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

# 1. Take 10 deep breaths.

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

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

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

Chewing food and counting not only helps you focus on what you are eating, it also slows you down to extend the pleasure of food. Why not extend the flavor as long as possible?

# 3. Drink a full glass of water between bites.

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

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

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

Pausing for a moment to consider the result can create momentum to stop. While it’s true that it may not be easy to stop eating when you’re in the middle of it, being aware that you have the ability to make a decision empowers you.

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

The discomfort of all of this may be enough to make your brain stop.

# 6. Keep a notepad close by.

When you’re eating or planning 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 go sit where you normally don’t eat.

Maybe it’s on your living room floor, in a guest bedroom, in your backyard, etc. Going to a different place keeps your attention focused on the present rather than slipping into the familiar pattern.

These tips are ways to “wake up” in a jolt to become aware of what you are doing and to be able to choose whether you honestly want to keep eating or are ready to stop eating. 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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