How to keep yourself from eating

How to Stop Overeating: A Dietitian's 10 Tips

TIPS TO LIVE BY Jan. 26, 2022 - Katie McCallum

Sometimes eating too much is simply an instance of your eyeballs growing bigger than your stomach at a buffet, potluck, party or holiday meal.

Other times, overeating is a pattern rather than the exception.

How much is truly too much? And if you are indeed at that point, how do you cut back?

"Overeating is eating beyond what's needed to fuel your body," says Kylie Arrindell, a wellness dietitian at Houston Methodist. "Whether intentional or not, we all do it at some point. The short-term symptoms of overeating are often just related to stomach discomfort, but there are long-term consequences of overeating which, over time, can negatively impact your health."

This means it's important to recognize whether you're overeating and, if you're doing so frequently, take steps to reduce the behavior.

What are the signs of overeating?

Am I overeating?

That seems like it should be something fairly easy to answer. Perhaps by counting calories?

But Arrindell points out it's not that easy.

"The amount of calories you should be eating per meal is a very individualized number," says Arrindell. "People have different health goals, needs and conditions, so it can be difficult for you to determine your optimal calorie intake on your own. Additionally, counting calories might not resonate with you in a positive way."

Plus, calories aren't a great measure of whether you're eating mindfully and whether you're stopping when you're satisfied, two of the most important components of properly nourishing your body that can also help you understand if you're overeating.

With that in mind, the actual signs of overeating may include:

  • Eating beyond the point of being full
  • Finding yourself mindlessly eating because you're bored or distracted
  • Experiencing physical symptoms after eating, including nausea, abdominal discomfort, gas, bloating or heartburn
  • Eating for reasons other than to fuel your body

"Those are the short-term signs and symptoms of overeating, but there are long-term indications, too, including unwanted weight gain, difficulty losing weight and prolonged digestive discomfort," Arrindell adds.

Fortunately, these particularly noticeable signs can be powerful reminders that it's time to take action. But Arrindell points out that there are also detrimental health impacts you may not notice yourself — although they will likely show up in your blood work.

"Over the course of weeks to months to years, overeating can affect your cholesterol and could potentially impact your blood sugar management, which can put you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease," warns Arrindell.

How to stop overeating: A dietitian's top 10 tips

If you recognize the signs and are ready to take action, here's what Arrindell recommends to help you avoid overeating:

1. Familiarize yourself with recommended portion sizes

Portion size is critical.

To keep your eyeballs in check, take advantage of nutrition food labels and reputable sources' recommended amounts of foods. These guidelines aren't perfect, but they can help set the baseline for what a realistic serving size looks like — usually hard to guess on your own. Knowing the recommended amount also helps you stay accountable for how much you should be eating.

And — speaking of accountability — you might also try eating off of a smaller plate.

"The plates we serve our food on are usually pretty large, so even just something as simple as decreasing your plate size can really help you stick to more appropriate portion sizes and avoid overeating, especially for those who have been taught to finish everything on their plate," says Arrindell. (She notes you don't actually have to eat everything on your plate.)

2. Include a fiber source with meals and snacks

"Fiber is helpful for satiety, the feeling of fullness after eating," says Arrindell.

For instance, let's compare a plate of roasted vegetables versus several pieces of cheese. Both may contain the same amount of calories, but the roasted veggies are more likely to fill you up because they contain fiber — whose feeling of fullness can help reduce overeating tendencies.

Since cheese is less filling, you may have to eat more than your body actually needs before you physically feel full and your brain realizes you're not hungry anymore.

3. Avoid skipping meals

Intermittent fasting — the foundation of which is skipping meals — is a trendy diet right now, but for some people, it may lead to a feast-or-famine mentality that inadvertently leads to overeating.

"Skipping meals can cause intense hunger, which, for many people, tends to result in episodes of overeating once you do finally eat," warns Arrindell. "Instead, I recommend eating healthy snacks between meals or eating smaller meals more regularly throughout the day."

4. Know and limit the foods that are easiest to overeat

We've all wondered if there are foods we should write off completely. Just give us the list!

But here again, Arrindell says it's not that simple.

"Everyone has their own individual preference on the foods and drinks they enjoy most, so advice on which foods to keep your eye on will vary from person to person," says Arrindell. "Keeping a food journal can provide you with insight into your own eating habits, a helpful tool for identifying which foods you struggle with the most."

That said, Arrindell says that most people tend to overeat calorie-dense foods or processed foods they view as treats, including those high in:

  • Salt
  • Added sugar
  • Saturated and trans fats
  • Empty calories

And while Arrindell says there's no food you should overeat — since even too much of something healthy, like fiber-rich veggies, may cause unwanted digestive distress — she adds that she doesn't often hear of someone who regularly overeats broccoli or asparagus. Wink, wink.

5. Stay hydrated

"Cues for thirst can often be mistaken as hunger cues," says Arrindell.

Especially when you're feeling hungry or craving a snack at a time you shouldn't, just taking a few sips of water can help you determine whether you're actually hungry or just thirsty. And keeping up with your water intake throughout the day may help you completely sidestep those tricky hunger pangs that aren't actually due to hunger after all.

6. Be mindful about why you're eating and pay attention to hunger cues

There are a lot of reasons you might want to eat, but there's only one you need to: nourishing and energizing your body.

From "I think I need a snack" to "It's dinner time," be sure you're not falling into the trap of eating mindlessly just to eat.

"If you aren't paying attention to the actual snack or meal you're eating and why you're eating it, chances are you're not really paying attention to your body's cues for appetite and hunger either," says Arrindell.

When you're not in tune with when it's time to stop eating, you're more likely to overeat.

"Being mindful about your meals and what you're eating is important since paying attention to your body's cues can help you connect to the process of enjoying food as a way of nourishing your body," explains Arrindell.

7. Slow down

Crucially, not overeating also means actually stopping when you're approaching feeling full. Portion sizing can help, but, ultimately, slowing down your meal and paying attention to how you actually feel is one of the best ways to avoid overeating.

The goal is to give your food-filled stomach and hungry brain time to re-sync with one another. In fact, it can take as long as 20 minutes for your stomach to let you brain know it's full.

"A lot of us scarf down meals in half that time or less!" says Arrindell. "If you find yourself overeating at meals, try to find ways to slow down the process. For instance, you might try eating with your non-dominant hand or putting your fork down between bites."

8. Rethink that second serving

Speaking of slowing down ... it can also help you decide whether you truly need to be refilling your plate or not.

"Maybe you really are hungry and need that second helping, which is okay," says Arrindell. "But my advice is to wait 5 to 10 minutes before you get another serving and to make sure your additional serving is mostly the good stuff — more vegetables, for instance. "

9. Turn off your TV

A great way to help encourage paying attention to how you feel after eating is to make snack time and mealtime a distraction-free experience.

"Turning off your TV and sitting down at the table is a great place to start," says Arrindell. "Eating without distractions brings us back to the concept of connecting to the process of nourishing your body, which is what your food is actually meant to do."

10. Give yourself some grace

Whether you hit a roadblock as you're getting started or when the holidays come around, know that fighting back against overeating takes patience and compromise.

"Allowing yourself to have foods that you really enjoy in moderation is helpful because then you're not tempted to overindulge on them later," says Arrindell. "Giving yourself grace not only provides a little bit of wiggle room in your diet, it's also sometimes the missing piece for people when it comes to maintaining healthy eating patterns that can help reduce the chances of overeating. "

Why am I overeating?

Sometimes overeating just happens on occasion. This is especially common on occasions where you have access to more food than usual (*cough* Thanksgiving).

Other times, it becomes a pleasurable yet unhealthy habit that reinforces itself over and over — as habits do. The steps above, given time, might be all it takes to break the habit.

In some cases, however, there could be a more complicated reason you're overeating.

"When it's happening habitually, that's when it's time to take a look into why you're overindulging more often than usual," explains Arrindell. "There could be some underlying reasoning behind why it's become a habit."

For instance, you could be using a food solution to fight an emotional issue — sometimes referred to as emotional eating. Recognizing this behavior and better processing your emotions are important steps in your journey to reduce overeating.

Lastly, in the most extreme cases, overeating might also be a sign of something more complicated: binge eating disorder.

"If you find yourself overeating often, talk to your dietitian or doctor," recommends Arrindell. "Overeating can be closely associated with binge eating tendencies, which is not something you have to navigate on your own and it is treatable with the right help."

23 Ways to Stop Overeating

Eating too much in one sitting or taking in too many calories throughout the day are common habits that can be hard to break.

And while some people see these behaviors as habits that can be broken, they may indicate an eating disorder in others.

Over time, eating too much food can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of developing a chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Regardless of whether you have an eating disorder, breaking the cycle of overeating can be challenging. However, some techniques can help.

The 23 tips below provide a starting point to reduce overeating.

1. Get rid of distractions

Whether it’s working through lunch in front of the computer or noshing on chips while catching up on your favorite TV show, eating while distracted is a common occurrence for most people.

While this habit might seem harmless, it can contribute to overeating.

A review of 24 studies found that being distracted during a meal led people to consume more calories at that meal. It also caused them to eat more food later in the day, compared with people who paid attention to their food while eating (1).

Summary Make an effort to turn off
or put away potential distractions like phones, computers, and magazines. Concentrating
on your meal during mealtime can help prevent overeating.

2. Know your trigger foods

Pinpointing which foods can trigger overeating and avoiding them can help decrease the chances of overeating.

For example, if ice cream is likely to trigger a binge or episode of overeating, it’s a good idea to stop storing it in the freezer. The harder it is to access something, the less likely you might be to overeat that food.

Preparing healthy options like a sliced apple with peanut butter, hummus and veggies, or homemade trail mix can encourage better choices when snacking.

Another helpful tip is to keep unhealthy snack foods like chips, candy, and cookies out of sight so there’s no temptation to grab a handful when walking past them.

Summary Identify the unhealthy foods
that trigger overeating. Keep them out of the home or far out of sight, and
make healthy options easily accessible instead.

3. Don’t ban all favorite foods

Restrictive eating patterns that eliminate many of your favorite foods may cause you to feel deprived, potentially leading you to binge on forbidden treats.

Diets that concentrate on whole, unprocessed foods are always best, but making room for an occasional treat is perfectly healthy.

Swearing to never have a scoop of ice cream, slice of pizza, or piece of chocolate again is not realistic for most people.

That said, in the case of food addiction, a person may need to permanently abstain from trigger foods. In this case, it’s a good idea to find healthy substitutes that are satisfying.

Focus on providing your body with mostly healthy, nutritious food while giving yourself the freedom to truly enjoy a treat here and there.

Summary Eating patterns that are too
restrictive may drive binges. The key to a sustainable, healthy diet is to
concentrate on eating whole, unprocessed foods most of the time while allowing for
a treat here and there.

4. Give volumetrics a try

Volumetrics is a way to eat that focuses on filling up on low calorie, high fiber foods like non-starchy vegetables.

Consuming foods that are low in calories and high in fiber and water before meals can help you feel full, which might decrease overeating.

Examples of volumetrics-friendly foods include grapefruit, salad greens, broccoli, beans, tomatoes, and low-sodium broth.

Eating a large salad or bowl of low-sodium, broth-based soup before lunch and dinner may be an effective way to prevent overeating.

Summary Use the volumetrics method
of eating — fill up on healthy, low-calorie, high-fiber foods to help promote feeling

5. Avoid eating from containers

Eating chips out of the bag, ice cream out of the carton, or takeout straight from the box can lead to consuming more food than is recommended as a serving size.

Instead, portion out a single serving size on a plate or in a bowl to help control the number of calories you consume in one sitting.

Use measuring tools to train your eye on what a normal portion should look like for different types of foods.

Summary Instead of eating food
straight from the package, portion it into a dish. Try measuring out
appropriate serving sizes to help train your eye to identify how much food is recommended
as an average portion.

6. Reduce stress

Stress can lead to overeating, so it’s important to find ways to reduce the amount of stress in your daily life.

Chronic stress drives up levels of cortisol, a hormone that increases appetite. Studies have shown that being stressed can lead to overeating, increased hunger, binge eating, and weight gain (2).

There are many simple ways to reduce your everyday stress levels. Consider listening to music, gardening, exercising, or practicing yoga, meditation, or breathing techniques.

Summary Stress can lead to
overeating, so reducing the stress in your everyday life is one important step
to reduce overeating.

7. Eat fiber-rich foods

Choosing foods that are rich in fiber, such as beans, vegetables, oats, and fruit, can help keep your body feeling satisfied longer and reduce the urge to overeat.

For example, one study found that people who ate fiber-rich oatmeal for breakfast felt fuller and ate less at lunch than those who consumed cornflakes for breakfast (4).

Snacking on nuts, adding beans to your salad, and eating vegetables at every meal may help reduce the amount of food you consume.

Summary Add fiber-rich foods to your
diet to keep your body feeling satisfied longer. Studies show this may help
reduce the urge to overeat.

8. Eat regular meals

When attempting to lose weight, many people cut out meals in hopes that it will decrease the number of calories they take in.

While this may work in some instances, such as intermittent fasting, restricting meals may cause you to eat more later in the day.

Studies have demonstrated that eating more frequently throughout the day may decrease hunger and overall food intake (5).

For example, some people may skip lunch to restrict calories, only to find themselves overeating at dinner. However, eating a balanced lunch may help reduce the chances of eating too much later in the day (6).

Summary Skipping meals may cause you
to eat more later in the day. Instead, focus on keeping your body feeling
satisfied by eating balanced meals made with whole foods.

9. Keep a food journal

Keeping track of what you eat in a food diary or mobile app may help reduce overeating.

Many studies have shown that using self-monitoring techniques like keeping a food diary may aid weight loss (7).

Plus, using a food journal can help identify situations and emotional triggers that contribute to overeating, as well as foods that are likely to provoke binge eating.

Summary Studies have shown that
tracking your food intake may help you lose weight. It will also help you become
more aware of your habits.

10. Dine with like-minded friends

The food choices of your dining companions may have a greater effect on your food intake than you realize.

Numerous studies have found that people’s food choices are heavily influenced by the people they eat with.

People may tend to eat portions similar to those of their dining companions, so dining out with friends who overeat may cause them to overeat as well (8).

Plus, studies have shown that a person is more inclined to order unhealthy options if their dining partner does (9).

Choosing to eat with family and friends who have similar health goals can help you stay on track and reduce your chances of overeating.

Summary With whom you choose to eat
may majorly impact your food choices. Try to dine with people who also want to
eat healthy meals in moderate portions.

11. Fill up on protein

Protein helps keep your body full throughout the day and can decrease the desire to overeat.

For example, eating a high protein breakfast has been shown to reduce hunger and snacking later in the day (10).

Choosing a protein-rich breakfast like eggs tends to lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger (11).

Adding higher protein snacks like Greek yogurt to your routine can also help you eat less throughout the day and keep hunger under control (12).

Summary Eating protein-rich foods
may help stave off hunger and cravings. Starting the day with a high protein
breakfast can also help fight hunger later in the day.

12. Stabilize your blood sugar levels

Eating white bread, cookies, candy, and other carbs with high glycemic indexes will likely cause blood sugar levels to spike, then fall quickly.

This rapid blood sugar fluctuation has been shown to promote hunger and can lead to overeating (13).

Choosing foods with lower glycemic indexes will help prevent blood sugar spikes and may reduce overeating. Beans, oats, and brown rice are all great options.

Summary Eat foods that help keep blood
sugar levels constant. High-glycemic foods like candy and white bread can make
blood sugar spike then drop, which may lead to overeating. Instead, choose
foods like beans, oats, and brown rice.

13. Slow down

Eating too quickly may cause overeating and lead to weight gain over time.

Slower-paced eating is associated with increased fullness and decreased hunger and can serve as a useful tool for controlling overeating (14).

Taking the time to thoroughly chew food has also been shown to reduce overall food intake and increase feelings of fullness (15).

Summary Focusing on eating more
slowly and chewing food thoroughly may help you recognize signs of fullness and
reduce overeating.

14. Watch your alcohol intake

Drinking alcohol may cause overeating by lowering your inhibitions and stimulating appetite (16, 17).

While having a drink or two with a meal generally won’t have a huge effect, having several drinks in one sitting may lead to increased levels of hunger.

One study found that college students who drank four to five drinks at a time more than once per week were more likely to overeat after drinking, compared with students who drank one to two drinks at a time (18).

Cutting back on drinking alcohol may be a good way to minimize overeating.

Summary Studies show that drinking
several drinks in one sitting may lead to overeating. Instead, stick to just
one or two drinks, or forgo drinking alcohol entirely.

15. Plan ahead

Being unprepared when hunger strikes can make it more likely that you’ll make poor food choices that can lead to overeating.

Purchasing meals and snacks at the last minute from restaurants or delis increases the likelihood of making unhealthy choices and eating more.

Instead, keep healthy snacks on hand, pack home-cooked lunches, and stock the fridge with healthy options to prepare dinner at home.

These strategies can help decrease overeating. Plus, making more meals at home can save money and time.

Summary The more prepared you are to
eat healthily, the less likely you are to overeat. Keep the fridge and pantry
stocked with healthy, filling foods.

16. Replace sugary beverages with water

Drinking sugary beverages like soda and juice could lead to weight gain and increase the risk of certain diseases like diabetes (19).

Studies have shown that consuming sweetened drinks with meals may be linked to overeating as well.

A review of 17 studies found that adults who drank sugar-sweetened beverages with meals consumed 7.8% more food than adults who consumed water with meals (20).

Choosing water or unsweetened seltzer over sweetened beverages may help reduce overeating.

Summary Avoid sugary beverages.
They’ve been linked to an increased risk of diabetes and other diseases and may
be linked to overeating. Drink water instead.

17. Check in with yourself

Overeating in the absence of hunger could be a sign that something deeper is going on.

Depression and boredom are two common issues that have been linked to the urge to overeat (21, 22).

Fortunately, taking certain actions can help. For example, try taking on a new activity that’s enjoyable. It may help prevent boredom and distract from the urge to nibble.

Also, spending some time thinking about what triggers overeating can help determine the type of help to seek. If depression and anxiety are contributors, getting proper treatment from a mental health professional might assist with reducing overeating.

Every person is different, so it’s important to find the right treatment plan for your needs.

Summary Think about the feelings
during episodes of overeating and seek help to address the issues behind the
behavior. Depression and boredom are two common reasons. A mental health
professional can provide guidance.

18. Ditch the diet mentality

Fad diets probably won’t help you stop overeating in the long run. Short-term, restrictive diets may lead to rapid weight loss, but they are often unsustainable and can set you up for failure.

Instead, make long-term lifestyle changes that promote health and wellness. It’s the best way to create a balanced relationship with food and prevent habits like overeating.

Summary Instead of going on fad
diets to curb overeating, find a sustainable way of eating that nourishes your
body and helps it reach optimal health.

19. Break old habits

Habits can be hard to break, especially when they involve food.

Many people get into comfortable routines, like eating dinner in front of the TV or having a bowl of ice cream every night.

It may take time to identify unhealthy behaviors that lead to overeating and replace them with new, healthy habits, but it’s well worth the effort.

For example, make it a point to eat at the dinner table instead of in front of the TV, or replace a nightly bowl of ice cream with a hot cup of tea. These replacements will become healthy habits over time.

Summary Identify unhealthy habits
and gradually replace them with new, more positive behaviors.

20. Eat healthy fats

Although high fat foods are often associated with weight gain and overeating, choosing foods rich in healthy fats can help you eat less.

Several studies have shown that adults who consume high fat, low carb diets are less hungry 3–4 hours after meals and lose more weight over time, compared with people who consume diets high in carbs and low in fat (23, 24).

Adding healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butters, and olive oil to your diet may help you feel more satisfied after meals and reduce overeating.

Summary Try adding more healthy fats
to your diet. Studies have shown doing so may help you feel fuller after meals
and lose weight over time.

21. Keep your goals in mind

Setting short- and long-term goals and referring to them often may help you stay on track and reduce the urge to overeat.

Knowing the reason for overcoming overeating and how overeating is preventing you from reaching your health and wellness goals can motivate you to work toward establishing new eating patterns.

Jotting down motivational quotes and hanging them in prominent places around your living space can help inspire you to stick to a plan throughout the day.

Summary Identify specific short- and
long-term eating goals and refer to them often. It can even be helpful to place
motivational quotes around your home.

22. Get help if needed

It’s important to distinguish overeating from binge eating disorder (BED).

Binge eating disorder (BED) is recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-5) as a psychiatric disorder. This means someone who has BED will likely need treatment from a team of medical professionals to overcome it.

BED is characterized by ongoing episodes of eating a large amount of food very quickly to the point of discomfort, despite not being hungry. After a binge, a person might feel shame or guilt surrounding the behavior.

It affects millions of people worldwide and is the most common eating disorder in the United States (25).

If you feel that you might have BED, it’s important to get help. Speak with your healthcare provider about treatment options.

Summary If you regularly binge on
large quantities of food, lack control, and experience feelings of guilt, you
may have binge eating disorder and should seek professional help.

23. Practice mindful eating

Adopting mindful eating techniques is one of the best ways to prevent overeating.

The practice of mindful eating stresses the importance of focusing on the moment and being aware of thoughts, emotions, and senses while consuming food.

Many studies have shown that mindful eating is an effective way to reduce binge eating behaviors, overeating, and emotional eating (3).

Eating more slowly, taking small bites, chewing thoroughly, being aware of your senses, and appreciating food are all simple mindfulness practices to incorporate into a daily routine.

Summary The practice of mindful
eating has been shown to help reduce binge eating behaviors. Mindful eating
focuses on being aware of your thoughts and senses while eating.

The bottom line

Many people struggle with overeating.

Fortunately, there are ways to improve eating habits and overcome eating disorders.

Healthcare professionals like psychologists, doctors, or registered dietitians can also provide counseling and guidance to help you get back on track.

Overeating can be a hard habit to break, but you can do it. Use these tips as a starting point to help establish a new, healthy routine, and make sure to seek professional help if you need it.

Editor’s note: This piece was originally published on April 16, 2018. Its current publication date reflects an update, which includes a medical review by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD.

How to learn to control your appetite to lose weight

BeautyHack tells you what size your lunch portion should be and how to overcome the desire to have a sweet snack.

Swap the base and toppings

Instead of your morning bowl of muesli, eat yogurt sprinkled with a little muesli. And during lunch, put the vegetables on a plate first, and then add a quarter cup of brown rice to them.

Eat soup

Start your meal with soup or vegetable broth. A study by the US National Institutes of Health found that people who eat soup first reduce their calorie intake by 20%.

Smoothies can be high in calories

A 500 ml breakfast smoothie is almost 400 calories. The best option is oatmeal with a banana and a cup of black coffee.

Make popcorn at home

A big glass of popcorn at the movie theater is 1,000 calories. And homemade in the microwave without additives - 300 calories.

Choose fresh fruit over dried fruit

For comparison, 3 tablespoons of grapes is equal in calories to a cup of raisins. There are 231 calories in 100 grams of dried apples, and only 47 in one fresh one.

Eat foods with fiber

The body takes longer to digest fiber, so you won't feel hungry for a long time. 25 g of fiber per day is more than enough. This reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Swap unhealthy ingredients for vegetables

Spinach can be the base of a healthy sandwich, mushrooms can be added to minced meat, and diced apples can be added to oatmeal.

No complicated salad dressings

An innocuous vegetable salad is loaded with calories by adding cheese, caramelized nuts, bacon, avocado or croutons. Limit yourself to cold-pressed olive oil.

The 50/25/25 Rule

Fill your plate 50% with vegetables or salad, 25% with lean protein, and 25% with carbohydrates. You simply will not have room for fried meat or unhealthy snacks.

Use smaller bowls

Use salad bowls instead of large bowls, replace deep soup bowls with cereal bowls.

Plates will be filled to the top with food and portions will be reduced.

Put away some of the food in containers

If you have prepared dinner and plan to take some of the food with you to work, put it right away in the container. You won't be tempted to eat a double serving in the evening.

Divide portions in restaurants

Share large meals with your companion. If you are dining alone, ask the waiter to set aside half of your meal before serving it.

Tasty tea instead of dessert

Have you also accustomed yourself to sweets after meals? Change this ritual by drinking decaffeinated, mint, cinnamon, or fruit tea.

Do not overeat at the buffet

Seeing the variety of dishes on the buffet, you can forget about all the warnings and promises. Make a circle, look at all the food and decide what you really want. Remember to follow the rules for filling the plate.

No TV and telephone

Don't watch TV during dinner. When you are passionate, it is difficult to control the amount eaten.

Eat every 4 hours

If you eat a balanced meal every 4 hours, you won't feel like snacking. For snacks, take unsalted nuts and fruits, they are high in fiber and water.

Eat "complex" foods

Oranges, pistachios, soybeans all need to be peeled, which means you will eat more slowly and not want more.

Divide snacks into portions

Instead of eating nuts or other snacks straight from the bag, divide them into small portions ahead of time.

Coffee without syrups and whipped cream

Sometimes coffee is a complete dessert, containing up to 670 calories. Drink regular espresso instead.

Control yourself during dinners with friends

Dinner in the company of a large number of people is such a trap. As a rule, a person eats 97% more food than planned.

How to control appetite: 7 easy ways

Beauty blog

Statistics prove that strict diets are useless and sometimes even harmful. With their help, 75% of those who want to lose extra pounds achieve results. But after some time they recover again, gaining more than the original weight. What to do? Leading experts in the field of nutrition say: in order to lose weight, you do not need to limit yourself in anything. It is enough to learn how to correctly recognize and interpret the signals of the body. To do this, it is important to remember once and for all that hunger is different. This means that the methods of saturation should be different. So how do you learn to control your appetite?

Getty Images

Visual hunger

Eclair in the candy store literally screams: “Eat me!” Looking at a cookbook makes you salivate. This is the hunger of the eyes. “The sight of food provokes the release of hormones and insulin,” comments psychotherapist and nutritionist Gerard Apfeldorfer. “They whet your appetite.” How to control your appetite:

  • Try to shift your attention and “eat” something else with your eyes, such as a great landscape or a good photo. Perhaps this will be enough and the hunger will disappear.
  • Set the table and beautifully arrange food on plates, even if you are having lunch or dinner alone.
  • Before you start eating, carefully examine the contents of the plate, not your iPad or iPhone.

Hunger for smell

A person distinguishes ten thousand smells and often enjoys the aroma of food no less than its taste. Brioche, roast or steak… One fragrance can whet your appetite. To satisfy such a hunger, you need:

  • Breathe in the aromas of food on the plate, just as we do with a glass of wine.
  • While eating, focus on smells - inhale, inhale, inhale.
  • Regularly arrange an aromatherapy session with your favorite notes - vanilla, almond, cocoa - and observe what emotions they give rise to.

Physiological hunger

Rumbling in the stomach, loss of energy, slight headache, irritability indicate that the time has come to replenish the energy reserve. For this you need:

  • Learn to distinguish between stomach hunger (its symptoms are described above) and the habit of eating three times a day.
  • Do not confuse hunger with anxiety: it can also cause mild cramps in the stomach area.
  • Eat slowly, paying attention to the signals our body gives us.
  • Stop in the middle of a meal to assess your strength. Remember that, unlike children, adults have the right not to eat everything that is on the plate.

Taste hunger

It corresponds to the desire to feel a specific texture on the tongue (mousse, jelly, etc.). What is pleasant and what is not is determined by genetics, family and culture. Taste buds make us eat more than we need, just for the sake of pleasure. To appease them, it is correct:

  • Try the same product in different consistencies, as is customary in Japanese cuisine. For example, alternate raw fish with boiled, grilled or battered.
  • Diet varied. No wonder the chefs of the most famous restaurants go out of their way to invent something unusual.

Cell hunger

Do you want honey during a cold? Chicken noodles after the flu? Chips in the summer park? These desires can either express the body's needs for certain nutrients and trace elements, or be just a whim. To learn to feel if these are really the true aspirations of our body, it is useful to practice a little:

  • Looking at a bag of chips, ask yourself: “Am I sure that this will make me happier?” And until you get an answer, don't clog your stomach.
  • Always drink a glass of water before meals: it is easy to confuse thirst with hunger.

Mind hunger

“I have to eat at least five kinds of fresh vegetables a day”, “dairy products are unhealthy”, etc. Such imposed rules disrupt the harmonious relationship with food. If you eat “according to instructions” all the time, a breakdown is inevitable. It is better not to divide dishes into healthy and harmful, but to try, for example, one day to satiate the body with some unnecessary product. So, psychotherapist Gerard Apfeldorfer suggests getting rid of painful attachment to sweets by eating only chocolate for several days. But it's cruel. It is better to just eat it little by little, not forgetting to look at, smell and savor every bite. And also carefully listen to the signals of the stomach in order to stop in time. Having ceased to be forbidden, any product loses its halo of attraction.

Emotional hunger

This is the story about him about Madeleine, told by Marcel Proust. We associate childhood memories with specific foods or dishes. We eat them not for taste, but to feel comfort, love and warmth again. Emotions are transferred to food, and this has nothing to do with hunger. The same thing happens when we try to cheer up with the help of a treat, disperse boredom, brighten up loneliness, drown out anxiety, etc. How to deal with this?

  • If you want to restore peace of mind, comfort yourself with a small portion, enjoying every crumb.
  • Before eating, call a loved one, listen to your favorite music, take a fragrant bath. Perhaps the hunger will subside.
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Food by the rules and without

Don't rush to eat slowly - it means to eat less. It takes 15 to 30 minutes for the body to "digest" information about satiety. The delay is caused by the fact that enzymes (proteins that are involved in signaling the onset of satiety from the stomach to the brain) are produced only some time after the start of the meal. How to slow it down? Drink water, chew food 15-20 times, hold the fork in your left hand (for left-handers - in your right hand), put cutlery on the table from time to time.

Determine the correct amount. On the Japanese islands of Okinawa, which are famous for a large number of centenarians, it is customary to satisfy hunger only by 80%. In the West, things are different: people eat more and more, and the portions increase according to their growing appetites. How can you eat less? Use small plates, cut food into thin slices, fill your menu with a variety of flavors to saturate with quality, not quantity.

Remain silent. In order to be fully aware of what we eat and what sensations we experience, it is worth remembering the principle "when I eat, I am deaf and dumb." If possible, have lunch and dinner in a quiet environment, without TV, radio, Internet, books and newspapers. No, you won't get bored with so many things to do (see Take your time)! If you are eating in a large group and decide to tell a story, put the cutlery on the table and do not pick it up until you have finished the story.

Be kind to yourself. According to Jan Chosen Bais, each of us is a perfectionist and a critic.

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