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How to stop overeating: 7 ways to put down the fork

#1. Take 10 deep breaths.

Inhale and fill your chest with air, and exhale with an even slow rhythm. If you’re out in public, you can do it subtly and still give yourself time to pause and breathe. Then eat again if you want, but be aware of whether or not you really want more.

Taking a big, deep breath in and exhaling in a slow, measured rhythm causes you to pause for a moment to acknowledge your breath. This pause opens a space for awareness of what you are doing instead of eating bite after bite without realizing that you have just finished the entire plate. Once you are aware, you can decide whether or not you really want to continue, and why.

#two. Play a game with yourself: chew each bite 20 times.

Chewing your food and counting not only helps you focus on what you’re eating, but it slows you down to prolong the pleasure of eating. Why not prolong the flavor for as long as possible?

#3. Drink a full glass of water between rooster and rooster.

This will certainly fill you up quickly. Even if you don’t drink a whole glass, putting down your fork to take a few sips will break your fork-to-mouth autopilot mode.

#4. Be honest by asking, “What happens right now if I stop doing it?”

Would you feel deprived of pleasure? Angry, disappointed? Or victorious and proud? Imagine the scenario and what you would do. Then imagine how you would feel an hour later if you stopped before you fell overboard.

Simply pausing for a moment to consider the outcome can build your momentum to stop. While it may not be easy to stop eating when you’re in the middle, knowing that you have the ability to make a choice empowers you.

#5. If you’re alone, get naked and see how long you keep eating.

The discomfort of it all can be enough to make your brain stop.

#6. Keep a notepad nearby.

When you are eating or plan to eat more, write a list of at least 20 reasons why you should keep eating. This gives you perspective and awareness of what you are doing and how you are justifying it.

#7. Take your food and sit somewhere you don’t normally eat.

Maybe it’s on your living room floor, in a guest bedroom, in your backyard, etc. Going somewhere different keeps your attention focused on the present instead of falling into the familiar pattern.

These tips are ways to “shake yourself up” to wake up and become aware of what you’re doing so you can choose whether you really want to keep eating or whether you’re ready to stop. You can remind yourself that you can always come back to it later. “Waking up” to what you are doing and making the decision to continue or not puts you in power.

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