How do I stop overeating? Aid your digestive system.

Author: ANCP   Date Posted:26 April 2016 

A lot of our life revolves around eating. Most of us eat three staple meals a day and some like to indulge in morning and afternoon tea as well as supper. Overeating is something that most of us to at some point during the day and the way we eat our food can significantly impact our digestion. Let’s look at how we can we can improve our digestion and eat correctly.

Listen to your body.

Learn to recognise when you feel hungry. Our culture tends to tell us you should eat at certain times during the day. Remember that you don’t have to eat by the clock and only eat when you are hungry. If you find you are hungry in between meals, have a small healthy snack as you don’t want to starve yourself then become ravenous and overeat at your next meal. Learn to recognise when you feel satisfied, this way you will be able to stop eating before you’re too full and have overeaten.

Sit down and take your time to eat.

Eat slowly and chew with purpose. Eating is meant to be a pleasurable experience, not something to get over and done with as quickly as possible. You should take at least 20 minutes to consume a meal. Put your cutlery down between mouthfuls as this will help to slow your eating. Really take the time to enjoy and savour your food.

Eating too quickly can also cause you to overeat. Taking longer to eat will make you feel as though you are eating more.

Chew your food thoroughly.

Did you know that digestion actually starts in the mouth? So chewing your food well can help improve digestion as the more you break down your food the easier it is to digest. It is very important to only eat while sitting down. You should aim to chew each mouthful 30 to 50 times. Lots of extra food is consumed on the run. Making a point to sit down while eating will help you think about how much you are eating, help you relax, enjoy your food and help you listen to your body.

Don’t eat in front of the TV, computer, while reading, driving or walking. Being distracted while eating can disrupt your digestion.

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Eat when calm.

It’s important not to drink during in meals as when we’re stressed our digestive function is less efficient. When we eat our stomach produces digestive enzymes to help digest the food we are eating. If we drink during the meal we are actually watering down these digestive juices so we don’t break down our food properly, which reduces our absorption of the nutrients in our meal. Try and drink 15 - 20 minutes before the meal or 30 - 60 minutes after the meal.

Don't over eat.

Did you know that that it can take up to 20 minutes for our brain to register the signal from the stomach that we are full? If we eat while distracted and don’t eat slowly, we don’t listen to our body and we can easily overeat. Overeating will lead to weight gain and additionally your body can only digest a certain amount of food in one sitting. Poorly digested food can cause bloating, wind and flatulence.

Ditch the junk!

Don’t buy junk food so you are not tempted to eat it. If you do have junk food in the house put it up out of reach or at the very back of the pantry. Out of sight, out of mind. Make healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables and nuts readily available by keeping them in the front of the fridge or pantry. Other handy tips:

  • Wait 10 minutes before snacking - Between meal snacks are usually impulsive acts. Waiting before eating them will often make you realise you aren't hungry after all.
  • Eat with your mouth - Belching and bloating may be indications that you are swallowing air when you eat.
  • Aid your digestion - Kick start your day with a warm glass of water with half a lemon squeezed into it. You can also take a digestive enzyme with your meals to help digest your food or even take ½ a teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a small amount of water just before you eat to help stimulate your digestive juices.