It’s Saturday night and you’re chilling in front of the tv after an action-packed day. Suddenly, the sweet tooth strikes. Instead of cracking open the ice cream, you decide to treat yourself to a bowl of sugar-free sweets, which in no time, turns into two bowls, then three. Before you know it, they‘re all gone and you‘re left with nothing but regret. Sound familiar? We‘re all guilty of overeating at times, and despite our desire to be healthier, sometimes we tend to eat even more than usual. But why? Is it all down to hunger? Here are 6 weird reasons behind your tendency to overeat.
Plates – you are what you eat on
Might sound a bit strange, but give this a thought: Different studies have shown that people who eat from smaller plates tend to eat less than those who use larger dishes. Another “plate factor” which might be a reason for your overeating is its color: If the food and the color of the plate are the same, people tend to overeat. The reason for this is that there‘s not enough color contrast between the two, which tricks our perception of the portion size. Reducing the size of your dinner plates and choosing the color wisely to reduce the amount you consume might be a lifehack that’s worth trying. Let your plate control your portion!
Snacks – out of sight, out of mind
Most people are not aware of how they trigger cravings without even noticing. An example of this is having snacks in clear view. If you put a bowl with chocolate on the kitchen counter and you pass by every now and then, you will automatically trigger chocolate cravings. But it also works the other way around. Just substitute the chocolate for fruits and you can automatically increase the amount of fruits you eat per day. #Winning.
TV commercials – skip the craving cue
You‘re probably wondering what your TV has to do with weight loss. Actually, there’s one thing that can support you with your weight loss goal: skipping the commercials. Why? Because commercials often show the most delicious foods, that do a great job of convincing us we‘re hungry – even when we‘re not. Also, if you’re used to nipping to the kitchen for a quick biscuit every time there’s a break in your favorite TV show, it starts to become a bad habit. Be smart and skip the commercial.
Eating when distracted – stay focused
Ever heard of the “mindful” eating concept? It‘s actually really important for weight-loss, because it counteracts another reason why many people overeat: being distracted. Studies have shown that people who, for example, eat in front of the TV, tend to overeat. They grab their favorite snacks and end up being totally wrapped up in watching their favorite series, that they don‘t notice how much they are eating. Being mindful while you eat can save you a lot of calories. Focus on every bite, eat slowly and chew thoroughly.
The post-workout binge – be realistic about your energy expenditure
Let’s be honest, who hasn’t pictured the most delicious snack waiting for them after an intense workout? Or used the phrase “you’ve earned it”, to justify a post-workout overindulgence? We‘ve all used exercise as an excuse to binge-eat at one time or another and we end up consuming more calories than we’ve actually burned. Eating after a workout is perfectly okay, and even encouraged, but you should always try to be realistic about your energy expenditure. Find out how many calories you burn on average, and then try to match your post-workout snack accordingly. It should refill your energy levels, not undo your hard work.
Using artificial sweeteners – don’t believe everything you read on a package
Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame and sucralose are synthetically produced food additives that taste sweet while having zero calories. Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is. Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners have a counterintuitive effect, and can actually cause people to gain weight. Consuming these sweeteners regularly, in diet coke for example, is far more likely to result in weight gain. This is because the brain naturally responds to sweetness with signals to eat even more, resulting in the consumption of excess calories. Instead, why not try natural sweeteners, like honey or maple syrup? Not only will they get the job done, but they also contain some vital nutrients and enzymes for an extra health kick.
Do you regularly fall victim to overeating? Tell us more about when and why? Or follow our tips and share your experiences.