Why do we overeat? How to manage the amount of food eaten? Calorie counting and tight restrictions – the only way to eat less? This was discussed at the webinar of Andrey Beloveshkin, a doctor, candidate of medical sciences, and a popularizer of a healthy lifestyle.
It was wow, how useful! Why do we overeat? Doctor’s Explanation and 3 Proven Ways to Eat Less.
Why is Overeating Dangerous?
The body knows how to adjust to malnutrition. At the level of physiology, he has adaptive reactions for this: a slowdown in metabolism, a change in fat burning, and a correction of behavior.
And at the same time, he does not know at all what to do with overeating – he does not have any restraining mechanisms for this. Therefore, excessive consumption of calories becomes the cause of “diseases of abundance.”
It’s not just about being overweight.
Why Do We Overeat
Overeating accelerates cellular aging in the body and increases the risk of many diseases. Moreover, the most dangerous fat is not the one that we see, but the one that is hidden from the eyes: in the liver, heart, intestinal loops.
It also increases the risk of diseases – diabetes, heart disease. It is no coincidence that the expression “skinny fat” exists. These are people who, when underweight, may have an excess of internal fat.
5 Reasons For Overeating
Let’s talk about hyperphagia – overeating. To do this, let’s figure out what triggers exist and what we can do with them. By eliminating the causes, we eliminate the cravings for excess food and the habit of overeating.
1. Stress Hyperphagia and Cravings For “Comfort Food”
Why is this mechanism so relevant? In today’s world, there is a lot of chronic stress, our life situations are becoming more complex and less predictable. And for the body under stress, there is one well-known solution – there is.
Somewhere at the cellular level, chronic stress is perceived as hunger. The logical answer to this situation is there is more.
And many other mechanisms are inherent in us at the level of genes. For example, why does sugar make us overeat? The fact is that most of the fruits ripened in the fall, and there was a lot of sugar in them.
To survive, a person learned to eat more sweets and turn them into fat. But now this craving is working against us. Why are we drawn to high-calorie foods? Yes, because the same pizza has a higher specific calorie density, that is, with less effort, you will get more calories. It used to be very important.
2. Sleep Deprivation and Circadian Hyperphagia
The next reason is circadian hyperphagia, overeating associated with disturbances in the circadian rhythm, lack of sleep, late bedtime, excess light in the evening. When your body’s internal clocks get lost, instead of relaxing and sleeping, you are on duty at the refrigerator.
The way out is daily synchronization: you need to adjust your day and night rhythms and pay attention to sleep, then you will eat less. Simple math: 1 hour of sleep deprivation is 250 extra calories that you eat the next day, 2 hours of lack of sleep is an extra 550 kilocalories that you eat the next day.
Controlling yourself is difficult because not getting enough sleep weakens willpower and increases impulsivity.
3. Hedonic Hyperphagia
Hedonistic means are pleasure-related. Why does this happen? If in general there are few pleasures in your life, you do not like your job, you have no hobbies (that is, you force yourself to do something all day), the body wants to please itself somehow.
Simple sources of dopamine come to mind first: alcohol, food, or maybe both. It’s important to come up with healthy ways to have fun, relieve stress, and get rewards. It is helpful to ask the question: what brings me joy besides food?
4. Endocrine Hyperphagia
This overeating is associated with endocrine disorders. This is less common than we think.
5. Mirror Hyperphagia
There is a psychological type of behavior called “careless eater”. This is the person who reproduces and copies how others eat. Everyone around him eats a lot – and he eats a lot, everyone around him began to lose weight – and he automatically loses weight.
Overeating is contagious indeed. Scientists have found that if your friends have gained a few pounds, you have an increased risk of gaining weight.
But the other thing is also true: if there are more thin friends around you, the likelihood of losing weight increases. This is due to the fact that we unconsciously copy the behavior habits of emotionally significant people.
3 Ways To Eat Less
How can you solve the calorie issue? We will talk about different methods. But no matter what it is about, the main thing is to reduce your calorie intake.
1. Use The Method of Proportions
Control proportions at ease. Try not to eat only cereals, avoid a lot of high-calorie foods, add more vegetables and greens. Simple changes like these can help you affect how much you eat and how many calories you eat. In the top left picture, rice takes up less space than on the right, and there is more broccoli there.
Try the inverted aspect method. For example, in the lower-left picture, you see pasta and excess high-calorie foods. And next to it – about the same, but with herbs and tomatoes. We turned everything upside down: made a hearty salad and added some pasta. The result is an inverted proportion.
If you are using a typical plate for yourself, you can divide it into zones and easily change the proportions between high-calorie and low-calorie foods. So you will automatically eat less, and visually the amount of food that you put out will practically not change.
What else might the aspect ratio look like? Place slightly fewer cheese sticks, slightly fewer bread slices on the plate. And the difference in calorific value will be one and a half times less.
2. Choose Whole Foods
You’ve probably heard nutritionists talk about the benefits of whole foods. But what is a whole product? It is a product that is not processed, crushed, naturally grown, and contains no additives.
In contrast to this, modern products are called ultra-processed, because they have undergone mechanical grinding, mixing, molding, and the addition of flavors.
They do not need to be disassembled, there is no need to take bones out of them, they can be automatically chewed and eaten even without the use of appliances.
Scientists conducted an experiment. At the same time, in terms of macronutrients, fiber, the amount of fat and sugar, and calories, they were absolutely the same. But people ate 500 more calories from processed foods. Why?
They were easier to eat – no need to chew, they automatically disintegrated in the mouth. From this point of view, a steak or a piece of cooked meat is better than a cutlet. Cereals are better than processed cereal flakes. And fish is better than fish sticks.
3. Reduce The Size of The Plates
We are strongly influenced by the food environment. Take plates for example. The larger their size, the smaller the food seems, and the stronger our desire to eat. If you don’t want to overeat, get some smaller dishes.
What matters is color and contrast. If we eat white spaghetti on a red plate, we eat less. The same is true for spaghetti with tomato paste on a white plate. And when there is no clear contrast, the brain does not understand where the food is, and we eat more.
A trifle, but it matters. We eat and drink less from heavier plates and glasses. Heavier cutlery also helps you eat less. Use this.
Also read: How to make your life greener