It can be hard to tell if you’re overeating. We might find ourselves eating according to predetermined meal times, or at events where everyone eats, so it would feel weird to hold back.
Or we eat when we know it may be a while before we get a chance to eat again. Then there are the many meals we find ourselves eating away from home, so it’s hard to know exactly how intensely these meals we’re enjoying.
However, the reality is that if you gain weight, you end up eating more calories more often, or even in smaller increments on a daily basis.
So, if you are not sure what exactly is increasing your intake, here are some of the main signs or reasons why you may be eating a lot more often, and what you can do to change the habit.
You never feel hungry
Hunger is the physiological signal we need to refuel. It can be felt as a gurgling in the stomach, a general feeling of emptiness or even a sense of physical discomfort or emotional agitation.
While being overly hungry isn’t ideal, getting to the point where you feel really hungry before eating is a key component of long-term weight control.
“Never eat a snack or meal if you don’t have any physical sign of hunger.”
On a daily basis, many of us overdo it a bit at mealtimes so that we never really feel hungry and thus stay slightly overcharged with calories. Over time, this is where kilos creep in.
Solution: Waiting at least three to four hours between meals, or waiting to eat until you’re actually hungry, is a simple but powerful step to help control everyday overeating.
You are following a strict meal plan or diet
Meal plans and diet programs can be powerful tools to help guide food choices and keep calories and macronutrients on track. But when a plan is followed religiously, it can overlook daily differences in calorie production and requirements, encouraging the consumption of food when it is not necessarily needed.
Here, extra snacks or larger amounts can be prescribed and then eaten regardless of hunger or appetite, which basically means we end up eating extra calories we don’t need.
Solution: Use your meal plan as a rough guide but never snack or meal if you don’t have any physical sign of hunger.
You never wake up hungry
It’s common for busy people to eat light food during the day and then overcompensate at night with a larger meal, snacks, and alcohol, all of which contribute to a large number of daily calories.
This excessive consumption in the second half of the day may mean that we are still processing that food eight or 10 hours later, but we may still reach for coffee and refuel again the next morning when we can easily live a few more hours without eating.
Solution: If you routinely eat late at night, make a concerted effort to keep your meals small to help ensure that your fuel stores are depleted in the morning and you notice hunger within an hour or two of waking up.
Eat regularly until you feel uncomfortable
There’s nothing wrong with overdoing things a little on special occasions and needing to unbuckle a bit. But if you’ve been eating regularly to the point of feeling extremely full, it’s time to cut back. Over time, frequent overeating will mean that you are able to physically tolerate larger amounts of food, which will also enable you to overeat.
Solution: Practice stopping to take a bite or two away from being too full to afford digestive relief as well as calorie balance.
You gain weight
We can be quick to blame lack of exercise as a major cause of weight gain, but in the end if you’re gaining weight, you’re eating way too many calories for the amount of activity you’re doing.
You can always increase your physical activity to stop gaining weight, but you may also find cutting back on treats and alcohol, and also lightening your meals with low-calorie foods, will also help to cut calories a bit to stop gaining weight.
Solution: Consider when during the day you might be eating more than you need and find ways to ease up on your meals, especially at night. Eating more vegetables and salad instead of calorie-dense foods such as meat, pasta, rice, candy and alcohol will also support the calorie deficit and stop weight gain.
author Susie Burrell He is a leading Australian registered dietitian and nutritionist, and founder formalco-host Feeding sofa Podcast and a prominent media speaker, with regular appearances in both print and television media to comment on all areas of diet, weight loss, and nutrition.
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The coffee order with the most calories was detected