Eating too much in one sitting or taking in too many calories throughout the day are common habits that can be hard to break.
Over time, eating too much food can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of developing a chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease.
Regardless of whether you have an eating disorder, breaking the cycle of overeating can be challenging. However, some techniques can help.
The 7 tips below provide a starting point to reduce overeating.
- Know your trigger foods
Pinpointing which foods can trigger overeating and avoiding them can help decrease the chances of overeating.
For example, if ice cream is likely to trigger a binge or episode of overeating, it’s a good idea to stop storing it in the freezer. The harder it is to access something, the less likely you might be to overeat that food.
Preparing healthy options like a sliced apple with peanut butter, hummus and veggies, or homemade trail mix can encourage better choices when snacking.
Another helpful tip is to keep unhealthy snack foods like chips, candy, and cookies out of sight so there’s no temptation to grab a handful when walking past them.
So try to identify the unhealthy foods that trigger overeating. Keep them out of the home or far out of sight, and make healthy options easily accessible instead.
- Get rid of distractions
Whether it’s working through lunch in front of the computer or noshing on chips while catching up on your favorite TV show, eating while distracted is a common occurrence for most people.
While this habit might seem harmless, it can contribute to overeating.
So try to make an effort to turn off or put away potential distractions like phones, computers, and magazines. Concentrating on your meal during mealtime can help prevent overeating.
- Don’t ban all favorite foods
Restrictive eating patterns that eliminate many of your favorite foods may cause you to feel deprived, potentially leading you to binge on forbidden treats.
Diets that concentrate on whole, unprocessed foods are always best, but making room for an occasional treat is perfectly healthy.
That said, in the case of food addiction, a person may need to permanently abstain from trigger foods. In this case, it’s a good idea to find healthy substitutes that are satisfying.
Focus on providing your body with mostly healthy, nutritious food while giving yourself the freedom to truly enjoy a treat here and there.
Eating patterns that are too restrictive may drive binges. The key to a sustainable, healthy diet is to concentrate on eating whole, unprocessed foods most of the time while allowing for a treat here and there.
- Give volumetrics a try
Volumetrics is a way to eat that focuses on filling up on low calorie, high fiber foods like non-starchy vegetables.
Consuming foods that are low in calories and high in fiber and water before meals can help you feel full, which might decrease overeating.
Examples of volumetrics-friendly foods include grapefruit, salad greens, broccoli, beans, tomatoes, and low-sodium broth.
Eating a large salad or bowl of low-sodium, broth-based soup before lunch and dinner may be an effective way to prevent overeating.
Use the volumetrics method of eating — fill up on healthy, low-calorie, high-fiber foods to help promote feeling full.
- Avoid eating from containers
Eating chips out of the bag, ice cream out of the carton, or takeout straight from the box can lead to consuming more food than is recommended as a serving size.
Instead, portion out a single serving size on a plate or in a bowl to help control the number of calories you consume in one sitting.
Use measuring tools to train your eye on what a normal portion should look like for different types of foods.
Instead of eating food straight from the package, portion it into a dish. Try measuring out appropriate serving sizes to help train your eye to identify how much food is recommended as an average portion.
- Slow down
Eating too quickly may cause overeating and lead to weight gain over time.
Slower-paced eating is associated with increased fullness and decreased hunger and can serve as a useful tool for controlling overeating.
Taking the time to thoroughly chew food has also been shown to reduce overall food intake and increase feelings of fullness.
Focusing on eating more slowly and chewing food thoroughly may help you recognize signs of fullness and reduce overeating.
- Replace sugary beverages with water
Drinking sugary beverages like soda and juice could lead to weight gain and increase the risk of certain diseases like diabetes.
Studies have shown that consuming sweetened drinks with meals may be linked to overeating as well.
Avoid sugary beverages. They’ve been linked to an increased risk of diabetes and other diseases and may be linked to overeating. Drink water instead.