I Used to Overeat Until I Started Using This App 3 Months Ago, and I've Lost 11 Pounds
Since July 2020, I've been following a mostly whole-food, plant-based diet. But in dealing with the emotional stress of COVID, I turned to food for comfort, and I know I wasn't the only one. Not only was I baking a ton, but my husband joined in the fun and started a sourdough bread hobby.
I was eating healthy, but I was overeating at practically every meal, and often binge eating on yummy baked goods. I knew I needed support to stop this habit that not only made me gain 10 pounds, but caused extremely painful bloating. So I signed up for the Slim on Starch program and started working with a registered dietitian and therapist who specializes in mindset and weight loss. That's when I started using the Healthie app, was able to stop overeating, and lost 11 pounds. Keep reading to learn why it was so effective.
What Is the Healthie App?
The Healthie App is basically a detailed online food journal. I snapped a photo of my food every time I ate along with some info about the meal or snack. I jotted down the ingredients and my hunger level before the meal — I didn't track calories or macros or amounts. Then after I ate, I went back into the entry and documented my fullness level and thoughts afterwards.
Benefit of Healthie App: Helps Me Eat Only When I'm Truly Hungry
Every time I added a food entry, I had to document my level of hunger and note whether I wasn't hungry, was somewhat hungry, or was very hungry. I also used the hunger scale and put a number value before eating, with 1 being ravenous and 10 feeling sick and painfully stuffed.
I liked asking myself if I was truly hungry when I sat down to eat. Seems simple enough because duh, why would I eat if I wasn't hungry? But this little feature made me realize how often in the past I was eating out of habit, because it was a certain time, because other people around me were eating, to make me feel happy, or to prevent boredom. All of that extra eating when I wasn't physically hungry was the reason I was feeling so bloated and had gained weight.
If I sat down to eat when I wasn't hungry, but instead was feeling stressed or upset, then I said to myself, "If I'm feeling __________, then food is not the solution." It helped me find a different way to cope, like calling a friend or going for a walk (we call this primary foods), which was actually way more effective than eating.
Benefit of Healthie App: Helps Prevent Overeating
When I first started tracking, I realized that if I waited too long to eat and was super hungry (at a two on the hunger scale), I would tend to overeat and feel painfully full and bloated (at an eight). So from then on, I would aim to get to a meal at a three on the hunger scale, and would stop when I was at a six.
This encouraged me to get out of the habit of intermittent fasting and to break the notion that I could only eat three times a day. Instead, I started to honor my hunger cues day to day. Some days I'd be really hungry and eat five times a day. And other times, I only wanted two big meals and one mini meal.
Eating when I was truly hungry allowed me to stop when I was comfortably full, not overly stuffed. I also knew that if I wanted to eat more after a meal, I'd need to take a picture of it first. This helped me pause and assess whether I was really hungry. If I wasn't and ate anyway, I'd risk feeling super full and be bloated for hours.
Benefit of Healthie App: Helps Me Remember What I Ate and Prevents Bloating
I have a very sensitive stomach and had been suffering from extreme bloating for years. Luckily, after I started using the Healthie app, my bloating issues started to subside.
Two factors helped make my bloating disappear: one was that I was not overeating, and the other was that I avoided food triggers. Once I started documenting my food intake in such a detailed way, including writing down all the ingredients, if I felt bloated at all, I could look back and find the culprit. I had no idea that bananas and beans were causing me such digestive distress. I was able to figure out that a whole raw banana was too much, but that I can tolerate half a banana cooked in my oatmeal. And the same with beans. Even one-quarter cup was too much, so I started with a few beans and am gradually working my way up to larger amounts.
Benefit of Healthie App: Helps Me Feel Empowered
Using the Healthie app took a little getting used to. At first I'd forget to take pics before I ate, or I'd forget to go back into the app after I ate to jot down how I felt. But once I got in the groove, it became a habit. It's not something I'll use forever, obviously, but after using it for three months, I feel empowered to consistently make healthy decisions and to trust my body's hunger and fullness cues.
I also feel inspired to remember my "why" every time I eat. I eat to nourish my body, to have energy to spend time with my family, to work, and to crush my workouts. And now I know with my sensitive stomach, eating sugar, oil, and too much of certain foods like bananas or beans can make me so painfully bloated that I'm miserable for a full day. And I also know eating past the point of fullness will have the same result, so this reminds me to listen to my body.
Benefit of Healthie App: Helped Me Lose Weight
Having to use the Healthie app every time I ate kept me accountable for every bite I consumed, which inspired me to eat healthy, balanced meals. I also became more conscious about mindless eating, which prevented me from eating off my kids' plates or reaching for random handfuls of things when I wasn't even hungry.
That accountability coupled with documenting my hunger and fullness cues helped me be more intentional about eating to fuel myself and to stop overeating. So I was able to lose 11 pounds without ever feeling hungry.
I've tried using food journals in the past where you just write down what you ate or you take pics of your food, but this is the first time I used such a detailed food journal, and it made all the difference.
If you're struggling with eating when you aren't hungry, eating past the point of fullness at most meals, or binge eating, the Healthie app could help you, too. Note that the Healthie app is meant to be a tool to help honor your hunger and fullness cues, not make you obsess over them. So if you have a history of eating disorders or you know that monitoring your food intake in this way could trigger disordered eating habits, then this isn't the app for you.