Stop eating when you are full
Overeating isn't just a problem for those with eating disorders.
In a culture where excess is now the norm, it can be hard for most people to recognize hunger cues and stop eating when they're full – which often leads to discomfort, stomach pains and post-meal guilt.
But putting down your fork is mostly an issue of mind over matter. Follow these tips for keeping your appetite in check and your eating habits healthy:
Give it a rest
After you eat a meal – or even a snack – wait about 15-20 minutes before diving in for a second helping. It takes the stomach about 20 minutes to send the message to the brain that you're satiated. After eating, distract yourself with something or even set a timer. By the time 20 minutes have gone by, it's likely you won't be hungry anymore or the craving to indulge will be minimized.
Serve yourself less than what you think you want to eat. Your eyes are often bigger than your stomach, and by the time you finish what's on your plate, you may already be full. If there is food left, you will probably eat it out of habit. Put away leftovers instead of leaving them out on the counter or stove before you sit down to a meal. That way you won't be tempted to have more.
Water and fiber
About an hour before you eat, fill up with a glass of water or a fiber-based snack, like an apple. Both water and fiber will make you feel more full, which will prevent you from overeating at meal times.
Peppermint is a natural appetite suppressant, so suck on a mint or go brush your teeth right after you've finished eating. This will also help signal to your brain that meal time is over.
Avoid having meals in front of the TV or computer, as this usually results in mindless eating. When you're done with a meal, get up and move into a different room or part of the house. The simple change in location will help your brain shift from eating mode to activity mode.
If you know you have something to do after meals, whether it's walking the dog, meeting a friend or working out, you're apt to eat less. Arrange your schedule so you are required to get up and do things after meals. Otherwise, it's easy to overeat and stay sedentary.