Obesity can be caused by numerous factors that may be out of your control such as genetics, health conditions, medication, or emotional factors. Nevertheless, they can result in health complications that can disrupt your quality of life. These include diabetes, cardiovascular issues, bone and joint problems, and hypertension. That’s why it’s critical that you address lifestyle factors that are under your control.
If you’re obese, you may feel like accomplishing this will be more challenging than if you were just overweight. Fortunately, while there are clear delineations between overweight vs obesity based on your BMI, both are treated similarly.
Foundational to this is behavioral lifestyle changes that can contribute to weight loss starting with your diet. And although changing your eating habits may feel restrictive, you can adopt lifestyle changes that make you feel happier and healthier. Here are some do’s and don’t to help you achieve that.
DO: stick to regular meal times
Unplanned snacking or eating outside of regular meal times can disrupt your diet. For instance, research has found that late-night eating upsets appetite-regulating hormones. This may cause you to feel hunger more quickly and may burn calories more slowly. To avoid impulsive food choices like these, you should stick to regular eating hours.
You can encourage this habit by planning your meals. Make sure they’re filled with satiating foods like protein, vegetables, and dairy so you feel full for longer. Avoid skipping meals, too, since this can cause unplanned snacking. By sticking to your schedule, you will feel more empowered in your eating habits and avoid feeling anxious about how much you’re eating.
DON’T: indulge in highly processed foods
Today, people are more likely to make food choices based on convenience rather than nutritional content. They may select products like frozen pizza, fast food, sweets, and breakfast cereals. Unfortunately, ultra-processed foods are a primary cause of obesity and chronic diseases. They’re loaded with added sugar and sodium, making them full of unhealthy calories.
These not only keep you from eating healthier, but they can also cause negative feelings of anxiety and guilt when you know you could be treating your body better. This leads us to the next point:
DO: eat more whole foods
While many of the foods we eat today undergo some level of processing, whole foods are much closer to their natural and unprocessed forms. This makes them high in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber — making them essential to consume if you want to feel full for longer.
The best part? You have endless choices for enjoyable ingredients since fruits, vegetables, whole grains, shellfish, nuts, beans, and chicken are all considered whole foods. They boost your immunity and may be used for numerous delicious recipes, such as the fruit smoothie bowl and chicken vegetable stir fry in our article on the 7-day sugar detox diet plan. By exploring whole foods, you can cook with them, which will make pursuing a healthy diet more sustainable, enjoyable, and rewarding.
Don’t: eat too quickly
Eating more slowly and mindfully is one of the most important changes you can make to your diet. When you eat with distractions, like watching TV or scrolling through your phone, you often miss the internal hunger signals your body sends you.
This can cause you to overindulge even though you’ve eaten enough. By instead eating slowly and paying attention to your body, you can enjoy your food more fully. It can also help you better distinguish between physical and emotional eating, allowing you to make healthier food choices. In doing so, healthy dieting can be more pleasurable and joyful.
Although crucial for addressing obesity, dieting can be overwhelming. By following these dos and don’ts for your diet plan, you can make healthy eating habits more fulfilling and sustainable to try.
How to Avoid Overeating
Overeating not only leads to weight gain but can also have adverse effects on digestion, energy levels, and mental health. In this blog post, we will explore practical tips and strategies to help you avoid overeating and develop a mindful approach to eating.
Listen to Your Body’s Hunger Cues
One of the fundamental steps in avoiding overeating is learning to listen to your body’s hunger signals. Many of us have developed a habit of eating out of boredom, stress, or simply because food is available. By paying attention to your body’s natural cues, such as stomach growling or feeling hunger pangs, you can eat when your body genuinely needs nourishment.
Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating involves being fully present and engaged during mealtime. When you eat mindfully, you focus on the sensory experience of eating, including the taste, texture, and aroma of your food. By slowing down and savoring each bite, you allow your brain to register feelings of fullness and satisfaction. This can prevent overeating by helping you recognize when you’ve had enough.
Portion sizes have significantly increased over the years, contributing to overeating. Be mindful of portion sizes when serving yourself or ordering food at restaurants. Use smaller plates and bowls to create an illusion of a fuller plate. Additionally, consider using measuring cups or a food scale to get a better understanding of appropriate portion sizes for different types of food.
Eat Balanced Meals
A balanced meal includes a combination of macronutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Protein-rich foods help keep you feeling fuller for longer, reducing the chances of overeating. Complex carbohydrates provide sustained energy, while healthy fats contribute to satiety. Aim to include a variety of whole foods in your meals to ensure you’re getting a good balance of nutrients.
Eating while distracted, such as watching TV, working, or scrolling through your phone, can lead to mindless eating and overconsumption. When your attention is divided, it becomes difficult to tune in to your body’s hunger and fullness signals. Create a dedicated space for meals, turn off electronic devices, and focus solely on enjoying your food and the company of others.
Plan and Prepare Ahead
Planning and preparing meals in advance can help you make healthier choices and avoid impulsive overeating. Set aside time each week to plan your meals, make a grocery list, and batch cook or prep ingredients. Having nutritious meals readily available reduces the likelihood of reaching for unhealthy snacks or overeating due to a lack of options.
Identify Emotional Triggers
Emotional eating is a common reason for overeating. Stress, sadness, boredom, and anxiety can lead to seeking comfort in food. It’s important to identify your emotional triggers and find alternative ways to cope with those feelings. Engage in activities such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies to manage stress and emotions, rather than turning to food for comfort.
Sometimes, we mistake thirst for hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking and overeating. Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking an adequate amount of water. Carry a water bottle with you, especially when you’re on the go. By ensuring your body is properly hydrated, you can better differentiate between true hunger and thirst.
FAQ: Obesity Diet Plans
Q: What is obesity?
A: Obesity is a medical condition characterized by excessive accumulation of body fat to a degree that may have a negative impact on an individual’s health. It is commonly measured using the body mass index (BMI) calculation, which takes into account a person’s height and weight.
Q: Can diet alone cure obesity?
A: While a healthy diet is a crucial component of managing obesity, it is generally not sufficient on its own to cure the condition. Obesity is a complex issue that often requires a multi-faceted approach, including lifestyle changes, regular physical activity, behavior modifications, and, in some cases, medical intervention.
Q: How long does it take to see results with an obesity diet plan?
A: The rate of weight loss varies from person to person. Generally, a gradual weight loss of 1-2 pounds (0.5-1 kg) per week is considered healthy and sustainable. It is important to focus on long-term lifestyle changes rather than quick fixes. Results may be seen within a few weeks, but it can take several months or more to achieve significant weight loss and maintain it.
Dr. Charles Davies OA is a medical doctor who loves to share relevant medical information.