It’s interesting how many of my clients have reported struggling with overeating and sugar cravings, especially after dinner. Overeating  can lead to eating more calories than your body requires, leading to excess weight, low energy, feeling guilty and losing confidence. This then becomes a vicious cycle, you feel bad – you eat more! This article explains the possible triggers for overeating and tips on how to stop overeating.

Triggers for overeating

Stress – can be a major factor in overeating. When you’re stressed, you release cortisol, which increases appetitie and signals the body to shift metabolism to store abdominal fat.

Low protein – Adequate protein is needed, as it reduces your levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, helping you feel full for longer.

Dehydration –  Mild dehydration is often masked as feelings of hunger.  When you don’t drink enough water, your body receives mixed signals on hunger making you think you’re hungry when you’re really need hydration.

Hormonal imbalances – Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers, that control your metabolism, menstrual cycle, thyroid and menopause.  Imbalanced hormones can lead to weight gain, fluid retention, sugar cravings and slow metabolism.

Inadequate sleep –Sleep deprivation affects the hormones leptin and ghrelin that regulate hunger and appetite, leading to weight gain.

Irregular eating – Not eating regular meals and snacks can lead to hunger and overeating or craving junk food.

Tips to stop overeating

Blood sugar imbalances like polycystic ovarian syndrome, or diabetes cause sugar cravings and unbalanced blood sugar, leading to sugar and carbohydrate cravings.

Portion control  – use smaller plates – which will lead to smaller portions. Often one consumes extra calories because we eat everything on our plates.

Healthy snacks – Keep healthy snacks like yoghurt, vegetables and hummus, nuts and fruit on hand.

Plan meals – prep your meals for a few days ahead, so you’re not tempted to reach for the wrong foods when you’re hungry.

Eat slowly – Research shows that taking at least 20–30 minutes to finish a meal allows more time for your body to release the hormones that promote feelings of fullness .

Beware of ‘health foods – Check labels for fat and sugar, as often these labels are deceptive and are high in sugar and fat.

Keep up the protein – protein keeps you full for longer, balancing blood sugar levels which helps stops cravings.

Enjoy a treat now and then – treat yourself now and then. Don’t buy your treats in bulk. Dark chocolate is a healthier choice for those who love their chocolate fix.

Keep stress levels under control – Exercise, meditation and breathing exercises can all help lower stress levels.  

Eat Complex carbohydrate –  high fibre foods like vegetables, oats, whole grain breads, beans, lentils keep you fuller for longer.  

Hydration – make sure you’re having adequate water.  A glass before dinner will decrease your appetite.

Adequate sleep -ensure you’re getting enough sleep.