I got this from the Ninemsn site
Do you overeat?
Any time you eat when you're not hungry is actually an instance of overeating. It can occur at any time of the day or night, with a main meal or in between meals. Children can overeat many times during the day. It can happen when they demand snacks close to meal time or when they eat too much for their age at lunch and dinner.
Discover when or why you or your child eats when they are not physically hungry. This can be done through keeping a food diary or "self-watching". It can help you pinpoint problems or events that trigger the impulse to overeat.
Feelings and events that can lead us to overeat
Do you eat for any of the following reasons:
To cheer yourself up?
To reward yourself?
When you feel nervous?
When you feel depressed?
When you feel angry?
When you feel bored or there is "nothing to do"?
To occupy yourself or delay doing something?
To prevent possible hunger (you're not hungry now but you may be in a couple of hours and there may not be any food)?
When you entertain friends?
When you go to a friend's home or a restaurant?
When you watch TV, read or work?
When you see tempting foods?
While you are out shopping, or when you've just done the shopping?
Old habits die hard
We often eat from habit or because of feelings other than hunger. Much of our eating is done to make us feel better when we're low. Food can be an excellent tranquiliser and does give you a few moments of pleasure. But when you're trying to lose weight these moments of pleasure add up to being excessive intake.
Ask yourself, "Do I need it or do I want it?" The answer will often cause you to think differently about your food choice.
Does the following sequence seem familiar: finishing an ample dinner. Sitting in a favourite easy chair. Watching a lousy TV show. Feeling bad. Arguing with spouse. Feeling upset. Going to the kitchen. Opening the fridge. Eating leftover cake or having a beer. Feeling guilty. Wanting more to eat and drink.
Perhaps you can think of your own examples of feelings that lead you to eat or drink when you didn't plan to? Write them down.
You may find it helpful to discuss these feelings with your supportive family or friends. Also try writing down a few alternative actions that you could do instead of eating and give them a go next time you are faced with the situation.
Changing bad habits
Once you're aware of the things that cause you difficulty, you can plan ways to deal with them. You need to have an alternative to eating — and what you do instead of opening the fridge must be readily available. That is the secret. Your willpower and motivation may not always be enough, but you can overcome those tricky moments if you have an appropriate alternative readily available.
How to develop good habits
Start by thinking of things that are not possible to do while eating, for example: writing an e-mail, or lying down to practise relaxation, having a shower, reading aloud. Share your list with your family or friends; they might have some good ideas that may be fun, or set some house rules around where and when food is eaten.
Another way to deal with old habits is to delay eating. Hunger pangs are relatively short-lived, so interrupt them by a 10-minute delay. Use a pleasant activity such as phoning a friend, taking a stroll around the garden, or distracting yourself with necessary chores such as washing your hair, doing an errand, or sweeping the outside path.
Remember, changing the way you act with food starts with changing the way you think. You CAN control your thoughts. Practise, practise and practise again, until they become automatic.