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Why do most diets fail?

Is it overeating? The answer, for the most part, is "yes." Overeating is the major cause of the obesity epidemic in America for the last 3 decades. Coupled with the reduction in physical activity and an increased intake of food--we are a nation that has an ever expanding waistline.

The Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia told Reuters Health. "In the U.S., over the last 30 years, it seems that the food side of the equation has changed much more than the physical activity side." If we are becoming an overweight nation due to our overeating, what can be done?

Our first inclination is to just starve ourselves. But this ends up backfiring because we go into a deprivation mode. This makes us overeat and in the end, you gain even more weight. If you are tired of this yo-yo and are tired of feeling guilty for overeating for whatever reason, hang on. Let's look at the ways to slay this monster.

Start writing in a journal.

Nip mindless eating in the bud by writing down your thoughts. Write down what you eat and how much of it that's being consumed. When we do this, we might discover how much we are taking in. Start jotting down your good habits and bad habits. It can be eating mindlessly during television or when you are on the phone. You might even be surprised when mindless eating strikes. Check in with yourself so you can review your strengths, weaknesses and make the necessary adjustments to achieve your weight goals.

What is setting you off?

Always identify your triggers. If a place sets you off, you want to avoid it. If a feeling sets you off, you need to find a plan B to avoid invading your cabinets for food. Emotions are usually a culprit when it comes to overeating. When were happy, we eat, when we are sad, we eat. Our emotions have a way of taking over all our inhibitions. There is why researchers found that 75 percent of eating comes from dealing with emotions. When you feel a negative emotion ride it out until it leaves and without going to food. Usually, the feeling will retreat.

Start eating better.

The single most important action to take to stop overeating is to eat healthier. This means to stop eating processed foods and eating more vegetables, nuts, whole grains and lean meats like chicken or fish. Cutting back sugar and caffeine will help you from being ravenous. Sugar gives you a high and then you crash. The next thing you know it, you are looking for more sugar to help build you back up. When there is sugar, there are calories! Snack on carrots with organic peanut butter, instead of sugary packed granola bars, candy and crackers.

Portion your food better.

When you portion your food for the week, it can help you refrain from overeating. People who do this are able to keep track their portions a lot better. This will also help you from skipping meals on the run. Additionally, it will help you resist snacking on on foods high in calories. If time is not on your side, you can order meals or purchase meals that are portioned out already. 

Drink water.

"Filling your belly with water will naturally make you less likely to overeat," the author of the Flexitarian Diet Dawn Jackson Blatner explained to Health.com. She said that water helps you feel fuller, but it may be a sign of "symptoms of dehydration may actually be what's causing your rumbling belly." Before a meal, aim to drink up to a glass of water. Try this trick when you are dining out. This will help you avoid overeating and help you skip the appetizers.

Get add adequate rest. 

A lack of sleep could be causing you to overeat. What happens when you are tired? You go for the sugary foods and for the caffeinated beverages to get through the day! These are the foods and drinks that pack on the pounds. Don't discount the importance of sleep as it is nutrition for the brain, WebMD explained. They went on to share that you need at least 7 hours of sleep. If not, the body will react and go for high-calorie foods to counterbalance the fatigue.

"When you feel the urge to go browse the pantry, go for a walk or play with the dog for a wholesome distraction."

Stay away from the kitchen.

When those commercials come on, stay away from the kitchen except for mealtimes. How many times do we find ourselves wondering into the kitchen when we are not even hungry? Also, leave the food in the kitchen as eating meals in front of the television will make you consume more. When you feel the urge to go browse the pantry, go for a walk or play with the dog for a wholesome distraction.

Keep your counters clutter free.

Always remember that out of sight is really out of mind. Don't leave temptations on the counters like cookies and other foods that might tempt you into eating. Your safest bet is to "keep fresh fruit and healthy snacks on the counter and in the fridge. Store all foods with empty calories in the cabinet or pantry—out of sight means out of the stomach," the Huffington Post reported. Better yet, don't buy your bait foods and then you will have a house free of temptations.

Simple willpower is not enough to stop from overeating. We need to implement action if we want to see a change in our lives. You can do something now by being more mindful, harnessing emotions, journaling and keeping temptations out of sight. This won't happen overnight, but by doing something small to fight overeating, you build on it where it will become a healthy habit.
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