Too m u c h OF A GOOD THING


The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - Nutrition -

We have all done it at one time or an­other, and it hap­pens for a range of dif­fer­ent rea­sons: overeat­ing. Bore­dom, too much good food, an in­abil­ity to clearly de­fine and iden­tify hunger, or just be­cause the food was there are some of the rea­sons we do it. Done oc­ca­sion­ally, it’s not such an is­sue. But for those of us who overeat reg­u­larly, and gain weight as a re­sult, it may be time to take a closer look at why we’re do­ing it.

Eat­ing too much is easy be­cause the body lets it hap­pen. Hunger is a strong sen­sa­tion. If full­ness was any­where near as strong per­haps fewer of us would have is­sues about reg­u­lat­ing the vol­ume of food that we eat.

If it’s been some time since you man­aged to stop eat­ing at the right time, it may be time to get back in touch with your body’s nat­u­ral sig­nals. Try serv­ing your­self much smaller por­tions, even half of your reg­u­lar meal if you have to, and eat as slowly as pos­si­ble. Try end­ing the meal a mouth­ful or two be­fore you usu­ally would, to re­mind your­self what “com­fort­ably full” feels like. This will take time (weeks, even months), but is an im­por­tant process to work through to re­mind your­self of the body’s nat­u­ral hunger and sati­ety ( full­ness) sig­nals. The most im­por­tant thing to do if you or other fam­ily mem­bers are prone to overeat­ing is to limit the type and vol­ume of food in the home. My clients are al­ways shocked to hear that if food is kept in the home, they will eat it.

Nu­mer­ous stud­ies by be­havioural eat­ing re­searcher Brian Wan­sick have shown that the more food we have around, and the more of it we can see, the more of it we will eat. So for­get the idea of hav­ing a lolly jar on your desk that you only raid in emer­gen­cies, or a packet of bis­cuits in the cup­board that you only open if guests visit. If it is there, you will eat it.

The fi­nal strat­egy is to com­pen­sate when you do overindulge. A day of sim­ple salad and soups and some ex­tra ex­er­cise will not only help you feel bet­ter when you have overeaten, but it will teach you to bal­ance your in­take with your out­put on a daily ba­sis.

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