How can I avoid overeating?

Dear Doctor, I know I overeat at meals, but I can’t help it. If I limit my portions, I’m hungry an hour later. How can I avoid overeating and have better control of my appetite?

Dear Doctor,                                                                                                

I know I overeat at meals, but I can’t help it. If I limit my portions, I’m hungry an hour later. How can I avoid overeating and have better control of my appetite?

Samula 

Dear Samula,

You have not specified since when you have been having this problem, is it sometimes or daily? Some people indulge in overeating just because they like something to the extent that they just cannot stop. At times it is a bad habit, where an individual will make sure they munch something during every leisure time they get. Others simply overeat due to stress or depression; they find this as a means of relaxation. Use of alcohol can stimulate appetite in some people. Some individuals eat a restricted diet in a bid to control weight or lose weight, then indulge in binge eating, intermittently.

Increased appetite may occur as a side effect of some centrally acting anti allergy or antidepressant drugs. Overeating can be part of obsessive compulsive disorder, where a person cannot control himself at all and overeats. Junk food containing more salt, sugar and or fat is known to make a person eat more than needed due to multiple reasons. Among disease conditions, uncontrolled diabetes, hyperthyroidism, etc. can increase appetite. Whatever may be the reason for overeating, when a person starts to eat more, the body becomes gradually used to that quantity of food and eating less would make one feel hungry.

Overeating often leads to heart burn, nausea and vomiting as immediate harmful effects. Over time it results in obesity and related problems like heart diseases, diabetes, etc. Hence it should be curbed now. It is advisable to get tests done for hyperthyroidism, diabetes, etc. conditions which if diagnosed are manageable.

Avoid snacking to release stress or to pass time. A dietitian can advise you on how much quantity of food is useful, based on the level of physical activity, height and weight. Try to put the plate away after consuming that amount. Avoid junk food and try taking balanced, nutritious diet.  Also keep yourselves busy in other activities to keep your mind away from food. If the habit is like an obsession, help should be sought from a psychiatrist.

 

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