How to curb over-in­dulging

Lesotho Times - - Health -

FOOD crav­ings and over-in­duld­ing hap­pen to the best of us. It may be as­so­ci­ated with a real phys­i­o­log­i­cal de­sire for some­thing sweet or salty, but over-in­dul­gence can also be driven by an emo­tion such as a feel­ing of sad­ness, anx­i­ety, bore­dom, ag­gra­va­tion, frus­tra­tion or tired­ness.

Skip­ping meals through­out the day can also be a cul­prit for over-in­dulging as it may make you seek a “pick me up” round midafter­noon or lead to in­ap­pro­pri­ate snack­ing. Of­ten the types of food typ­i­cally cho­sen are “con­ve­nient”, with a high fat and sugar con­tent and lack suf­fi­cient amounts of nu­tri­ents to sus­tain good health. Even when peo­ple have healthy food op­tions avail­able, such as fruits, the hardly choose those as foods to over-in­dulge on.

When over-in­dul­gence strikes, you may in­dis­crim­i­nately con­sume large amounts as if there is no to­mor­row.

Food is of­ten used as a “re­ward” as some be­lieve that at the end of a stress­ful day we de­serve some­thing “nice”.

What to con­sider What we need to ask our­selves is whether over-in­dulging ac­tu­ally changes our feel­ing or cir­cum­stance? Are you any less bored, frus­trated, stressed, ag­gra­vated, or sad? Do you feel any less lonely?

Dur­ing the over-in­dulging episode, food may ini­tially pro­vide some im­me­di­ate and short term grat­i­fi­ca­tion, but there­after most of us ex­pe­ri­ence feel­ings of guilt and dis­gust.

At the end of the day what is the “true role” food has to play in our daily lives? Food can have many mean­ings and def­i­ni­tions but in essence it refers to a ma­te­rial con­sist­ing es­sen­tially of pro­tein, car­bo­hy­drate, and fat used in the body to sus­tain vi­tal meta­bolic pro­cesses such as growth, re­pair, and pro­vid­ing energy to sus­tain daily ac­tiv­i­ties.

Hence our chal­lenge is to start re­gard­ing the food on our plate for its real pur­pose, and be grate­ful for the food to play its nour­ish­ing role and not for an emo­tional ful­fill­ing role. On the other hand, food not only has a phys­i­o­log­i­cal role to play but also so­cial mean­ing for us as hu­mans.

De­li­cious food is served al­most at all so­cial events like mar­riages, par­ties, meet­ings etc. On all these oc­ca­sions, food in­di­rectly serves as a pow­er­ful and ef­fec­tive in­stru­ment for de­vel­op­ing so­cial rap­port and take on the mean­ing of cel­e­bra­tion and hav­ing a good time.

In these in­stances en­joy the treats as it has mean­ing, but be mind­ful of what and how much you are eat­ing and drink­ing.

Ways to com­bat over-in­dulging: En­gage in reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity - it can be used as a dis­trac­tion and it also lift your mood. Find al­ter­na­tive ac­tiv­i­ties (dis­trac­tion tech­nique) that will lift your mood with­out re­sort­ing to the con­sump­tion of food e.g. go phone a friend or your mom, take your dog for a brisk walk, read a book, or en­gage in other pos­i­tive ac­tiv­i­ties such as Pi­lates or colour­ing in, paint­ing or knit­ting. If you eat due to tired­ness make your­self a drink e.g. a nice cup of tea or have a glass of wa­ter with le­mon, and take a break or rest. If pos­si­ble have a short nap, as sleep is most likely just what you need. Don’t skip meals — plan your meals and pack a cooler bag with lunch and snacks if nec­es­sary. This will pro­vide for struc­ture through­out the day and pre­vent those sugar lows that you can most likely ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing the late af­ter­noon. Limit sug­ary foods and treats at so­cial events by mak­ing sure you eat some­thing be­fore at­tend­ing a birth­day party for ex­am­ple. Ar­riv­ing hun­gry will likely re­sult in you eat­ing cake for lunch! Dish your food or treat on a plate, be mind­ful of what you are eat­ing, eat slow, savour each bite and avoid 2nd and 3rd help­ings. Stand or sit with your back to­wards the dish­ing-up area e.g. buf­fet ta­ble if pos­si­ble. Shop from a pre-planned list; and never shop when you are rav­ished with hunger. Avoid choos­ing the tempt­ing food along­side the queue, pick up a mag­a­zine in­stead.. Cre­ate a sup­port­ive and favourable healthy en­vi­ron­ment at home by keep­ing high fi­bre, lower sugar snacks on hand. Ex­am­ples in­clude por­tion con­trolled serv­ings of high fi­bre crack­ers with cot­tage cheese, slices of tomato and gherkins, an ap­ple cut into wedges and a hum­mus dip, straw­ber­ries with plain yo­ghurt. This is also good for the whole fam­ily as chil­dren also per­form and con­cen­trate bet­ter with op­ti­mal blood glu­cose reg­u­la­tion. A quote to re­mem­ber is one by Vir­ginia Woolf, “One can­not think well, love well, and sleep well, if one has not dined well.” — Health24

Be­ing mind­ful of your feel­ings could keep overindul­gence at bay.

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