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By Emily Abbate, FITBIE.com (TNS)

Overeating is one of those mindless things you almost always regret. Pending the environment, it can be caused by a number of things, ranging from good food being around, to eat all at once (i.e. chips), to your lack of preparation for a meal with friends. One thing we can all agree on? Life, and our stomachs, are much better when we reel it in and keep our eating habits in check. Check out these six ways to squash overeating, adapted from The Better Man Project.

1. Preload. Going out for dinner? A half-hour before you leave, eat a 200-calorie snack that contains at least 15 grams of protein. With a gut full of satiating protein and fewer hunger hormones circulating, you’ll consume fewer calories at the restaurant. Two good snack choices: a whey protein shake, or an apple with string cheese (contains satiating fiber and fat, too).

2. Stop before your tank is full. Picture a gas gauge in your belly. “E” means you’re ravenous and “F” represents a full tank. Aim to stay between half and three-quarters of a tank by eating before you feel famished and stopping when you’re satisfied, not stuffed, said Matt Lawson, M.A., a weight-loss coach for iBehaviorCoach.

3. Chew on it. You’ve heard this one before: Chew each bite 40 times. Well, there’s science behind it. In one study, men who chomped that many times per bite ate 12 percent less than those who chewed 12 times. Researchers believe chewing longer before swallowing speeds the release of gut hormones linked to feeling satisfied.

4. Eat like a restaurant critic. Take time to note the texture, flavor and smell of your food. Think about where it came from, the source. Saying to yourself, “Wow, this grass-fed rib eye from Wyoming is juicy,” can create a vivid meal memory that keeps you feeling fuller longer, a U.K. study found. (Note: That line works best when you’re actually eating a grass-fed rib eye from Wyoming.) And eating mindfully automatically will slow you down if you typically shove your food into your mouth.

5. Plan your grocery trips. Hungry shoppers really do load their carts with more high-calorie options, a study in JAMA Internal Medicine reports. The best time to shop is after breakfast on a weekend, said Anita Mirchandani, R.D., a New York City dietitian. If that’s not a good time for you, preload before you go. Also, studies show that going to the grocery store with a list will reduce the likelihood that you will purchase high-calorie foods that catch your eye.

6. Buy new dinnerware. The average U.S. plate has been enlarged by 23 percent in the last century. No wonder our waistlines have ballooned! The fix: Eat from plates with wide or colored rims. They make small portions seem larger because the plate looks more filled, according to research in the International Journal of Obesity.

Photo: Alysa via Flickr

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