How To Avoid Overeating


At some point, we have all done it and it happens for a range of different reasons – overeat. Boredom, too much good food, not having the ability to clearly define and identify hunger or just because it was there are just some of the reasons why we overeat. If it happens occasionally, at celebrations and parties it is not such an issue. In this situation, individuals often eat less the following day and are then back on track with their regular eating pattern. For those of us who find ourselves overeating regularly and perhaps even gaining weight as a result, it may be time to take a closer look at why the overeating is occurring. 

Overeating is extremely easy simply because the body lets it happen. You know how strong a sensation hunger is? Well if fullness was anywhere near as strong perhaps fewer of us would have issues regulating the volume of food that we are actually able to eat. If it has been some time since you have managed to stop eating at the right time, it may be time to get back in touch with your body’s natural appetite signals. Try serving yourself much smaller portions, even half of your regular meal if you have to, and eat it as slowly as possible. Try ending the meal a mouthful or two before you usually would to remind yourself of what feeling comfortably full feels like. Such a process will take time, weeks even months but is an important process to work through to remind yourself of the body’s natural hunger and satiety (fullness) signals.

The most important thing to do if you or other family members are prone to overeating is to limit the type and volumes of food that are kept in the home. My clients are always shocked to hear that basically if food is kept in the home, you will eat it. Numerous pieces of research from renowned behavioural eating researcher Brian Wansick ( have shown that the more food we have around us, and the more of it we can see, the more of it we will eat. So forget the idea of having a lolly jar on your desk that you will only raid in emergencies; or keeping a packet of chocolate biscuits in the cupboard that you will only open if guests visit because if it is there, you will eat it. 

The final strategy that can be implemented as you seek to gain control and ultimately prevent overeating is to compensate when you do overindulge. A day of simple salad and soups and some extra exercise will not only help you to feel physically better when you have overeaten but it will help teach you to balance your intake with your output on a daily basis. 

Top tips for avoiding overeating

  1. If you really do not want to eat it, don’t keep it in the house
  2. Plan your meals and snacks so you do not get too hungry and more prone to overeat
  3. Avoid smorgasbords
  4. Put leftovers away immediately
  5. Eat lightly on the day you are planning to eat out
  6. End your meal with something small and sweet
  7. Go for a walk after meals to get out of the kitchen
  8. Do not over shop; buy only what you need each week
  9. Have a snack before you attend social occasions where food will be served
  10. Quantify your hunger and aim to only eat when you are at 8 or 9 out of 10

Susie Burrell

Please note: This blog aims to supply user-friendly nutrition information for busy people without comprising on food taste and quality but should be used as a guide only and not in place of advice from your own dietitian or medical specialist. For further information on this topic, please consult your health professional. The content of this blog, including attachments, may be privileged and confidential. Any un-authorised use of this content is expressly prohibited. Any views that are expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, except where the sender expressly, and with authority, states them to be the views of Susie Burrell Pty Ltd.
Category: Nutrition

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