From Medical News Today:
Overeating can lead to obesity and other health problems over time. However, people can take simple steps to control their appetite and eat more healthfully. These steps include eating slowly, checking portion sizes, and reducing stress.
The occasional oversized meal or snack will not cause too much harm, but, over time, overeating can lead to serious health conditions. These include type 2 diabetes, heart and blood vessel conditions, and obesity, which can lead to metabolic syndrome.
Between 2015 and 2016, approximately 39.8% of adults in the United States had obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In this article, we discuss some of the best strategies to help people stop overeating.
Tips to prevent overeating
People overeat for many different reasons. Some people eat too much when they feel stressed, while others overeat due to a lack of planning or because they use food as a pick-me-up.
While overeating has many different causes, there are as many ways to avoid or prevent it. Science-backed tips to prevent overeating include:
People often do other things while they eat. However, by not paying enough attention to what they are eating, many people overeat.
A 2013 review of 24 studies concluded that distracted eating could cause a moderate increase in immediate food intake and a more significant increase in the amount that people eat later in the day.
Limiting distractions as much as possible during mealtimes will allow the body to focus on the task at hand, which is eating. To do this, people should turn off computers, tablets, phones, and televisions when eating.
Researchers are not entirely sure why, but it appears that people who eat slowly have a lower body mass index (BMI) and eat smaller meals.
Eating slowly might give the brain more time to realize that the stomach is full and send the cue to stop eating. Taking more time to eat may promote a greater sense of fullness and make people feel as though they ate more than they did.
In a 2015 study, adults who slowly ate 400 milliliters of tomato soup reported feeling fuller after the meal than people who ate the same portion quickly. After a 3-hour interval, those who ate slowly also remembered the portion as being more substantial than those in the second group did.
To practice eating slowly, try putting the utensils down or taking a few deep breaths between bites. Some people also find it helpful to set a timer so that they are more aware of how quickly they are eating.
Eating healthful portion sizes
It is useful to know what meal sizes are healthful and how to portion out food. According to the CDC, people who have large portions on their plate often unintentionally eat more calories than they need.
To practice good portion control, try:
- splitting entrees or main meals with someone else when dining out
- asking for a to-go box and boxing up half of the meal immediately
- placing food on individual plates instead of leaving the serving dish on the table
- avoiding eating straight out of the packet
- putting small portions of snacks in bowls or other containers, especially when doing other activities while eating
- storing bulk purchases in a place that is hard to reach
- using smaller plates, bowls, or containers
It is hard to stick to a meal plan when the cupboards, fridge, or freezer contain unhealthful foods. According to the CDC, opening up a cabinet and seeing a favorite snack food is a common trigger of overeating.
Parting with favorite snacks or treats is a vital step toward adopting a more healthful diet. Try clearing the cupboards of tempting snack goods, and donate unopened items to charity where possible.