Strategies to help control the amount of food you eat are included in "Mayo Clinic: Healthy Weight for Everybody" (Mayo Clinic, 2005, $22.95, paperback). Here are the book's suggestions:
— Eat slowly. Quick eating creates a time lag between when you stop eating and when your brain registers that you're full. That makes it easy to overeat before you feel the consequences.
— See what you eat. Eating directly from a container gives you no sense of portion size. Seeing food on a plate or in a bowl keeps you aware of how much you're eating.
— Try to eat three meals at regular times. Skipping a meal during the day can cause extreme hunger, which can lead to indiscriminate snacking.
— Focus on your food. Avoid distractions. Meals eaten with the television on or while you're reading can lead to mindless eating.
— Serve smaller portions. At the beginning of a meal, take slightly less than what you think you'll eat. You can always have seconds, if necessary.
— Don't feel obligated to clean your plate. Stop eating as soon as your stomach feels full. Those extra bites of food that you're trying not to waste add unneeded calories.
— Keep snacking under control. Eating high-calorie, high-fat snacks often affects your enjoyment of regular meals.
— Share a meal. Many restaurant portions are generous enough for you and a dining companion to divide a single entree from the menu between two of you, and satisfy both your appetites.
— Ask for a carryout bag. Make it a habit at restaurants to ask that a portion of your meal be boxed up to take home.