Many women will tell you that watching what they eat (and how much) is a daily task on the old to-do list. Whether it's for weight management or simply to adhere to a healthy eating regime, preventing yourself from overeating needn't be obsessive but it can be beneficial in your quest to control what goes into your body.
Experts say that portion control is the key to avoiding overeating. But what do real women do? We asked them and here is what they had to say:
"I use the 'cheat day' system. This means that at the end of the week I can indulge in whatever I please for two hours as long as I've been healthy and controlled for the last seven days. It's a reward system that has helped me lose a lot of weight -- 70 pounds! If I feel myself wavering within those seven days, I have a mantra: 'Nothing tastes better than pants that fit. Nothing tastes better than pants that fit.' It might sound silly but it works!"
"I'll be honest: I'm not very good at stopping myself from overeating. I'm always caught in a cycle of eating as much as I want (not bingeing, but stuffing myself) or avoiding foods and cutting back to smaller portions. This may sound wacky but I think that tiny portions are healthier for the body. It's probably quite stressful on your organs to process huge quantities of food all the time, so really I should try to limit how much I eat."
"Planned portions are the key for me! I use smaller sized dishes to make my plate look full and never bring the big pot of spaghetti to the table to prevent the craving for second helpings. Another huge help has been when I plan out meals and snacks in advance. It requires a little bit of prep work, but if you know exactly what you're going to eat and when, you're less tempted to hit the vending machine when the 3 o'clock munchie monster strikes."
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Some more ways to stop yourself from overeating
"To be honest, it's a bit tricky for me to keep my portions in check because I eat out A LOT. So what I tend to do is think of my meal at a restaurant as two -- one for dinner, say, and one for next day's lunch. Most restaurant portions are way too big anyway, so I'll eat about half of my dinner (sometimes a bit more!) and then ask to take the rest home. Splitting it up makes the guilt go away -- not to mention the tummy-ache!"
"I find that overeating can be a real problem when I'm eating out. At home, I have much more control, but at restaurants, it can be more challenging because portions are so huge. I never force myself to clean my plate and I stop eating when I'm feeling satisfied. I avoid buffets and I never, never 'supersize' anything!"
"I stop eating when I'm getting close to being full and I don't load up my plate. I should still be able to see some plate when I sit down to eat. In the summer, I eat more frequently but smaller portions."
"I've never been one to eat an entire box of cookies or chocolates in one sitting ... but chips? Chips are another story altogether! So here's what I do: I pour a little cereal bowl full and put the chips away. If I can see the amount I'm eating, it's in my control. If I have an entire bag on my lap, the remote, and a rainy night at home to myself, all hell breaks loose and that bag is NOT going back into the cupboard! Bowls are a rear end's best friend."
"I remind myself that since I haven't been able to work-out since my daughter stopped agreeing to go to the child-minding service at the YMCA I used to belong to, and have had to make do with less exercise in irregular increments, I need to watch what I eat now. I load up on water or club soda so I can't pack away as much food."
"My diet is quite healthy most of the time. I eat a lot of protein with Omega-3 fatty acids, complex carbohydrates, fruits and veggies. Although, I think the key to my success is keeping my food intake in check is the fact that I don't deny myself of all of those foods that are considered "bad" for me. Sure, I can't eat chocolate cake every day (although I'd love to!) but I won't feel guilty if I splurge every once and a while. Moderation is key. If I can sustain a healthy diet during the week, come Saturday, I will indulge in a snack that is anything but healthy. You have to treat yourself, because if you put your body into a constant state of denial, you're sure to binge."
"Water, water, water. Not only is water fantastic for cleansing your system and improving your complexion, it also fills you up really quickly. I drink a lot of water while I'm eating and because it fills me up so much, I can't eat as much food. I find that this is a great way to control the amount of food that I eat at mealtime."
Natalie Bahadur is the web editor of styleathome.com. Read another of her stories for CanadianLiving.com, Things men want to tell women -- but don't.
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