Avoid the Daily Munch-a-Thon
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Fitness

Avoid the Daily Munch-a-Thon

Try these tricks to resist food temptations and curb overeating.

There's a restaurant or fast-food joint on every other corner serving curly fries, buffalo wings, and ice cream in 55 flavors. No wonder you're always hungry. "Our calorie-seeking biology is not designed to deal with this kind of relentless food exposure, which is one of the reasons Americans are fatter than they were 30 years ago," says researcher Andrew B. Geier, an experimental psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, you can't turn off your senses, but here's what you can do:

At a restaurant...

Fool your belly (and brain). "Research has shown that people view food, whether it's a half cup or a heaping plate, as one serving unit. So have the waiter box half of your dish before even bringing it to the table. If you don't see the missing portion, you won't feel deprived," Geier says.

At the grocery store...

Shop for later, not now. "You tend to crave and buy fattier foods for dinner that night as opposed to meals for the rest of the week," Geier notes. "You see yourself as a healthier eater when you plan ahead."

At the mall food court or drive-through...

Have your order in mind at the drive-through and make a beeline to the healthiest kiosk at the food court. "You already know what's there; don't let all the choices overwhelm your brain," says Geier.

At the buffet...

Follow the two-item-only rule. Geier says, "Increased variety leads to increased consumption. If you keep introducing new foods, your brain won't register when you're full."

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2007.

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