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How to Avoid Eating When You're Not Really Hungry

How To Avoid Eating (When You're Not Really Hungry)

By Nutritionist Fiona Hunter

Nutritionist Fiona Hunter gives her top five tips for getting back in touch with your natural appetite. 

1. Learn to Identify the Difference Between Actual Physical 'Stomach' Hunger and Emotional Hunger

When you're on a diet you should avoid allowing yourself to get over hungry because this makes it more difficult to control your appetite. It is important to eat regular meals. Before you eat anything in between meals ask yourself if you really are hungry. If the answer is no then find something other than food that will satisfy the emotion that is making you want to eat.

2. Give Food Your Full Attention

Focus on your food and eat slowly. Make the time to sit down and enjoy your meals at the table rather than from a tray balanced on your knee in front of the TV. If you don't concentrate on what you're eating, you are more likely to miss signals saying you're full. The brain takes 15 minutes to get the message that the stomach is full so if you eat too quickly your stomach fills up before your brain knows you're full and you end up eating too much. Eat slowly and consciously chew every mouthful well.

3. Avoid Temptation

Never go food shopping when you're hungry. Always write a list and stick to it and avoid buying things you know you won't be able to resist. If you find that your will-power disappears the moment you set foot in the supermarket try shopping online. At meal times don't put serving bowls on the table. If you know you won't be able to resist second helpings or picking at leftovers freeze or throw them away before you sit down to eat.

4. Learn to Have a Healthy Relationship With Food

Don't deny yourself the foods you enjoy or feel bad if you occasionally succumb to temptation — denying yourself your favourite foods will simply create negative feelings, making your diet more likely to fail in the long run. Learn to eat the foods you really want in smaller quantities. If you have a craving don't try to ignore it — if you do the chances are you'll end up eating more food, and calories, than you would if you gave in to the craving to begin with. Many people end up eating the food they craved, after attempting to eat their way around it, because what they ate hasn't really satisfied their need.

5. Change the Way You Think About Food

Studies show that successful dieters are those people who learn how to change both their eating habits and their attitude to food.

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