Saturday, July 23, 2011

You Can Stop Overeating

Do you catch yourself overeating? I do - not as much as I used to, but occasionally I still catch myself feeling uncomfortably full after a meal. You’d think after being a lifetime member of Weight Watchers for 17 years I’d have it figured out by now, wouldn’t you? So why is it still so hard to avoid overeating?

Researchers have found that people are influenced by a number of external cues that result in overeating, even when they’re aware of the cues. The key is not to educate yourself to the cues, but to change your environment so the cues aren’t there at all. Here are some suggestions:

- Use smaller bowls and plates to eat from. The food looks like more and you’ll be inclined to think you’ve had enough.

- Rearrange your kitchen so that the healthy food choices are up front in your cupboards and the refrigerator. Put the treats in the back so you have to work to find them.

- Eliminate family style serving, where you place serving bowls of food on the table. I did this right after I joined Weight Watchers and it really helped with portion control. I typically put only salad on the table and reserve family style serving for holiday meals exclusively.

- Repackage bulk foods into single serving sizes. You and your family members will be more inclined to stick to a single serving, which is healthier for all of you and easier on your food budget.

- When eating out, look at your plate as soon as the food arrives, and ask yourself how much you’d eat if you were at home. Odds are there will be more than that on your plate. Immediately request a box and put anything more than you would typically eat in the box to enjoy later.

- Avoid serving too much variety at once. While variety is great in terms of nutrition, it tends to result in overeating. Studies show that people eat more M ‘n M’s when they’re presented with an assortment of colors than when they’re given an equal number of the same colored candies. It’s the same with Girl Scout cookies. It’s okay to buy a variety, just don’t put them all out at once. The two-cookie serving size will turn into four – one of each – if you put four kinds on the table. (Keep this in mind with Christmas cookies, too!)

Give these ideas a try and let me know what other tricks you have to keep your serving sizes in check.

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