#1. Take 10 Deep Breaths.
Breathe in and fill your chest with air, and breathe out with an even slow pace. If you’re in public, you can do this subtly and yet still give yourself time to pause and breathe. Then, resume eating if you wish, but with awareness of whether you really want more or not.
Breathing in with a large, deep breath and out with a slow, measured tempo causes you to pause for a moment to acknowledge your breathing. This pause opens space for awareness of what you’re doing rather than eating bite after bite without realizing you just finished the entire bowl. Once you’re aware, you can decide if you really want to continue or not, and why.
#2. Play a game with yourself: chew each bite 20 times.
Not only does chewing your food and counting help you focus on what you’re eating, it slows you down to extend the pleasure of the food. Why not draw out the flavor as long as possible?
#3. Drink a full glass of water between bites.
This will certainly fill you up quickly. Even if you don’t drink an entire glass, putting down your fork to take a few sips will still break the autopilot mode of fork-to-mouth.
#4. Get honest by asking «What happens right now if I stop?»
Would you feel robbed of pleasure? Angry, disappointed? Or victorious and proud? Imagine the scenario and what you would do. Then imagine how you’d feel an hour later, if you stopped before going overboard.
Just pausing for a moment to consider the outcome can build your momentum to stop. While it certainly may not be easy to stop eating when you’re in the middle of it, being conscious that you have the ability to make a choice gives you power.
#5. If you are by yourself, strip down naked and see how long you keep eating.
The awkwardness of it all can be enough to trigger your brain to stop.
#6. Keep a notepad close.
As you’re in the middle of eating or planning to eat more, write a list of at least 20 reasons why you should continue eating. This gives you perspective and awareness of what you’re doing and how you’re justifying it.
#7. Take your food and go sit somewhere where you don’t normally eat.
Maybe it’s on the floor in your living room, to a guest bedroom, to your backyard, etc. Going somewhere different keeps your attention focused on the present instead of slipping into the familiar pattern.
These tips are ways to «jolt» yourself awake to become conscious of what you’re doing so you can make a choice about whether you honestly want to keep eating or if you’re ready to stop. You can remind yourself you can always come back to it later. «Waking up» to what you’re doing and making a choice to continue or not puts you in power.
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