Why do most diets fail? It’s not because we’re lazy or lack willpower. Almost every time, the reason diets backfire is because we restrict too much.
When you dramatically reduce your caloric count, your body instantly perceives danger. Your inner alarm system that protects you from starvation kicks in and slows your metabolism. You go into starvation mode and overeat. And inevitably when you stop dieting, you regain your former weight plus some. Here are six ways to stop overeating and reach your healthy weight.
1. Eat real food
The single most important thing to lose weight and avoid overeating is to include real, whole, unprocessed foods in your diet. That means switching to vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, olive oil, organic, range, or grass-fed animal products (poultry, lamb, beef, pork, eggs), and wild, smaller fish such as salmon.
2. Always eat breakfast
Skipping a morning meal means you eventually feel famished, and throughout the day you eat much more food than you need to feel full. A recent study of 3,000 people who lost an average of 70 pounds and kept it off for six years found that most of them ate breakfast regularly. Only 4% of people who never ate breakfast managed to keep the weight off.
3. Eat mindfully
You need to be relaxed for your gut’s nervous system to work properly. If you’re stressed, you don’t digest food properly and your stress hormones slow metabolism. When you eat quickly, you also overeat, since it takes your brain 20 minutes after you start eating to know it’s full.
4. Get sufficient sleep
Always get eight hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night. You will reduce cravings and normalize fat-regulating hormones. One study found even a partial night’s sleep deprivation contributes to insulin resistance, paving the way for obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
5. Control stress levels
Demanding jobs, marital tension, lack of sleep, too much to do, and too little time to do it create chronic stress, which makes you overeat. Learn to actively relax with de-stressing techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
The right exercise will help you lose weight, maintain weight loss, and control your appetite so you don’t overeat. Aim for at least 30 minutes of walking every day. Many people often require more vigorous, sustained exercise to reverse severe diabesity and normalize eating. Make it fun: Run, bike, dance, play games, or jump on a trampoline.