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'Why Am I Fat?'

8 reasons you may be eating too much.

4. Food that's Fast, Convenient, and Inexpensive

Fast-food restaurants on every corner offering inexpensive food also encourage us to eat more and more often. Combo meal deals sound like a bargain, but they are loaded with fat, sodium, and calories.

Also, "when you eat lots of fast food, it all starts to taste the same, and you can become satisfied with a small range of flavors and sometimes it is hard to get enough," says Moores.

To help yourself resist the temptation, work on developing a taste for the subtle, natural flavors of food, suggests Moores.

Dietitians recommend limiting visits to fast-food restaurants to once a week. And, they say, choose the healthier menu options -- like salads and grilled chicken sandwiches -- even if they cost a little more.

5. Portion Distortion

Our idea of a normal portion has become skewed, in part because so many restaurants serve oversized portions. "Giant portions seem to have evolved into the norm, and many people have trouble understanding how much they should eat," Moores says.

To understand what a portion should look like, pull out the measuring cups, and see how your portions stack up against WebMD's Portion Size Plate tool or the standards from the U.S. government's mypyramid.gov web site.

Another answer to the portion dilemma is to eat more foods that are less calorically dense. These are foods that contain lots of water and fiber, but not many calories -- like fruits, vegetables, salads, and broth-based soups. Researcher Barbara Rolls, PhD, and colleagues at Penn State University found that it's possible to reduce calories without increasing hunger by eating more of these types of foods.

Mindful eating can help here, too. "Eat slowly, taste the food and become more in touch with what you are eating and how it tastes so you can enjoy it more and start to appreciate satisfaction with smaller portions," Moores says.

6. Giant-Size Packages

You'll find plenty of bargains on mega-sized packages at super-discount stores like Costco or Sam's. But unfortunately, experts say, these giant containers can affect us on an unconscious level and cause us to eat more. Researchers have found that when you eat from a large container, you are likely to consume 25% to 50% more than you would from a smaller package -- especially when you're eating snacks and sweets.

"First, try to get out of the habit of always eating something while you are sitting, relaxing, or watching television," says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Tara Gidus, MS, RD. "Try a cup of tea, glass of water, or chew a piece of sugarless gum. If you want a snack, portion it out of the bag or container or buy smaller packages like the 100-calorie snack packs."

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