Many of us have a habit of reaching for the treat cupboard in the evening, especially when we’re bored.
Mindless snacking is the problem – sitting in front of the television with a big bag of chips or a tub of ice cream, and more often than not, we’ll finish off the whole tub or packet instead of just taking a little bit of what we fancy.
Overeating can really cause problems when it comes to our weight – we think we’re making all the right choices, but overeating, even if you overeat “healthy” food can cause weight gain. But how do you learn to overcome overeating? There are two main techniques – being aware of your food, and distracting yourself.
- Eat Slowly
When you’re eating, make it count by eating slowly. This makes you more aware of the food that you’re eating, but it also gives your body longer for the feelings of satisfaction to reach your brain. Wolfing food down means that you’re not aware of feeling full, which could mean that you tuck in again an hour later.
- Just Eat
Many of us multitask while we’re eating – watching television, reading a book, working on some papers. Multitasking while you’re eating means that your brain will forget the task at hand – and if you’re not aware of your food, you won’t be aware that you’re full. Just eat, savour your food and skip the television programme for after your meal.
- Choose a Smaller Plate
We’re often told as children to eat everything on our plate, and this mentality can continue into adulthood as we’re reluctant to waste food. Simply choosing a smaller plate and eating all of the food on your plate can trick your mind into thinking that you’re full, without you overeating.
- Appreciate Your Food
We don’t really take enough notice of the food that we’re eating – but if you appreciate your food, thinking about how the food looks, smells and tastes, savouring each mouthful, you’ll be much more aware of your food and how much of it you’re eating. Research has shown that you could take in fewer calories by using this technique at every meal.
- Choose Filling Foods
It’s very simple, but if you choose filling foods at each meal, you’ll be less likely to overeat at the next one or in the evening. Try not to choose calorie-dense foods, such as chocolate or cheese. Instead, opt for foods that contain plenty of fibre and protein as these will fill you up for fewer calories.
- Listen to Your Body
People often ignore the very obvious signals that their body sounds out when satisfied. To stop overeating, you really need to listen to your body. Chewing slowly, eating slowly and appreciating your food will help you to learn when you are full, and when you’re full, you can stop. Not being able to tell when you’re full makes it much more likely that you’ll overeat.
Distraction techniques are very handy tips and tricks to employ when you’re finding yourself reaching for the biscuit tin in the evening, or when you want to polish off the children’s leftovers.
- Place Fruit First
If you can’t see the “bad” stuff – the chocolate bars, packets of crisps and the biscuits, you’ll be less likely to eat them. Put the bad stuff to the back of the cupboards or into containers that are opaque so that you can’t see it, then put the fruit first – have it in full view in clear plastic containers or in a fruit bowl. You’ll be much more likely to reach for a healthy, low calorie snack – helping to prevent overeating.
- Drink a Glass of Water
You might have thought you were hungry, but actually, you might just have been thirsty. Drink a glass of water and wait half an hour before eating – the glass of water might satisfy you more than you might think.
- Use Your Hands
If you want to eat, but you know that you’re already full and that you actually don’t need to eat anymore, distract yourself by using your hands. For example, painting your nails is a great trick – you can’t get stuck into a bag of crisps with wet nails. Plait your hair, rub in some hand cream or just get doodling.
- Brush Your Teeth
A great distraction technique when you’re feeling peckish or if you’ve got food cravings is simply to go to the bathroom and brush your teeth. This tricks your mind into thinking that you’ve eaten, but you’ll also get a sweet, fresh, minty flavour and minty fresh breath.
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