Most of us have felt that familiar feeling of overeating. We go from feeling “starved” to sort of blacking out as we shove food into our mouths and then roughly 20 minutes later feel “too full” and uncomfortable.
Why does this happen to us and so often? Well, there are three reasons, really”
The first reason and you’ve probably heard this one before (though ignored it maybe once or twice?) is that it takes time for your brain to receive the signal from your stomach that you have eaten enough. This is why eating slowly is very helpful.
The second reason we tend to eat too much is simple – food tastes delicious! We don’t pay attention to whether or not we have “had enough” because we’re too busy loving how our food tastes. This is especially true when eating sweets. Have you ever taken just a few bites of brownie or ice cream and then said I’ve had enough? No, because we crave sweet foods and eat them as if our life depended on it.
And the third reason is that as humans, it seems being full is a sensation that is wired into our DNA. Our ancestors, who lived a feast and famine kind of life, ate as much as they could when food was around, so they could live off the fat when food wasn’t around. This is how the human race survived.
Of course, with a Popeye’s and Burger King on most corners of America and grocery stores open 24/7, most of us have little famine to worry about! Though our modern world has changed, our wiring hasn’t – we still eat until FULL.
But it’s important to be able to listen to your body so you can distinguish between being satisfied – or satiated – and full. So how do you tell these two sensations apart?
In order to distinguish you’ll have to start being a mindful eater, which means you will really need to pay attention to your food more. Taste and smell your food, chew thoroughly and recognize how it makes you feel. When you are mindful, you tend to eat more slowly, and this will help you recognize when you cross the line from hungry to satiated.
So being satiated really means not being hungry any longer. You’ve had just enough to satisfy your hunger pains.
Being full, on the other hand, is an uncomfortable physical feeling in your stomach. Being full means surreptitiously reaching under the table to loosen your pants.
So, here are some tips that will help you stop eating too much:
Only eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored.
Eat slowly and eat mindfully, paying attention to the sensations you are experiencing.
Also, portion your food appropriately – cutting it in half and saving the other half for lunch the next day.
Eat clean, healthy wholesome foods that won’t leave you feeling sluggish and “off” after a meal.
If you follow these tips you will find you have much more control over how much you eat. And this means you won’t have to wear elastic waistband pants to dinner anymore or lie down soon after a meal to sleep off the pain.