How To Stop Overeating And Maximize Your Success With Keto
All of us are guilty of overeating sometimes. If it’s just an occasional thing, and we’re eating well the majority of the time, it’s probably not a big deal. But many people (yep, I was one) are chronic over eaters. We’re in the habit of “grazing” all day long, eating frequent snacks and/or small meals throughout the day.
If you’ve done this on a regular basis for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed a few changes such as weight gain, cravings, fatigue and maybe even feelings of depression. A lot of people are “emotional eaters”, turning to food for comfort whenever they feel worried, depressed, bored or anxious.
Have you ever heard (and maybe tried to follow) some of the popular advice for ways to eat less? Things like “use smaller plates” or “put your fork down between bites so you don’t eat so fast”? One of my personal favorites is “eat in front of a mirror so you become more aware of how much you’re eating”. So the idea here is I should feel guilty over every bite I put in my mouth until I feel so ashamed that I just stop?
Hmmm. Well, the last time I checked, shaming wasn’t considered to be a very effective behavior modification technique.
The problem is that none of these so-called “solutions” really addresses the underlying issue, and no amount of psychological trickery is going to help. What you need is a way to NOT BE SO HUNGRY!
Keto To The Rescue
The keto way of eating is ideal for eliminating the need to eat constantly.
We have several hormones are responsible for letting our body know when we’re hungry and when we’re full and satisfied. If those hormones are not at their proper levels, the signals they send to our brain are not going to be accurate.
So how exactly do we get them where they need to be?
Some Dos and Don’ts
Do These Things
DO stop eating and drinking all sugar. This includes not only sweets but also grains, (even the so-called healthy and/or organic ones), breads, cereals and pasta. Carbohydrates will convert into glucose (sugar) in your system. Glucose burns off very quickly, leaving you feeling tired, hungry and craving more. The only way to break away from this vicious roller coaster cycle is to stop participating in it!
Artificial sweeteners, besides being toxic and having lots of terrible side effects, also cause increased hunger. Please don’t make the mistake of including them in your diet.
To whatever extent possible in your home, get rid of foods that are not keto-friendly. If there are others in your household who still eat those kinds of things, you might at least put them all in one cabinet or area of the fridge so they’re not constantly in your face tempting you.
DO get enough Vitamin B1. Besides hormones, Vitamin B1 is also responsible for managing the “satiety centers” in our brain, and helps us manage feelings of stress, depression and anxiety. If you’re deficient in B1, you may struggle with those feelings and also have a hard time feeling full even after eating.
Emotional eaters often turn to sugary, high carb snacks to help them feel better. Ironically though, consuming sugar actually depletes vitamin B1, and so ultimately allows those unpleasant feelings to persist and even become worse. Again, sugar is creating a vicious cycle. Nutritional yeast is an excellent source for all the B vitamins.
DO manage stress. Stress raises our level of cortisol (the stress hormone), and cortisol in turn raises our insulin level, which makes us feel hungry. Snacking when you are under stress only exacerbates the problem of having excess insulin.
Cortisol also interferes with our ability to get a sufficient amount of sleep. This contributes to the urge to snack because we may be looking for some quick energy to get us through our day.
DO eat until you are full at mealtime. If you walk away from the table still feeling hungry, you’re a lot more likely to turn to a snack to get you through. Don’t worry so much about counting calories, because it doesn’t work. Starving yourself is not a sustainable way of life!
Healthy fats and sufficient protein are what’s needed to optimize your insulin level, and thus your other hormone levels, so that you will feel full longer after you eat. Fatty meats are especially good for this because they have high levels of both fat and protein.
If for some reason your liver and/or gallbladder are not producing enough bile, your body will be unable to properly digest dietary fats and therefore can’t absorb the nutrients they contain. If you’re not able to use what you’re taking in, it’s not going to help you feel full. People who have had their gallbladder removed may have a particularly hard time with this (though it’s certainly not exclusive to them). Taking bile salts after your meal can help resolve the problem.
What NOT To Do
Don’t eat between meals. Overeating is a habit, and sometimes old habits die hard. Continuing to eat between meals is only feeding into that (pun intended!). If you must have a keto-friendly treat of some kind, do so at the end of your meal so that once you’re done, you’re done. Eliminating between meal snacking is an important toward getting you on the road to great health!
Don’t leave meals to chance. Are you the type (again, this was me) who opens the fridge or freezer each afternoon and asks yourself “what’s for dinner?” If so you may be more likely to just grab something easy (but not necessarily keto-friendly), or to end up with a meal that isn’t providing you with enough of the nutrients you need.
A little advanced planning goes a long way. It makes grocery shopping faster and easier because you know exactly what and how much of each item you’ll need for the week. It also allows you to do some batch cooking, which will help minimize the work you have to put into some of your meals. For example, I’ll sometimes cook a couple of pounds of chicken all at once and then use it in meals throughout the week. I chop my veggies all at once and keep them in the fridge or freezer so I can quickly measure out what I need.
There are some free printable meal planning templates you can download here. Or if you prefer, there are also apps available for your phone or tablet. Just do a quick search to find one you like.
Another option – and this is what I do – is to use your macros tracker to plan out what you’re going to eat for the week (or two weeks or whatever works best for you). This way you can adjust the amount of the various foods you want to include so that you’re getting the right amount of fats, protein and carbs. Some of them even allow you to save your favorite recipes so that you don’t have to enter all the individual ingredients again the next time you make it.
Out With The Old …
New habits take a little time to become established, and the keto lifestyle is no exception. But if you focus on your goals and remember every day that you are making an enormously healthy choice for your health and your life, you will get there! One day at a time, one step at a time, you will get there. Be proud of yourself for taking this life-changing journey! You are amazing!
Keto on, friends!