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The saying “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” is used to chastise people who appear to be taking more food than they can possibly eat. People may also use this phrase in retrospect, indicating that they took more food than they needed, resulting in waste. Since many cultures have an aversion to wasting food, some version of this slang term is present in many languages, as a reminder to people that they should think carefully before portioning out food, to ensure that they only take as much as they need.
Obviously, one's eyes are not literally bigger than the stomach. The idea is that because someone is hungry, he or she overestimates his or her stomach capacity, taking more food than can be eaten comfortably. This can also happen when someone is confronted with extremely rich food; it may seem possible to eat a large portion until the diner actually bites in and realizes that the food is very filling.
Often, your eyes are bigger than your stomach when you are extremely hungry, or when food looks particularly good. Especially when confronted with a buffet line or invited to serve oneself, it can be tempting to take a heaping portion, rather than to take a moderate portion and go back for seconds if it seems necessary. After a long day or hard exercise, it is common for people to not invest a lot of thought in how much food they take.
One way to address this common problem is to pledge to take a small portion and rest before taking seconds. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to realize that you have eaten your fill, and if you've already gone for seconds, you will waste the plate of fresh food. Taking small portions and savoring the time between the first and second helpings can also allow people to appreciate their food more fully.
If your eyes are bigger than your stomach on a regular basis, you might also want to try tricking your eyes. For example, you can use smaller plates, which will allow you to fill the plate entirely but still end up with a smaller portion. It is also possible to use divided plates which can be used to measure out portions; many nutrition stores sell such plates, often with recommended portion sizes for various foods printed right on them.
If you know that you often take too much food after particular activities, it can also help to eat a small snack before eating, to take the edge off your hunger. A handful of something rich in protein like nuts can be ideal for a pre-meal snack.