burning more than you consume.
It’s called being in a caloric deficit.
I do this by trying to stick with my Net 600 Calorie diet. But don’t let the name fool you. This diet plan requires you to get up and be active in order to eat more throughout the day.
For example, I went to the gym and played for 25 minutes on the Xbox Kinect yesterday. Throughout the entire day, I burned 3,842 calories because of how active I was plus the fact that we burn calories simply by being alive. And because I burned so much during my exercises, I was able to eat 2,228 calories.
The next morning, I was roughly half a pound lighter. Of course, the number of carbs and the quality of food you eat will also play a role in weight loss.
My point is that you need to keep active if you want to eat more food.
Include More Fiber in Your Diet
Fiber has been known to help stop a lot of people from overeating simply because it keeps them feeling satiated for longer. In other words, foods that are high in fiber make you feel fuller for longer.
This is one of the reasons why I like having bananas with my breakfast. I also like oatmeal, almonds, popcorn, and dark chocolate. In fact, you’ll always find at least four of these in my house at any given time.
Bananas don’t seem to last long considering that my daughter mows them down so quickly.
Since I get the almonds from Costco, I can buy huge bags of them and have snacks for a considerable amount of time. Well, that and dark chocolate everything I tend to buy as well.
Drink More Water
Perhaps one of the more prolific things that helped me stop overeating was drinking more water. I always have a 24-ounce bottle sitting next to me, and I fill it about three times per day. Not to mention the sheer volume of coffee I drink in the mornings.
Not only does water help with hunger pangs, but water also contributes to digestion. This means it’ll help you process foods much faster to spend less time in your body.
I find that having the water bottle next to me at night has curtailed a lot of my midnight snacking. For me, that alone saved about 1200 calories worth of junk food.
Luckily, I have a Primo water dispenser. So, I can have cold water at any time, or I can use the hot water from the unit to make Sleepytime tea at night. The dispenser has been an incredible investment, especially when you consider how nasty tap water can be, depending on where you live.
In any event, water is one of the primary elements of any diet. That’s because of how important it is to overall health and fitness.
Don’t Skip Mealtime
Skipping meals can have severe adverse effects. Not only does it throw your body out of balance, but it can also lead to overeating when you do have a meal.
I used to go without eating until dinner. Then, I would gorge like you wouldn’t believe because I felt so hungry.
Now, some people may be able to skip meals with no problem, such as one would do with fasting diets. Then there are those of us who overeat during those mealtimes, which defeats the purpose of fasting in the first place.
Something else you need to consider is how studies show that eating frequently decreases hunger and overall food intake. This means you’re less likely to overeat if you’re essentially having smaller meals throughout the day.
In my case, all three major meals are roughly 350 to 400 calories each. Then, I’ll often snack on smaller things throughout the day, such as a serving of chocolates, a nut and cheese tray, or something else that ranges around the 200-calorie mark.
Identify Your Triggers
So, we tackled a bit of the food aspect of overeating. What about identifying what triggers you to eat more throughout the day? And I’m talking more than just being hungry because it’s mealtime.
A lot of people have a problem with emotional eating, as eating food is often experienced as a comfort during certain moments. What are those moments that trigger you to eat?
In my case, I’m a stress eater. This means that I find “comfort” by binge eating while I’m under a lot of stress. And since I’ve been under an immense amount of stress since 2008, that’s how I grew to over 300 pounds in a relatively short time.
Nowadays, I try to find peaceful moments of zen to reduce the stress. I’ve dumped a few projects and have begun forcing myself to take regular breaks and time off.
Depression, stress, anxiety…these are all often associated with overeating. The hard part is dealing with your specific issues in a healthy manner.
Occupy Your Time
There is a reason why you’ll never see me eat during a live stream. In fact, even during Extra Life, I’ll have someone play my game while I eat a meal off-camera. Sure, I’ve had a snack here and there, but it’s not very often.
What is the point of this? Well, I can subdue the urge to snack by keeping myself occupied. If I just sit around and binge Netflix or Hulu, I’ll eat everything that’s not nailed down and a few things that are.
But if I’m streaming live, playing a game, putting together a puzzle, or otherwise occupying my time, I don’t even think about food.
Keeping my mind sidetracked has been among the most successful elements to help me stop overeating. Especially if I’m doing something I love, such as streaming live on Twitch or YouTube.
Find a hobby or an activity that consumes your mind. Focus on it and snack less.
Tally Your “Food” Budget
Want to really give yourself the motivation to stop overeating? Add up all of the stuff you’ve eaten over the past week.
At one point, my food budget was much greater than if I were to buy the most expensive health foods on the market. Sure, a lot of those snacks and such are cheap from Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, or Walmart. But the sheer volume adds up.
Consider this; instead of an $8 pizza lasting you one meal, it can be broken up into four. This is having two slices for lunches and dinners, which averages around 440 calories in total.
So, that would make the pizza $2 per meal instead of the original $8 in one sitting.
In fact, most of the meals I eat nowadays cost less than $2 each to prepare. That’s one of the reasons why I started my Progresso Soup diet. Back then, it was only $1.59 per can.
Soon, I’ll show you how to make your own frozen dinners that are far superior to anything Lean Cuisine can provide.
Seek Professional Help
Lastly, and probably one of the most important, seek professional help if you’re having trouble curbing your eating or have issues with your health. A lot of our eating habits are actually symptoms of mental problems that a good therapist can help solve.
Or, you could have some physiological problem that is preventing you from losing weight. And I’m not just talking about thyroid issues, either.
Cushing’s disease, menopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome, edema, diabetes, and even some medications can cause you to pack on the pounds. So if all else fails, make sure you get checked out by your physician.
There could be something under the skin that may contribute to a slew of health problems including weight gain.
Can You Stop Overeating Overnight?
Is it possible to instantly stop yourself from overeating? For some of us, yes. However, a lot of people have to essentially train their minds and stomach to not feel hungry all the time.
This could take some time.
Of course, this depends on a wide scope of factors. Everything from your actual weight to your genetic makeup will affect how long it’ll take you to train yourself to quit eating so much.
For me, I started slowly with a simple, 2000-calorie diet while increasing how many steps I walked in a day. All I did was record everything I ate in MyFitnessPal and started walking more.
One of the benefits of MyFitnessPal is that you’ll see, in real numbers, how much food you’re eating. When I entered my regular Taco Bell order for the first time, I damn near shit myself.
We’re talking more calories than most people have in a day, let alone a single meal. When you have quantifiable information like that, it can make a huge difference in your motivation.
So, don’t be discouraged if you can’t immediately stop overeating. It may take you a bit of time to find your groove and break some bad eating habits.
As long as you make some kind of positive progress each day, you’ll eventually get to where you can control your eating as second nature.
What Are You Doing to Stop Overeating?
Although there are a lot of physical things that can cause you to gain weight, the majority of us simply have to cut down our intake. Since there are so many practical benefits of weight loss, I can’t understand why some people refuse the science.
In any case, overeating is a habit. And like any other habit, you can break it to form something more positive. It really comes down to how serious you are about losing weight and living a healthier life.
What have you tried to stop yourself from overeating?