Over the next several weeks and months, some of us ( or potentially all of us) may end up in quarantine as a result of the corona virus. Unfortunately, being cooped up in your home for 2 weeks may force you to develop cravings for your favorite cheat meals a bit more than you'd like.
Let's turn the clock back a bit. Remember as a kid you’d sneak over to the cookie jar when your mom wasn’t looking and keep digging your hand in for as long as you could before you heard her walking in your direction? That’s how most people are with food these days without even knowing it. Overeating is one of the largest contributors to becoming overweight and eventually causes obesity if not controlled. So, how can we fix the issue of overeating so we don’t fall victim to all the negative health consequences that can follow?
In this article, I want to touch on some common errors people make and how to fix them, especially now that we may find ourselves tempted to overeat as we stay at home more often to ride out the corona virus.
1. Eating out of the packaging
Have you ever grabbed a bag of chips, popcorn, or fill this example in with your favorite snack food that comes in a package, and sat down on the couch to watch a little television at night? Sure, we all have. And I’m willing to bet when you do this, you end up looking into the packaging and you quickly get that deer in headlights look in shock with how much you ate without realizing it. You’re not alone.
The last thing you want to do is eat directly out of any packaging. You’ll lose count, stop paying attention, get distracted, and that food will become either a comfort food for you or something you pick at to break up the boredom you may be facing.
The best way to solve this issue is to portion out how much you want to eat (according to the serving size) in a bowl or on a plate and then go put the package back in the refrigerator or pantry.
2. Not understanding portion control
It’s hard to understand how much of something you should be eating without tracking your calories and getting a visual on what quantity equates to a certain volume on your plate or bowl. While I would strongly suggest you track your calories if you truly want to lose weight, you can “eyeball it” somewhat.
The problem many people face is when they start piling food on their plate without knowing how many calories they are truly consuming. This leads to overeating and when done consistently can pack on the pounds quite quickly. There is a better way to plan a meal without tracking and it deals with “portioning” various macronutrients to align with your goals.
How this can be accomplished and reduce the risk of overeating is by first splitting your plate in half. On one side I want you to fill the plate with healthy vegetables. Vegetables tend to be lower in calories (assuming they are smothered in oil or butter) and are extremely micronutrient dense. Next, with the second half of the plate, I want you to split that half into halves. So now you are left with two more sections to be filled on your plate. In one of those sections (or both if you wish), I want you to fill it with a healthy protein source. The final section of your plate is your freebie. Maybe it’s a dinner roll? Maybe it’s a “not so healthy” carb or fat source? Whatever you want. But the idea is to only take a little bit – enough to subside the craving to have the item.
3. Telling yourself you’ll get back on your diet tomorrow
I hear people say this all the time. What ends up happening is they make this excuse so they can binge on all the foods they are craving. What would normally be a “cheat meal” ends up being an entire cheat day. A normal 1,800 daily caloric intake is now a 4,000 daily caloric intake due to overeating and it messes up their entire week and slows their weight loss progress (or even causes them to gain weight at the end of the week).
If you’re truly committed to following a nutrition plan and moving towards your weight loss goal, you can’t be overeating in excess like mentioned above. A cheat meal once a week is a good strategy so long as it isn’t overboard, but thinking you can eat whatever you want and then jump right back on the horse tomorrow is rarely ever the case.
Most people end up feeling defeated following a bad binge and they throw their hands up in the air like a white flag in defeat. Don’t let that happen to you. Manage what you consume on a daily basis, especially during those times where you are fitting in a cheat meal.
4. Eating the entire meal when you really don't have to
I’m not here to be the fun police and tell you to lock yourself in your house every night. It’s nice to go out and enjoy a dinner with your spouse, significant other, or friends/family from time to time. The downfall of that comes in the form of overeating wherever you go. The temptation of appetizers, delicious dinners, and succulent desserts are enough to send you into carb overload.
The fact is, most people (you’re not alone) are overeating at restaurants. And it’s only partially your fault. Yes, you are the one eating your meal, but the portions of meals you order when at a restaurant are much larger than they need to be. Essentially, they are double what you should be eating. There’s a simple fix for this, though, which will prevent you from overeating. That fix? A to-go box.
Yes, it’s that simple. As I mentioned, you end up overeating due to being given what is quite frankly, a double serving of everything. The advantage of this is that the $18 meal you just purchased is now two $9 meals since you can split everything in half and put half of your meal in your to-go box to take home with you for another meal.