The folks at HEALTH/CNN say they know what causes us to overeat and what we can do to stop it. First of all, if you overeat, think about what triggered your overindulgence so you can do better next time.
You’re not getting enough sleep
Missing out on your triggers a constellation of actual metabolic changes that may lead to weight gain.
How to get control:
When we’re exhausted, we hunger for just about everything in sight, especially if it’s sugary or high in carbs. That may be because these foods give us both an energy boost and comfort. Reach for a combination of complex carbs and protein.
You’re sabotaged by stress
Constant stress causes your body to pump out high doses of hormones, like cortisol, that over time can boost your appetite and lead you to overeat. Fat cells also produce cortisol, so if you’re overweight and stressed, you’re getting a double-whammy in terms of exposure.
Cortisol, together with insulin, also causes your body to store more visceral fat, which is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
How to get control:
Yoga, meditation, and deep-breathing exercises are powerful tools that keep tension in check.
Exercise will also do the trick.
You’ve got fatty foods (literally) on the brain
We’re hardwired to hunger for fatty, sugary, salty foods because, back when our ancestors were foraging for every meal, palatable eats meant extra energy and a leg-up on survival.
So it’s not just a lack of willpower that’s tripping you up, but rather your outdated survival mode. In fact, when you eat fat-rich foods, your brain not only gets a signal that your body is satisfied but also forms long-term memories of the experience, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. What once helped early humans survive is now giving us ever-expanding waistlines.
Adding to the challenge to control overeating, the mere sight of food can cue up a craving. “[Cravings] are based on past learning and memories as well as the sight or smell of food, time of day, or location,” Kessler says. “You’ll walk down the street and start thinking about chocolate-covered pretzels because you’ve had them before on the same street.”
Avoid eating your favorite treat if you’re in a particular mood, if it’s a certain time of day, or if you’re in a specific place; this will prevent you from creating a triggering link between those feelings or locations and that treat.
Also, pay attention to what you’re thinking when temptation strikes.
You Pigged Out — Now What?
• Forgive yourself. “Having one overindulgent meal should not derail you from your healthful eating habits, while being too negative will make you more likely to throw up your hands in despair and overindulge at the next meal or several meals for days to come,” Elisa Zied, R.D., says.
• Give yourself a do-over. Immediately start with lean protein, veggies, whole grains, and fruit, and drink plenty of water, Zied suggests.
• Learn from it. Think about what triggered your overindulgence–not to punish yourself, but to choose smarter next time. “If you keep a food journal, you might see you ended up pigging out because you waited too long to eat,” Keri Gans, R.D., says.
• Add on exercise. To feel in control again, simply tack on a few extra minutes to your regular walk, gym routine, etc. At the same time, “try not to think of exercise as a punishment for overindulging,” Zied says. If you do, you’ll grow to dread the gy
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