Seven Tips That Will Prevent Overeating

Many people who are overweight admit that they struggle to attain the figure they desire in part because they have an urge to overeat. This urge for instant gratification can be so powerful that it will often temporarily override your desire to lose weight. If you suffer from this difficult problem with willpower, teaching yourself healthier habits can seem like an insurmountable task. However, with some thought and effort you can learn how to stop yourself from overeating. Read on to discover the seven steps you can follow in order to help yourself lose unwanted weight by curbing your natural tendency to eat too much.

1) Tackle any psychological reasons for your overeating:

Many people who struggle to lose weight have problems with 'comfort eating'. If you comfort eat, this means that you consume favorite foods in order to improve your mood (and most people do not find that the healthiest foods are their favorites!). If this sounds familiar to you, it is important to realize that eating is merely a temporary solution to your unhappiness, and to face up to the fact in the long run it is likely to cause more unhappiness (because you are unlikely to feel good about yourself if you put on even more weight through comfort eating). When you are feeling moody or depressed, take time to fully consider why you are down and to work out what would work as a genuine, long-term solution. Are you unhappy in your current career? Think about your options and whether you might be able to retrain in order to take up a new job. Are you having relationship problems? Find the courage to talk to your partner, or consider making an appointment with a relationship counselor. No matter what is making you unhappy, comfort eating will not fix it and should be replaced by something more healthy and productive. If nothing can make you feel better, it is also worth seeing a doctor to discuss whether you might benefit from medication for depression.

2) Replace unsatisfying foods with satisfying ones:

A lot of people overeat because their meals and snacks take the form of foods that leave the body feeling unsatisfied. Common examples include chocolate and potato chips, which taste delicious at the time but invariably leave you feeling disproportionately hungry given the amount of calories you have just ingested. Ideally, you should create meals and snacks that contain large amounts of fiber, water and protein. You should try to eat more fruit (especially apples and grapes), whole meal breads and pastas, baked beans, and eggs. All of these foods will help your body to feel fuller for longer, and will thereby discourage you from overeating.

3) Begin your meal with a low calorie starter:

If you make sure that you eat a starter that is low in calories and fat but high in nutritional value, you will be less hungry (and therefore less likely to overeat) when it comes to sitting down to your main course. Ideal starters include low fat soups, leafy salads (minus those lovely but unhealthy dressings), and portions of peas and carrots. In the absence of an appropriate starter, try drinking a large glass of water shortly before you are due to have a meal. This will make sure that you feel full more quickly, and you will be less likely to overeat when you feel uncomfortably full.

4) Make an effort to eat your meals slowly:

Scientists have shown that it can actually take the brain up to twenty minutes to receive the biological signal that indicates you are no longer hungry. This means that if you focus on eating your meals more slowly by fully chewing every mouthful of food, you will be more likely to realize that your stomach feels full in time to prevent yourself from over-eating. You may also find it helpful to cultivate a routine of taking sips from your glass of water in between each bite or two of your meal, as this will help to slow you down even more.

5) Savor the first bite of your food:

Recent studies have suggested that the very first mouthfuls of a meal are perceived to be the most enjoyable and tasty. It is speculated that this is because the taste buds in your mouth soon become desensitized to the pleasure-producing chemicals in your food. Some people find that savoring the first bites of a delicious meal can discourage them from overeating.

6) Focus only on your meal:

People who dine alone tend to pay attention to other things while they eat (especially their computers, magazines, or television shows). However, this can encourage you to overeat because it shifts your attention away from your meal and stops you from realizing when you have eaten an adequate amount. This is distinct from the issue of overeating due to willpower problems, and it is somewhat easier to counteract. All you need to do is eliminate distractions during meal times, and force yourself to focus solely on your plate until your meal is over.

7) Do not snack straight from packets of food:

It is much harder to keep track of just how much you have eaten if you eat straight from a packet (instead of moving your food to a plate). If you are to curb the impulse to overeat, you need to watch your portion sizes and honestly appraise whether they are larger than necessary.

If you follow these seven steps then you should be well on your way to adopting healthier eating habits and avoiding bouts of overeating. In turn, this will make it easier for you to lose any unwanted weight and also to avoid gaining weight in the future. That being said, it is important to note that some underlying medical problems can make it difficult to lose weight and can also make you feel abnormally hungry. If your desire to overeat is so strong that the commonsense advice offered above is not making a difference, make an appointment with your doctor.