I have been a registered dietitian for 30 years and keep up to date on recently published literature so rest assured, my suggestions are evidence-based! Let’s evaluate a common situation that individuals encounter.
“I can’t stop eating….I’m always eating.“
To really unpack this, we have to look at the interplay between nutrition, self-care and coping with emotions. In the interest of brevity, I will start with nutrition. Cliff hanger, my next two blogs will look at self-care and coping with emotions, respectively.
First, keep your body nourished. This may seem counterintuitive if you are trying to lose weight but being too hungry causes you to always have “food on the brain”, which preloads you to cope with emotions using food. The Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less and Eat Smart, Move, Prevent Diabetes programs suggest that you plan for and bring snacks with you so that you avoid becoming overly hungry because being overly hungry often results in overeating.
- Are you eating three well-balanced meals containing a whole grain, protein, and fruit or vegetable?
- Do all of your meals contain some form of whole grain? If so, you may reduce your craving for chips or cookies in the afternoon or evening.
- Are your meals so small that they are really snacks? If so, you may end up being hungry every two hours or so and end up snacking all day.
- When you eat, how full are you? If you eat until you are satisfied or comfortably full, the meal will most likely sustain you for four hours or so. If you finish eating and still feel hungry, it’s no surprise that you’ll feel like eating again soon!
Curate a list of foods that satisfy you. Snacks containing fiber, protein, and healthy fats are recommended to provide satiety. Compare how satisfied you feel after eating the following:
- An apple vs. an apple and peanut butter
- A handful of raisins vs. a handful of almonds
- A smoothie vs. a turkey sandwich
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