Appetite Control & Overeating
- Are you always hungry?
- Do you find yourself finishing your allotted macros for the day and still wanting more food?
- Are you stress eating?
- What is appetite control?
- How do we know exactly how much is enough and what crosses the boundary of overeating?
The things mentioned above can sometimes lead to over-eating and can involve irregular appetite control.
What is an appetite? Appetite is simply your desire to eat food. "It’s controlled by a complicated interaction of hormonal signals that originate from fat cells, cells of the pancreas and cells in the gut. These signals are also processed through cognitive and emotional filters"(Andrews).
Controlling your appetite is extremely important because under or over-eating can cause problems such as malnourishment, obesity, and development of reproductive problems and/or diseases. Having control over your appetite will allow you to either fail or succeed at fat loss, or whatever your goal may be.
Are you always hungry?
Take a look at what you are eating throughout the day and the quality of that food. If you are eating things that are calorically dense, high glycemic, and not very filling, this is just a no-brainer that it will probably leave you a little unsatisfied right after you eat it. Are you under-eating and over-exercising? If that's the case, you might actually be hungry.. but that's an issue to be discussed another time.
Do you eat really fast or are you distracted while eating?
It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Eating fast causes improper digestion, gives you gas, causes bloating and other GI distress. Taking your time and eating slower gives your brain time to tell you that you are feeling full. This will make you not want to eat more than you should because you don't still feel hungry from eating so fast.
How long do you go between meals?
Do you eat a somewhat small breakfast and then go all day without eating so that you can eat more at night? That itself is a problem, but it is also a reason that you could be overeating. Going that long without eating, especially if you're training in the middle of the day, will end up leaving you ravenous at the end of the day wanting to eat EVERYTHING in the kitchen.
Are you a stress eater?
Stress eating is very common in today's society. If you had a long day at work and something didn't go right, maybe eating something sugary helps you feel better in the moment. You may eat to soothe any emotion whether it be anger, sadness, boredom, anxiousness, etc. The problem with stress eating or emotional eating is that it can lead to overeating way past fullness. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly, craves specific "comfort" foods, leads to mindless eating, and can lead to guilt, shame, or regret. Those words should never be associated with food! If you find yourself stressed, emotional, or anxious, find something that can occupy your mind and expend energy other than going into the kitchen. Go on a walk, get a coloring book (it helps, I swear lol), read a book, etc. Nothing good has/will ever come out of emotional eating, so identify your triggers and be prepared to face them. At the end of the day, if you have a stress problem and it causes you to overeat or even binge, now you have two problems.. and the cycle continues.
What is the importance of knowing exactly how much to eat?
"If we don't eat the right amount for our needs, our bodies will try to self regulate to maintain homeostasis" (Andrews). Under-eating might cause potential binging because your body is not getting the nutrients it needs on a daily basis. Over-eating might cause a response in our bodies to keep eating more because of the satisfaction we receive from it. Listening to body signals and biofeedback is important for knowing how much to eat. Examples of biofeedback include but aren't limited to hunger signals, sleep, energy levels, shakiness, irritability, or even sex drive. Your body is extremely smart and will always fight to maintain homeostasis. If you do something that your body does not agree with, you'll know because of the biofeedback that you will experience.
Under or over-eating can cause your body to respond in certain ways and as I mentioned above, this is called biofeedback. Some of these responses are:
- Low or nervous energy
- Food cravings even when physically full
- Mentally sluggish
- Heavy gut
- Extreme thirst
**the list above retrieved from reference below**
This photo is kind of an exaggeration but it makes a solid point. ;-)
Things to take away from this post:
- If you don't meet your actual physical hunger needs, the satisfaction won't be met.
- If you don't know whether you're hungry or just bored, you're probably not hungry.
- Hunger is something physical that your body will give you signals to identify.
- Over-eating is not physical, it is emotional.
- If you stress eat, then your actual needs are never actually met. Find out what triggers your emotional eating, and work on fixing that. I promise you that food will not make work less stressful.
Andrews, Ryan. "All about Appetite Regulation, Part 1." Precision Nutrition. N.p., 15 Oct. 2015. Web. 14 May 2017.
Andrews, Ryan. "All about Appetite Regulation." Precision Nutrition. N.p., 13 Sept. 2016. Web. 14 May 2017.
"Emotional Eating vs. Mindful Eating." Emotional Eating vs. Mindful Eating: How to Stop Stress Eating and Satisfy Your Needs with Mindfulness. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2017.