O – Overcoming overeating
We all do it. That extra helping of chocolate covered strawberries, the generous helping of cheesecake, the super sized bag of movie popcorn… (Oh Cineplex, you monster!) When it comes to food, we always somehow, bite off more than we intended to chew. The reasons are varied and more often than not, valid reasons – stress eating, comfort eating, waste avoidance and sometimes, because well, it’s delicious! There are other people at the other end of the spectrum, who simply forget to eat; be it due to busy schedules or far too much caffeine (guilty cough). Both issues are equally bad for the health, so we’ve compiled a list of ways to combat them.
Disclaimer: We are yet to find a way to combat the fact that food is delicious, but we assure you, we have a team of experts working tirelessly on the case.
This type of eating, as the name indicates, occurs during times of intense stress. Personally, I have found that it happens when you feel things spiralling out of control, it’s almost like you’re trying to calm yourself by doing something you CAN control. Stress eating thinking usually goes something like this: “This _____ I’m working on is going up in flames, and I’m losing my mind, I need some _______ to calm my nerves.”, before you realise it, you’ve made a bag of Hershey’s drops disappear and the scale never lets you forget it. On the other end, are the coffee/cigarette users who end up not eating at all because all that caffeine/nicotine suppresses their appetite. 24 hours and several coffees later, the stomach is furiously inquiring who you think you are by way of indiscreet growls.
Comfort eating happens when you’re trying to feel good about yourself. Usually after some devastating blow to your self esteem, you find yourself in sweats, a ponytail and getting extra friendly with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. It can also happen when something in your life is making you quite miserable, a job, a situation, a relationship; you just eat to comfort yourself. Phrases like “Kinder Bueno for the pain” reference comfort eating. You’re literally trying to eat your pain away.
This happens when you eat, not to nourish yourself but to stay thin. You cut out certain classes of food (goodbye carbs!), skip meals and obsess over calories. Everything is scrutinised thoroughly or generally avoided. When you stumble and eat a whole box of pizza, you spend the next few years berating yourself for it. Vanity eating is the worst kind of eating because you’re too busy obsessing over the inches you’re sure you’ll gain from anything you eat, to actually enjoy the meal.
Most women fall into one (sometimes two) of the above categories of eating. Below are some helpful tips to help you eat better
1. Eat slowly. Stop when you’re full.
This seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it? You would be surprised how many of us don’t adhere to it. In this fast paced world of go go go, eating is done at warp speed and more often than not, while on the go. Feeding oneself should be a sacred act. Take a moment, stop. Sit through your meal, chew your food (at a measured, dignified pace) and when you feel satisfied, drop the utensils and call it a day (even if the food is only halfway done) Don’t force it all down because you don’t want to waste food, that does no good. Eating slowly also gives you time to savour the meal as well as allows your stomach and brain to be in sync while you eat. Your brain should signal when you’re full, not your stomach. If you have to feel the pain or discomfort in your belly to know you’re full, you’re overdoing it. Eat slowly, food is delicious, if you wolf it all down, you’ll never know just how delicious it is!
2. Eat everything…in small portions.
Yes, you read right, eat everything. Every class of food serves a purpose, cutting a certain class out deprives your body of nutrients that class of food can provide. It’s not what you eat that’s the issue, it’s how much you eat. Weight Watchers has built a weight loss empire on this simple premise. Don’t deny yourself food, (again, we reiterate, food is delicious! Why would you?) eat it all but eat in small portions. Eat a doughnut, have a slice of pizza, have a helping of mashed potatoes, the keyword here being “a”, singular helping. If your choices are small, medium or large, medium is always a safe bet. If the medium is just a large in disguise, pick a small. Your brain can always tell if it’s a lot of food, if it looks like too much, it most likely is.
3. Drink (hot) tea.
I learned this from a very dear friend, who was so steeped in everything Asian. She taught me the beautiful habit of tea drinking. Tea is one of nature’s greatest preservers (look how well preserved Asians are!), it aids digestion, is full of antioxidants and is great at burning off excess fat. Also, it works overtime by hydrating you while doing all this. Green, white and oolong tea are the top three for well, everything. Read more about tea here:
Now, to get the most out of tea, you must drink it hot and you must drink it black. There is really no way around it. Tea untainted with milk and sugar is the way nature intended it and must be consumed so. It is an acquired taste, but so is alcohol (wine really is vile, if you think about it) but you get used to it over time. Drink tea with your meals, drink tea instead of coffee, drink tea to hydrate yourself, drink tea every chance you get. Your complexion, skin clarity and most importantly your waistline, will love you for it.
4. Do not skip meals (especially not breakfast)
Diets are bad. There, I said it. Diets are terrible because they encourage you to starve yourself and that is never a good idea. Why would you deprive yourself of food to lose weight? That’s like filling your car with a half tank of gas to reduce the air in the tires (What? That makes no sense! Precisely). Diets are usually a quick fix, you’re trying to lose weight fast and they most often end up doing the opposite – you lose three pounds and gain ten. I will tell you now, there is no healthy way to lose weight fast. Weight loss can either be healthy and long lasting, or it can be fast and fickle. Never starve yourself by way of a diet, the only thing it does, is make you binge eat when you’re done. Don’t do it. Food is delicious, please eat it. Weight loss/management will be a post on its own and by weight loss, I mean losing weight for health reasons not for vanity. You are not a number on the scale darling, you are a person. Love yourself whatever weight you are (as long as it’s healthy!), we certainly love you.
In conclusion, your body is a state of the art jet, fuel it accordingly. Never starve, eat everything (in small portions), eat it slowly and make tea a habit. You owe it to yourself. Till next post, stay fantastic!
PS: I made it through this entire post and didn’t make one bad pun. How tasteful of me!