Filipinos’ love for food is mirrored through numerous buffet feasts and unli-rice promos in town.
On social media, your feeds will always be filled with fancy food preparation tutorial videos and mouthwatering Pinterest-worthy shots posted across all platforms. This is why it isn’t surprising to see people indulging in food during special occasions (and even on a regular basis).
Sometimes, food has even been one’s trusted buddy when one’s burned out with work and burdened by the life's daily grind, otherwise known as stress-eating—a thing most can definitely relate to. But munching on food way beyond what the stomach can handle has detrimental effects to one's body.
Overeating is a disorder where one consumes more food than what the body requires. It can branch out to two types of disorders—binge-eating (or eating large amounts of food regularly) and compulsive overeating, where one experiences the urge to eat without control.
When one overeats, the instant side effect on the body is bloating caused by excessive gas. This occurs when you have swallowed too much air while eating or drinking.
Experiencing lethargy or fatigue is also possible. The Harvard Medical School says excessive eating can cause low blood pressure, joint pains, irritation, and dizziness. Thus, feeling tired after filling in your stomach up to its fullness is common.
But one needs to regulate overeating before it becomes problematic in the long run.
In a research conducted in Linkoping University in Sweden, results found that consuming too much food in a short period of time (during festivities and special occasions) can lead to accumulation of body weight and fat-mass in the body.
According to endocrinologist Dr. Augusto Litonjua, overeating can contribute to developing diseases. This is part of what he has dubbed as the three “Ks” in diabetes risk factors—katabaan (obesity), katakawan (gluttony), and katamaran (idleness).
“When one overeats on a regular basis, the most common long-term effect on the body will be weight gain,” he says. “This leads to potential heart disease and diabetes.”
He also stresses that aside from cholesterol, which builds up in the body leading to hypertension and diabetes, one should also be wary of overeating too many sweets. In particular, Dr. Litonjua highlights the danger posed by fructose, a type of sugar found in sodas, fruits, and dried fruits, which causes high blood glucose levels in the body.
What you can do
Fighting the urge to eat too much in one sitting may be hard, especially for those who have disorders. But for nutritionist Annel Bartolata of St. Luke’s Global City, focus and discipline to decrease the amount of food intake is key.
For starters, you need to evaluate what you are feeling. Most often, people mistake hunger for being thirsty. It helps that one is always hydrated from time to time, too.
In addition, some turn to food to relieve stress. Some splurge on buffets to celebrate as well. Bartolata says you have to know the level of your hunger and from there, decide on the amount of food you consume—but do not overeat. Fill your stomach with just the right amount.
"Eating slowly during meal time can contribute big time in sending signals to our brain," Bartolata explains
She says that for thin people, it takes only more than 10 minutes for the brain to realize the body’s food satisfaction. For an obese person, it can take as long as almost half an hour to send the same signals to the brain.
Bartolata adds it can help to use meal presentaion techinques, which can alter one’s desire to eat.
A study from Cornell University in 2012 reveals that smaller plates help with weight loss. You can note that having a smaller plate for meals and carefully choosing how the food is presented make a difference in one’s eating habits. It also suggests that having dinnerware that contrasts with the color of the meal makes you eat less.
Bartolata underscores fighting overeating starts with a plan. Even when you’re presented with food in abundance, keep in mind that you have a goal. And stick to it no matter what.