You can’t avoid eating. It’s an essential part of living that gives your body the energy to breathe, move and enjoy life!

However, the reasons you eat may be more complicated than just providing your body the nourishment it needs. Whether it’s out of habit, to cope with negative emotions or to celebrate life events; you probably find yourself eating for a variety of reasons besides your body’s basic need. When you find yourself overeating, you may want to address the underlying cause in order to properly fix the situation. While you work on your emotions and reasons for eating, it’s helpful to have some ways to dealing with your daily habits with food.

Why do you overeat?

Simply put, food is good! You probably have a favorite food or even a favorite food for each category. A favorite dessert, favorite pasta, favorite pizza… It’s easy to get caught up in the love of those foods and overeat.

Another reason you may overeat is because your emotions are dictating your eating habits. You may eat out of boredom or to ease sadness. Whatever the emotion may be, eating is not the solution to coping with it. Becoming an chronic emotional eater can lead to continuous weight gain.

Celebrating with food is a common way to share your joy and accomplishments with friends and family. But, if you go from celebrating graduations to celebrating the fact that it’s Wednesday and you made it through the first two days of the week, then you may have a problem. Also, you may find that as your food celebrations increase, so does your waistline.

How can you stop overeating?

Some ways to stop overeating are simple, others are silly. However, the most effective ways to stop eating are the ones that work for you.

For instance, use common items to help you choose good portion sizes. A golf ball is a great measurement for a portion of nuts or peanut butter. Visualize a deck of cards when you portion a serving of meat. Don’t know what a serving size of fruits and vegetables looks like? A tennis ball is about the right size for those food servings.

Remember those plates with the built-in dividers that your had as a kid? Well, many department stores still sell these plates and they are a great way to section off your meal according to serving size. Sure, you may feel like you’re back in elementary school, but your portions will be under control.

Hunger and thirst can be deceitful. Sometimes when you’re thirsty, your body tricks your brain into thinking that you’re hungry. Next time you’re thinking about reaching for a quick snack, try reaching for some water instead. Drink a cup and wait about fifteen minutes. After that, if you’re still hungry have the snack. You might find that you’re more thirsty than you think.

Have you had enough fiber today? While water can help with thirst, when you are hungry be sure to consume foods that are high in fiber. As you may know, fibrous foods take longer to break down in the body and leave you feeling fuller longer. For those times when you feel like you may falter and give in to overeating, make sure you have support system around you. Calling someone up to say hi, to invite them for a walk or to hold you accountable is a positive way to encourage you on your weight loss journey.

Some other tips to make curb overeating are:

1. Curtail taste-testing – When you are cooking at home, limit the amount of times you taste your food before you actually sit down to eat. Doing so will help shave off a few calories during your day that will really add up over time.

2. Keep busy – Boredom is a likely reason that many overeat. When you’re at home and you find that you want to snack on something just to fill your time, try using that energy to do a few sets of push-ups, squats or jumping jacks while you watch television. You may want to take a walk or engage your kids or spouse in some quality time.

3. Fruit frenzy – After a solid, home-cooked meal you might find yourself craving a sweet treat to cap the night off. Instead, try using fruit as your dessert. It has all the natural sugar you need, plus it’s good for you. A great dessert for you and the family is a homemade parfait using Greek yogurt and fresh fruit.

Overeating can happen to the best of us. With a few tweaks of our diet and eating habits, we can all resist the urge to overeat and instead continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle.