If you are struggling to lose weight, it’s very likely that you are overeating. Your stomach holds about 4 liters of volume, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be filled capacity for you to be “full”. Feeling satisfied isn’t a result of food filling your stomach, but rather, your brain’s reaction to a chemical which is released into your bloodstream when you or eat or drink. That chemical typically takes about 20 minutes to register in the brain, so it’s easy to overeat and not notice the “stuffed” feeling until it’s too late. Being mindful of the amount you are eating can be tricky, but with these 8 helpful tips you should be able to control your appetite and stop eating more than your body needs!
8 Tips To Help You Know When You’re Full & Avoid Overeating
- Slow down and observe
If you eat slowly, you are more likely to receive that “full” signal in your brain before you go overboard. If you are eating a full meal in less than 20 minutes, you won’t know until afterwards when you already feel stuffed.
- Cook your own meals
Cooking your own meals allows you to control portions. Cook only what you plan on eating and nothing more to avoid going back for seconds and thirds.
- Fill one whole plate per meal
Our eyes tend to be more accurate than our stomachs when it comes to determining how much food is enough food, so it’s helpful to use visual cues to limit your intake. When you look at a whole plate of food, your brain says, “this should be enough”. When you finish the plate, you know how much you ate because you can picture what the plate looked like when it was full. If you are filling half a plate and then going back to refill it several times, you don’t have as accurate of an image in your mind of how much you ate.
- Shut off distractions when you snack
Snacking while watching TV, browsing the internet, or reading can lead to mindless overeating because these things distract your brain from knowing when it’s full. Rather than continuously snack while you do other activities, plan designated snack-times throughout the day.
- Predetermine snack portions
Rather than eating nuts straight out of the bag, pour out the amount you think you should be eating and put it in a ziplock bag. When you are eating by the handful, it’s impossible to know how much you’re actually consuming until you’ve finished the whole bag.
- Count calories
Pay attention to the amount of calories you’re eating. Your personal trainer, dietician, or regular physician can tell you based on your current weight and activity level how many calories you should be eating per day in order to lose weight. 400 calories worth of vegetables could fill your stomach to the brim, but 400 calories of cheese would leave you with a lot of extra room to overeat, so aim for nutrient-dense foods over calorie-dense foods.
- Drink water before meals
When you feel hungry, drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes to see how your stomach feels. You should notice the hunger subside; although you are not “full”, your body no longer feels the discomfort of hunger. By drinking a glass of water 10 minutes before you eat a meal, you not only take up space in your stomach, but you also turn off the feeling that makes you want to stuff your stomach as quickly as possible.
- Downsize plates, bowls, and cups
The amount of food on a “full-plate” is dependent on the size of the plate! This idea speaks again to the use of visual cues to help our brains know when enough is enough. When you look at a small portion on a large plate, your brain says, “this will not be enough,” even if it is. If you decrease the plate size to match the portion size, it serves as a visual cue letting your brain know that the amount should satisfy you simply because it is a full plate of food rather than a half plate.
With these tips, you can stop eating when you are satisfied and avoid overeating. If you’re ready to start losing weight and living a healthier life, contact Sault Fitness at 508.207.6608 for a consultation. We create personalized diet plans that cater to each client’s unique needs based on how they observe their body reacting to different foods. With a little help from us, you can find out what works for you to get the body you want!