4 Smart Ways To Handle Your Hunger

cupcakes on a counter

(BlackDoctor.org) — You’re stressed, juggling a LOT of work, not in the best of moods…and you’re hungry.

…and somebody just brought in a dozen doughnuts or ordered several pizzas. Or, you don’t feel like cooking and fast food is sounding REALLY good.

With diet traps lurking around every corner, it’s easy to overeat. Here’s how to navigate the danger zones without gaining a pound.

Diet Trap: Eating Slowly

Mom’s been telling you for years to stop shoveling in your food, and you know that this bad habit makes you consume more calories. But eating too slowly can also backfire. Research shows that the longer a meal lasts, the likelier we are to reach for a third glass of wine or dinner roll. Just sitting at the table means a greater chance of nibbling on something, even if you’re not hungry.

Sidestep It: A meal should last 45 minutes: long enough for you to enjoy it, but not so much that you’ll overeat. Make a 45-minute playlist, and get up after the last song.

Diet Trap: Too Many Choices

Ever wonder why it’s so hard to resist those pastries in the middle of the conference-room table, even if you had a hearty breakfast? Research suggests it’s because a plate holding a variety of foods heightens our senses and turns on our taste buds. Take away the choice and our senses get numbed, making a tray of the same type of muffin look less appealing.

Sidestep It: To help you say no to the bagels and doughnuts at your next meeting, bring a snack of your own, or pick a spot at the table where you’ll have to leave your chair to take one. You’ll be more likely to think twice about it, since you’d attract attention getting up.

Diet Trap: Easy Access

Are you more likely to indulge in a slice of apple pie a la mode (a) if you have to bake it from scratch or (b) if it’s sitting on your kitchen counter? It’s a no-brainer; we’re lazy when it comes to snacks. That’s what a Columbia University researcher found: Animals that had to press a lever 10 times to get food ate more often than those who had to do it 100 times.

Sidestep It: Avoid buying treats at the supermarket. This way, if your sweet tooth strikes, you have to walk to a nearby ice cream shop.

Diet Trap: In-Your-Face Goodies

If candy is in a clear container rather than an opaque one, we’ll eat 22 percent more, research shows. When we see something delicious, the pancreas secretes insulin, which lowers our blood sugar and makes us feel hungry.

Sidestep It: Keep treats under cover. If it’s not right in front of you, you’re less likely to reach for it.

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