Your Excuse: "I Can't Stop Overeating!"

The Excuse Buster: Most of us have completely lost touch with our body's natural trigger for satiety. We may begin eating a meal to address our physical hunger, but continue eating long after our stomach is satisfied - purely for emotional reasons. Can you tell when your body has had enough food? Or is an empty plate your signal to stop eating?

One of the easiest ways to control your food intake is to simply pay attention to when your body says, "enough". Believe it or not, your body does let you know when it has received enough food for the present moment. The problem occurs when you stop listening. For example, have you ever been out at a restaurant enjoying a great meal with friends, when suddenly you realize that you are stuffed to the gills? Fullness hits you like a ton of bricks, and suddenly you realize you have moved beyond "full" into "extremely uncomfortable". You may have heard it said that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a signal to your brain that you are full, but if you pay close attention to your body while eating you'll realize that there are subtle clues that take place even before that happens.

First you will notice after several bites that you no longer feel those empty stomach symptoms, like rumbling, growling, and hollowness. Next you'll probably notice that you feel good - not necessarily full but definitely more satisfied. Finally you'll feel a subtle "click"; an inner shift where you just know that your body is saying, "Good, I've had enough to eat."

Of course, in order to recognize these signals, you need to be paying attention. That means avoiding being distracted while eating and focusing as much of your attention on your meal as you can. This is not always easy to do, but it's necessary if you want to learn to eat more consciously. Remember too that conscious eating takes practice, especially if you have gotten out of touch with your own body. The more you make an effort to stay connected and aware, the better you'll be able to discern your body's signals and know when to say "when".