Many people are overeating everyday without even realizing it. If you want to cut back on your calories, try these 5 simple steps for avoiding overeating and following a healthier diet.
Step 1: Recognize unnecessary cravings, and stop them in their tracks.
The basic principle behind overeating is that you’re consuming more than your body needs to be healthy and survive. Much of this occurs between meals when you’re not hungry to begin with. It could be triggered by a number of things – emotions, events, relationships or even just seeing or smelling a food you enjoy.
The important thing is to recognize when these cravings hit and acknowledge the fact that you don’t need to eat at the moment. Are you craving cookies because you’re hungry or because you’re upset about a fight with your spouse? Are you eating when you’re out with friends because you’re truly hungry or because everyone else is doing it? This is key to getting control over your eating habits and only eating when you need to. A good rule of thumb is to eat only when you’re hungry and to stop when you’re full.
Step 2: Choose filling foods.
One problem that some overeaters encounter is the fact that they choose empty foods which don’t help them feel full or give them the nutrition they need. When you choose filling, healthy foods, you get more bang for your buck and you don’t have to keep snacking all day to satisfy your appetite. For meals, choose high-protein foods, healthy fats and high-fiber foods which are among the most filling. Fill up on your vegetables at the beginning of your meal to cut back on high-calorie food items. Try snacks which contain lots of fiber and water to fill you up quickly. The following are some examples of great foods that will help you feel full quickly:
Step 3: Practice portion control.
If you want to avoid overeating, decide how much you’re going to eat before you begin each meal or snack break. For starters, use smaller plates when eating. When your food takes up most of the plate, you’ll feel like you’re eating more. Make sure you’re filling up most of your plate with the healthy, filling foods mentioned in Step 2. For example, your vegetables should take up a big portion of your plate. If it’s snack time, ration out the number of nuts, fruits or other snack foods before your start eating, then put the rest away. If you sit with a bag or container of snacks sitting right next to you, you’re liable to keep munching on more than you need without realizing it.
Step 4: Eat slowly.
Many people are tempted to chow down when they eat, especially if they’re really hungry. Unfortunately, this can often lead to overeating because it doesn’t allow your body the proper time to recognize that you’re full. As a result, you keep eating well past the point where you need to in order to be satisfied. To help yourself avoid this issue, take smaller bites of food and chew each bite slowly and completely before swallowing. Additionally, you can stick to your guns when it comes to your portion control; once you finish what you’ve set out for yourself, don’t get up to get more food if you still feel hungry. Instead, get up from the table and go do something else for 10-20 minutes. There’s a good chance that you’ll begin to feel full once you step away from the food and you won’t need to go back for seconds after all.
Step 5: Create a way to end your meal.
A handy tip for avoiding overeating that many people overlook is that you can create your own patterns to signal to your body that you’re full. Once of the best ways to do this is through taste. To help tell your body that you’re full, start eating or drinking the same thing at the end of every meal. Some tasty examples include tea, coffee, a stick of gum or a piece of dark chocolate. Choosing something with an intense and tasty flavor will help you forget about going back for more food. Although your meal may have been delicious, having the taste still in your mouth when you finish may make you crave more. Therefore, having a little treat at the end of a meal helps get your mind off of the meal and get you in the mindset to move onto something other than eating.
Overeating can quickly become a serious problem if it gets out of hand. Consuming more calories than you need everyday can lead to weight gain, and if you’re not getting full because you’re eating empty, high-calorie foods, your health can deteriorate as well. Use the steps listed here to take control of your eating habits and you’ll be amazed at how much less you need to eat to get through the day and feel satisfied.