Eating when not hungry can often be avoided if we don't allow our eyes to judge our hunger.
Growing up, my parents often said that my "eyes were bigger than my stomach" if I neglected to eat all the food that I put on my plate.
The reality behind that silly expression is that your eyes are really terrible at estimating true hunger.
Here's proof: A study in the journal Obesity Research revealed that people ate one-fourth less food when blindfolded than when they could look at their plate.
That means their eyes always over-estimated the amount of food required to feel full and satisfied.
Use portion control to avoid overeating.
Otherwise your hungry eyes may betray you!
If you often continue eating when not hungry, are you checking your portion sizes? If not, you may be regularly loading 25% too much food onto your plate. Those extra calories translate, of course, into extra pounds you don't need.
Interestingly, by the time you start to eat that extra 25% on your plate, you are already full. You could stop and feel satisfied. But because your eyes fool you, often you don't stop. No wonder you are stuffed when you get up from the table!
TIP: An easy way to control portion sizes is to use smaller plates.
Don't fill up your plate based on what you "think" your stomach needs. Instead, estimate reasonable portion sizes. Or, if you don't want to do that, put only about 75% as much food on your plate as you think your stomach is asking for.
Half way through the meal, test whether you are already full (you just might be!). Close your eyes, and think for a few seconds about how you feel. When your eyes are closed, you can determine more accurately whether you need that next bite.
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