Changing the volume of food you eat can be surprisingly hard to do. Humans tend to get used to the same amount of food intake every day. Diets can help someone cut down food intake short term, but long term change can be difficult.
If you’re trying to lose weight, cutting down food intake may be challenging but doable. In order to stop eating so much, a change in habit and routine are critical. Here are some simple steps to help you stop eating so much.
Load up on high fiber foods
One thing to help stop eating so much is to load up on high fiber foods. High fiber foods are high in volume, meaning they can help keep you full for long periods of time. By loading up with high fiber foods you can eat a large volume of food without high number of calories.
High fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. Incorporating these foods at each meal may help you stay full after the meal, and it may therefore help control food intake later in the day. High fiber foods make you feel full and satisfied, thus you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself. See also: Can fiber help you lose weight?
Reach for water first
Sometimes we confuse the signal to eat something when really the body needs water instead of food. When the feeling comes on to eat something, reach for a glass of water instead. If plain water sounds unappealing, flavor water with fresh citrus, berries, mint or cucumber to give it some natural sweet taste.
You should drink enough fluids throughout the day so that your urine is clear to slightly pale yellow. If your urine is darker yellow, you need to drink more fluids. In order to stop eating so much, make it a habit to drink water before you put food in your mouth. After you drink something, pause to see if you really need to eat something or if you just needed some water.
Don’t use food to deal with emotions
Humans use food for many purposes besides fueling your body for nutrients. Often eating habits are deep engrained from childhood years, and food can be used to deal with stress, anger, depression, happiness, etc.
Instead of using food for coping mechanisms with emotions, find healthy alternatives. Go for a walk, do yoga, dance, talk with a loved one, etc. instead of eating. This can be the hardest change in habit when trying to change eating patterns.
In order to break the cycle of using food with emotions, it takes a conscious effort to pause before eating and ask yourself why you are eating. Find the root cause of your eating habits. Are they tied to emotions? If so, decide what you can do that’s a healthier alternative instead of eating.
Don’t eat from food containers
It’s very easy to over eat when eating directly from food containers like a bag of chips, box of crackers or pint of ice cream. Instead of eating directly from a container, portion food onto a bowl or plate.
Eating a portion from a plate instead of a food container can better signal to the brain the amount of food your putting in your mouth. When eating from a large container, it’s easy to over eat without realizing how much food you’re eating.
Again, this is a change in behavior and habit. It only takes a few extra seconds to put food on a plate/bowl instead of eating directly from the food container. It may seem like an unnecessary step, but it can help you naturally control your food portion size.
Listen to your body
Another important step to stop eating so much is to simply listen to your body. Your body will tell your brain when to stop eating. However, it’s easy for adults to lose touch with the signals your body is sending.
Stop when your stomach is full, not when the plate is clean or the bag is empty. Instead of thinking about being in the clean plate club, don’t push yourself to finish the whole serving. This is another change in habit that can be hard, but must be shifted in order to cut down on food intake.
In order to change eating habits, it takes a conscious effort to pause before you put foods in your mouth. You need to change daily habits that may have been engrained for years. Some daily habits to change include:
- Eating a lot of high fiber foods. High fiber foods will fill you up and leave you satisfied, but are low in calories.
- Drink water before munching on something. Often your body needs water instead of food.
- Find out if your eating is triggered by emotions. Emotional eating can be a big source of extra calories. Find healthier alternatives to deal with emotions instead of using food.
- Portion food out onto plates/bowls instead of eating from food containers.
- Stop eating when you are slightly full, not stuffed. Listen to your body and stop eating when your body says instead of when your plate is clean or the bag is empty.