All of us at one time or another have probably downed a supersize bag of chips, or cookies, or even an entire pie. Was it stress? Was it self-indulgence?
Nutritionist Leslie Beck discusses strategies for preventing binge eating.
"There are so many reasons for it," Beck says. "Stress, boredom, being depressed. Socializing -- when there's a huge variety of delicious-looking food, people tend to overeat; sometimes, too, just because it's there, it's in front of you, people are more tempted to eat, so there's lots of reasons why people overeat."
1. Keep a food diary
Beck encourages overeaters, especially those who are trying to lose weight, to keep a food diary for at least a couple of weeks. Write down everything you eat and you'll start to see patterns, she says. You can even write down why you're eating something and you may find it's because you're bored or stressed out or it's just become a habit in front of the television at night.
This helps you recognize your problem areas. Also, when you're writing things down, you may think twice about having something, she notes.
2. Buy smaller packages
"Studies show that when people eat directly out of big bags of chips, big bags of cookies, supersize popcorn, they eat 25 to 50 per cent more," Beck says.
So watch the jumbo or economy-size purchases because, especially when it comes to snack foods, they encourage overeating.
3. Plate your snacks
Never eat your snacks straight out of the bag, Beck suggests. When you eat that way you don't get a sense of how much you've actually eaten until the bag is empty.
4. Use a luncheon-size plate for your meals
If you use an oversize plate for your meal, it will appear to be a smaller amount. Psychologically, eating your food from the smaller plate will give you the feeling that you have a full plate with lots of food.
5. Use tall, skinny glasses for high-calorie beverages
Drink high-calorie beverages such as fruit juice, soda pop and alcohol from tall, skinny glasses.
"Studies from the University of Illinois show that people actually perceive that they get more when they drink from a tall, skinny glass," Beck says. "When people drink from short, fat glasses, studies show they drink 20 per cent more."
6. Have a snack before you go out
Whenever you're going out, whether it's to a dinner party, a restaurant or a cocktail party, have a snack before you go. Try a piece of fruit, some yogurt or a filling bowl of vegetable soup. By doing this, you won't arrive famished and be more likely to " >overeat.
7. Out of sight, out of mind
Put cookies, chips and other high-calorie snacks in an out-of-reach cupboard you don't use every day and you might even forget that they're there.