How to avoid overeating - 5 tips

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Aug 25, 2015 06:00 AM EDT

Binging and overeating are some of the biggest struggles of dieters and those who want to eat healthier. It's relatively easier to portion meals when you're making them on your own, but eating out can sometimes lead to overeating. In fact, Men's Health reports that according to the USDA, 40 percent or more meals are consumed outside of one's home. So how does one deal when there are so many factors that go into overeating? Here are some tips.

1. Focus on food during mealtimes and do not eat "on the go." The TechTimes reports that a new study revealed that when people are moving while eating, they end up eating more. Lead study author Professor Jane Ogden from the University of Surrey said that people sometimes associate moving with exercise, and therefore justifies overeating.

"Eating on the go may make dieters overeat later on in the day," Ogden explained. Additionally, it is recommended to focus on their meals, and refrain from watching TV or using electronics while eating.

According to Men’s Health Nutrition Adviser Michael Roussell, Ph.D., "Multitasking lessens your body’s ability to sense the amount of food you are eating and thus how full it should make you. In fact, studies show that eating while you watch a screen of any kind leads to consuming more food and a reduced ability to remember how much you ate."

2. Make your own meals. By creating your own meals, you not only are sure of what you put into your body, you're also controlling your portions. Roussell said: "Restaurants entice customers by offering bigger meals, and unfortunately, many of us are conditioned to clean our plates instead of listening to our bodies."

Avoid this by DIY-ing your diet and researching recipes that fit your diet.

3. Address your cravings properly. Michelle May, author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat, told U.S. News: "People don't realize that satiety isn't just your stomach being full. It also incorporates your desire for certain flavors and textures." In fact, if you substitute a slice of pizza for an apple, you actually "keep eating, wanting to feel satisfied, but until you get to enjoy the taste and texture you were craving, you aren't going to feel satisfied."

The solution? Match what you eat with your cravings in terms of texture. Go for kale chips when you want to eat potato chips.

4. Get enough sleep. Sleeping seven hours a day can make a big difference in your health and wellness, and consequently, missing out on sleep can make your willpower deplete. Men's Health reports that lack of sleep can make you consume five percent more calories per day, so get enough rest to avoid eating more.

5. Create a better diet balance and reward yourself justifiably. According to May, "Extremely low-calorie diets set in motion a pattern of biological and psychological hunger and cravings. The human body registers food and calorie restriction as starvation, so when you follow a strict diet, your brain pumps out signals telling you to seek out not just food, but extra food in case you suffer from starvation again. It used to be that if we didn't listen to these signals, we'd die."

More importantly, create a reward system that won't put a dent on your diet, as attitude also plays a big part of your lifestyle change. According to Roussell, "The worst things you can do are beat yourself up when you eat junk food, or feel bad if the scale isn’t moving. Shame can drastically damage your weight loss efforts."

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