The Easiest Way to Prevent Overeating

Health coach, personal trainer, and Break the Weight founder Ricki Friedman has seen one technique work again and again when it comes to her clients who struggle with healthy digestion, portion control, and overeating. She tells them to take a walk.

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Taking a walk may sound easy enough when you're eating solo, but Ricki tells her clients who overeat to make a point to get up for a walk even when they're eating with friends. I can't even count the number of times I've cleaned my plate, stood up after paying the check, and realized I was uncomfortably stuffed. Ricki's rule? "If you have been sitting down for more than 30 minutes during a meal, get up and remove yourself." Going for a short walk outside or around the restaurant midmeal will allow you to step away from the social aspect of dining and check in with what your body really needs. When you head back to the table, you have a clear mind about whether you're still hungry or whether it's time to package up your leftovers for tomorrow.

This is way easier said than done for those (like me) who struggle with emotional eating. If you can relate and continue to have a tough time terminating your membership from the clean-plate club, take Ricki's other piece of advice and ask yourself, "What would happen if I just sat the rest of the meal and didn't eat? Would it still be enjoyable?" And if the food is the only fun part about your experience, it might be time to find some new brunch or dinner dates.

If digestion is an issue, Ricki suggests immediately going on a two- to five-minute stroll once you're done eating. Your body is always working to digest food, your metabolism is always running, and continuing to sit after a meal, planned snack, or unexpected indulgence only holds your body back from functioning at its top potential. Not only will this new habit support your digestive system, but a short walk also burns extra calories, prevents mindless snacking, and offers a welcome boost of energy — a very different experience than moving from the table to the couch, turning on the TV, and opening up the fridge or pantry an hour later.