You already know that you shouldn't overeat, but do you know how to easily stop from crossing the overindulgence threshold? Here are 10 simple ways to turn common-sense rules you already know into daily food-moderation tricks. Try them on a daily basis and over time your efforts will add up to a healthier, more balanced lifestyle-not to mention a smaller waistline!
1. Drink first, then eat.
Are you drinking eight glasses of water each day? You should be for proper hydration-and making sure your body isn't confusing thirst for hunger. Before you reach for food to fill up an empty stomach, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes. This practice can curb the amount of food you consume.
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2. Order half in a doggy bag.
When dining at a restaurant, ask the server to bring out a half-portion and box up the other half to go. This will help with portion control and you'll have another meal to eat later!
3. Eat consciously.
Avoid eating in front of the television or anything else that takes your focus off of what you're eating at all costs. When you're distracted, you're more likely to continue consuming beyond a healthy, or hungry, stopping point. Instead, sit down at a table-not on a couch-and keep watch over how much you're eating.
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4. Eat less, more often.
Rather than eating three big meals during the day, eat five smaller meals throughout the day. Keep healthy snacks on hand, like carrot sticks or low-calorie snack packs, to avoid binge eating in response to feeling ravenous.
5. Take your time.
Leave the shovel in the tool shed. Take a small bite, put your fork down, chew, look around, ask someone at the table a question, or ponder life, and then take another bite. It's not a race. Enjoy your food. Pacing yourself allows you to truly savor, and at a minimum, be aware of, each bite you take.
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6. Don't wait for your body to tell you it's full.
Conveniently, your body alerts you when it's time to stop eating. However, it takes nearly 20 minutes for food to pass through your digestive system and let your brain know that you feel full. Be proactive! Before you feel full, pause for a few minutes while eating and see if your status changes from famished to sated without eating another bite.
7. Follow your fist.
Make a fist and take a good long look at it. That's about the size of your stomach. No, three pieces of pizza are not supposed to fit in there. Think about what it would take to comfortably fill a bag the size of your balled up hand and eat that much.
8. Do not stock sweets.
Whatever you keep in your pantry is likely to end up in your belly. Skip sugary snacks and stock up on fresh fruit instead. The next time you find yourself staring inside your fridge because you're bored, reach for a peach instead of pudding.
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9. Drown food when you're done.
If you're like us, you probably pick at food on the plate in front of you, even though you're finished eating your meal. End this habit by covering food with a napkin or, for a more surefire way to stop eating, pour water on leftovers (just don't make too big of a mess for your server to clean up), or pack them away and stick them in the back of the fridge.
10. Allow yourself small indulgences.
Quitting chocolate entirely is nearly impossible and will most likely result in a weak moment of binge eating. When you get a craving for sweets, eat one M&M instead of the whole bag. The tiny bit of naughty food will satisfy your urge and keep you from obsessing over the sweet treat for hours to come.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.
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