Overeating Tips for When You Like Eating a Lot… But I Mean a Lot
I remember when I attended my aunt’s wedding and I was a bridesmaid. It was such a fun day. I remember it well. I was 14 years old; my sister and I had beautiful, dark purple dresses on; and we even did a hip-hop dance routine, which we performed in front of all the wedding guests. We chose “The Way I Are,” by Timbaland and Keri Hilson because it was “our song” at the time and we listened to it a lot with my aunt.
I felt relaxed and carefree that day, and for a moment, I forgot that portion control was even a thing and dished up a big plate of food when it was time for dinner. There was a buffet, and I was excited. What can I say? For me, a buffet is never a good idea. I sat down, and right at that moment, a guy walked past me, looked at my plate, and asked: “Is that your plate?” He then followed with “that’s huge” as he was laughing and started walking away.
I wished I had a time machine and could go back and dish up less food. My joy turned to shame, and even though I still ate all the food on my plate and some wedding cake, I felt really bad doing it. It’s been more than ten years since then, but that moment is very hard to forget. For most of my life, I was embarrassed about how much food I can consume when I allow myself to eat how much I really want to.
Overeating is something I’ve done all my life and have been trying to manage since I was ten years old. Before then, I just ate freely and did not have the self-awareness to know that what I was doing was making me gain fat.
Now that I’m older, I know that there is nothing wrong with eating a lot in terms of food volume or with not having a low enough body fat percentage to be on the cover of a fitness magazine. I cannot easily get rid of my urges to eat a lot, but I have control over what I choose to eat.
I’m a full-blown food addict, but that’s okay. I’ve stayed at a healthy size and body fat percentage for years, even though I typically binge or overeat a few times a week, but that’s because I’ve managed to balance out the overeating by adopting an otherwise healthy lifestyle.
I tried to stop overeating completely for years but then decided to try a different approach. Instead of fighting against my food addiction, I was going to work with it and allow myself to eat as much as I wanted and what I wanted, but while still improving my health.
I’m lucky in the sense that my addiction is not to junk food, but just to food, and I mostly overeat or binge on healthy food anyway. As long as there is something available to eat, I’m happy. And so, I started experimenting even more with healthy recipes, as well as food volume. It worked!
Now, instead of thinking of it as overeating, which can have a negative connotation, I’m trying to think of it as nutrient loading (or overloading) when I’ve eaten healthy food, just to reduce some of the guilt and shame associated with overeating.
There is no binge or indulgence session so bad that you cannot bounce back from it. Here are a few things that you can do to bounce back after you really went off your healthy eating plan or to counteract some of the effects while you are busy nutrient loading or afterwards:
You can go on a low-carb diet for a few days after your cheat or binge day to balance out the excess carbohydrates and get your body to return back to normal. If you already follow a low-carb diet, then just carry on. Maybe you are a low-carb binge eater like me? Who needs carbs when you have sugar-free ice cream made with cream or coconut cream in the freezer?
Drinking a glass of water before and while eating can help to start filling up your stomach, so that there will be less space for food.
Make low-calorie desserts. Egg whites, fruit, cacao, dark chocolate, and yoghurt are your friends when trying to make low-calorie desserts. You can make all kinds of fruity desserts, meringue, chocolate mousse, etc.
Wait for a bit longer after eating if you have consumed far too many calories and/or glucose, so that your body has more time to digest and absorb the nutrients, as well as burn some of the excess glucose. If I seriously overeat at night, I will sometimes just do a longer fast afterwards, and fast for 16 or 18 hours and have my first meal a little later the next day.
I also recommend going for a walk if possible, later on, as it can aid with digestion, and help you feel more comfortable sooner.
Try to relax. It’s easy to go into panic mode when you have eaten way too much, but stressing will just cause your liver to produce even more glucose, so it’s important to try and stay as calm as you possibly can.
When your cortisol levels are high, then your liver starts to make glucose to fuel you for when you are running from a lion or fighting something. I know what you are thinking… traitor!
Here you are trying not to consume too much sugar or perhaps you have already had too much sugar and now your body is just making its own. It makes sense though because if you really have to run for your life, the extra glucose will be helpful.
Staying calm will also improve your digestion, as the body moves blood away from the digestive system and uses less energy for digesting food when you are in the fight or flight state. This is because your body would rather use your energy and blood supply to help you either fight or run away from the danger.
Are you an overeater?
What could you do to feel more satisfied at mealtimes while becoming healthier? Do you have some guilt or shame around your eating habits that you can start to let go of? Remember, whatever your eating habits are, there is usually a way to make it healthier.