Have you ever been so hungry that you ate your meal at rapid speed and you didn’t really taste it? Or, were you so hungry that you ate far more than normal and felt stuffed afterward? If you said “yes,” you’re not alone.
Many people have large gaps between meals and find themselves overly “hangry” (a mix between hungry and angry) and, thus, they eat more than they need to feel satisfied. Often eating so fast, that they don’t even enjoy the food they’re eating.
Consider this: it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to get a message to your brain. Therefore, if you’re so hungry that you’re eating a large amount of food very quickly, your brain may not realize that it’s full (and has been) for a while. When your brain does realize that your stomach is full, that is when people often feel uncomfortable and “stuffed.” Additionally, people also take in far more calories than they need.
There are several things one can do to avoid overeating. One option is to plan meals so that there are not large gaps between meals. Another option is to pack healthy snacks to take with you on the go. That way, if you’re not able to sit down for a full meal you still have something to tide you over so that you don’t get super hungry. A third option is to practice mindful eating when you sit down for a meal. When you make your plate, consider the MyPlate and put the appropriate portions on your plate. Then, when you sit down to eat remove any distractions such as television or computers so that you can focus on enjoying your food.
Try putting your fork down between bites so that you can fully chew your delicious food! Allowing time to fully chew your food is important for 2 reasons: it gives your stomach and brain time to realize when you’re full, and it helps your body better digest the nutrients you ate. Slowing down to eat, whether it’s snacking or eating a full meal, helps to prevent overeating as well as allows you to enjoy the food you eat. After all, who doesn’t want to enjoy the taste of a sweet, juicy apple?