It is easy to over-dramatise the odd extra helping as a ‘binge’ or ‘blowout’, but if you are consistently eating more than your body needs, there may be good reasons.
The stick: Multitasking
Whether it’s the portion sizes at your local, a bout of intense work stress or mindless nibbling in front of the television set, there’s a whole gamut of reasons why we eat more than what we need or when we’re not hungry at all.
Research suggests that when we can choose from a wide variety of foods, we generally eat more. Under the ‘smorgasbord effect’, new flavors are thought to stimulate appetite while bland or monotonous menus bore us into disinterest.
Refuel every 4 hours
Still cannot explain what true hunger feels like? Set your watch. Moderate to full-fledged hunger (our ideal window for eating) is most likely to hit 4 to 5 hours after a balanced meal. Waiting too long to eat can send you on an emergency hunt for energy—and the willpower to make healthful choices plummets. "Regular eating keeps blood sugar and energy stable, which prevents you from feeling an extreme need for fuel," says Kate Geagan, RD, author of Go Green Get Lean:
Eat breakfast without fail
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition tracked the diets of nearly 900 adults and found that when people ate more fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the morning, they stayed satisfied and ate less over the course of the day than those who ate their bigger meals later on. Unfortunately, many Americans start off on an empty stomach. In one survey, consumers reported that even when they eat in the morning, the meal is a full breakfast only about one-third of the time.