It’s no secret that obesity is a growing problem among United States, and I (along with many others) would agree that over-eating is at the top of the list for causes of obesity.
According to the CDC, 40% of American adults and 19% of American children (ages 2-19 years old) are obese (Data & Statistics, 2016).
The bad news is, high calorie food and drinks aren’t going anywhere.
The good news is, there are ways you can minimize these calories to help keep you from over-eating and obtain/maintain a healthier body fat percentage.
Here are five strategies that I use every-day to help keep me from over-eating:
1) Use Seasonings and Zero/Low Calorie Dressings
Your typical “healthy” food can be bland and boring, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Adding spices like cumin, garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning, etc. to your meats and hot-dishes (not casserole, hot-dish) can transform a tasteless dinner into a flavorful entrée. You can also try pre-made seasonings like the low sodium options from Mrs. Dash.
For dressings, picking low calorie/fat free versions of ranch, Italian, etc. can cut quite the chunk out of your caloric intake.
2) Drink Water/Zero Calorie Drinks Between Meals
Often times when you feel hungry, you’re actually just thirsty – especially if you’ve just recently eaten a meal. Don’t believe me? Try drinking a FULL glass of water next time you’re hungry, wait 5-10 minutes, and you’ll likely find you weren’t “starving” like you thought you were.
By ensuring you’re drinking enough water (at least half of your body weight in ounces per day i.e. a 150 lb person should drink at LEAST 75 ounces per day), you’ll see a noticeable difference in your appetite, your energy levels, and even your skin (bonus!)
If you absolutely despise water (which, do you reallllyyy because your body is literally made up of mostly water so…), try adding flavor like lemons, watermelon, cucumbers, or zero calorie mix-ins like Crystal Light.
Another one of my go-tos is Powerade Zero (the blue kind, always).
3) Eat When You’re Not Hungry
This may seem contradictory to the above, but hear me out.
I don’t mean eat whatever you want whenever you want, hungry or not – I mean set a schedule for your meals and snacks.
This was a GAME CHANGER for me. Getting on a regular eating schedule (for me, that means eating every 2-3 hours) significantly reduces the chance for over-eating because you never really allow yourself to get hungry.
Fitting in a few healthy snacks between meals can make a world of difference in your ability to stay on track with your eating. Some of my go-tos are:
- Apples with a Greek Yogurt/Peanut Butter/Honey/Cinnamon Dip (try it, trust me)
- Dill Pickle Trisquit Crackers and Cottage Cheese
- Veggies and Hummus
- Flavored Almonds (salted caramel is delicious!)
4) Keep Healthy Meals and Snacks on Hand
This one goes hand in hand with the above: the more convenient healthy food is, the more likely you are to choose that over junk.
Open your pantry, what do you see? Chips, crackers, cereal, cookies, easy-mac (is that still a thing?), and other high-calorie, low nutrition foods. What about in your freezer? Pizza, hot pockets, French fries, ice cream, etc. Fridge? My guess is soda, alcohol, full-fat dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt), hot-dogs, processed sandwich meat, full calorie salad dressings, etc.
Though there is certainly a time and place for the above foods (especially if you’re a parent because nothing babysits the children like some crackers and a movie), there are healthier alternatives and other options that SHOULD be in your house that are just as easy to grab on-the-go.
Here are some ideas:
Chips/Cereal -> Oatmeal, popcorn, protein bars/shakes, nuts Soda/Alcohol -> Sparkling/Flavored Water Candy/Crackers -> Fruit/Veggies Full Fat Dairy/Ice Cream -> String Cheese, Greek Yogurt Processed Sandwich Meat -> Tuna packets, Beef Jerky *these are still high in sodium, but with more protein and generally less fat*
5) Portion Control
Have you ever heard the saying “out of sight, out of mind”? That’s rhetorical, of course you have. Portion control isn’t a new topic, but it’s just as important as ever.
Instead of eating your food directly from the pan, bowl, or bag, portion out your food and put the extra away BEFORE you start eating. Doing this will allow you to fill up your plate or bowl with your favorite appetizers/ entrées without completely breaking your calorie bank before you even realize what happened (because you can’t tell me you’ve never sat down on the couch with a bag of chips and reached for another handful only to find the bag is empty… one thousand empty calories later).
For example: this bag of Boom Chicka Pop has 980 calories with 56 grams of fat, 126 grams of carbs, and 7 grams of protein. Do you know how easy it would be for me to sit and smash this entire bag in one sitting? Pretty goddamn easy, that’s the answer.
So instead, I take one cup for a total of: 70 calores, 4 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbs, and .5 grams of protein, and I put the bag away. I still get my treat and I take the security measure of making sure I don’t snack mindlessly.
Minimize mindless snacking by putting extra food away – out of sight, out of mind.
If you’re SERIOUS about wanting to reach your fitness goals and cleaning up your nutrition, follow these tips and I promise they will make a world of difference. You don’t have to eat everything in sight in one sitting – the food will still be there tomorrow, I promise (unless again, you’re a parent with gremlins who raid your fridge and cabinets on the regular – in that case, hide your food).
What are some of your best tips to help with overeating? Leave your comments below!
Till’ Next Time,