A common complaint I hear from my clients is that they are addicted to certain foods, or that they find themselves hungry shortly after a meal, or that they binge eat at night. There are many causes for food addictions and over eating. Poor digestion, for instance will inhibit nutrient uptake to your cells, leaving you nutrient deficient and craving more food for nourishment, or sugary treats for energy. Stress and hormonal imbalances, avoiding certain life issues, not listening to your intuition or living in the past can also have a huge impact on what you eat and when.
Chronic dieting is a major issue in overeating and food addictions. Dieting puts your body in starvation mode. Once you are finished your “diet”, your body betrays you and makes you want to binge on food to make up for the lack of nourishment and stress that chronic dieting puts your body through. True sustainable weight loss comes from focusing on nourishing the body, not restricting it. When your body is healed of imbalances and illness, it will naturally return to a weight that is natural for you and your body.
Blood Sugar Imbalances is a major cause of poor mood, energy and cognition, and also can cause overeating in the evening and cravings for sugar. So, how do we keep our blood sugar stable? It all starts with breakfast. Breakfast literally means “breaking the fast” You need to refuel your body within 30-60 minutes of waking up. This will start your body’s engine, boost your metabolism and help to rebalance your blood sugar. I know some of you are time crunched in the morning or cannot stomach the idea of eating a big meal first thing in the morning. If that is the case try a simple morning smoothie containing protein powder, a non dairy milk such as soy, almond or cashew, a handful of greens, a banana and some frozen fruit. I also like to add hemp or chia seed, or a super greens powder for extra energy and nourishment. Bee pollen and Maca also make it regularly into my smoothies as they are highly nourishing, energizing and help to reduce stress.
Another way to keep your eating under control is to stick to a regular eating schedule, and to not go more than three to four hours between meals. Letting your blood sugar dip too low will cause a frenzy of overeating whatever is available to eat, good or bad, when you finally do eat. Healthy snaking between meals will help to keep cravings for “junk” foods at bay and to keep you from overeating at lunch and dinner. Some healthy snacks include a handful of nuts, an apple with natural nut butter, veggies or crackers with hummus, popcorn, a greens smoothie, salt and pepper roasted chickpeas, or homemade energy or protein bars.
Optimizing digestion is important for overall health and for avoiding overeating. Make sure that you are not overly stressed or emotional when eating. Your body can not deal with stress and handle digestion at the same time. Your body will always deal with stress first, shutting off your digestive system to conserve energy and utilize all your body’s resource to deal with threats whether real or perceived . Taking a few deep breaths before your first bite of food, lighting a candle or listening to relaxing music will help. Also, it is important to aid our digestion and take off digestive stress from your body by chewing your food more. Aim for chewing food at least 25-40 times until it is paste like with no lumpy bits.
Staying nourished with the right types of food is also important. Avoid white rice, breads and pastas and go for whole wheat instead. Include healthy fats such Omga 3 from hemp, chia and walnuts, avacadoes and coconut to your diet. High quality proteins are also key. Quinoa, nut, seeds, legumes, beans and tofu make great sources. Also, make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day.