Simple Ways to Stop Overeating

For many people, overeating is a major problem. While many people ascribe overeating to a lack of willpower, the situation is more complicated. Overeaters’ brain activity differs from that of non-overeaters, according to scientists.  [1]

Fortunately, there are methods for preventing overeating that does not rely on willpower or brain rewiring. Let’s take a look at nine of them.

1. Eat breakfast.

It’s a big no-no to skip breakfast. People who skip breakfast are more likely to overeat later in the day and have a higher risk of coronary heart disease, according to research. [2]
According to another study, eating eggs first thing in the morning can help you eat less throughout the day.[3]

2. Slow down.

It may sound obvious, but eating slowly and mindfully is one of the best strategies for combating overeating.  Eating slower helps you feel full faster.

Related: Effective Self-Soothing Techniques For Adults

3. Use smaller plates.

The larger the plate, the more likely you are to overeat, says food researcher Brian Wansink. Most standard dinner plates are around 12 inches in diameter. Switch to a 9-inch plate and you’ll eat less.

4. Pay attention to your emotions.

To understand why you overeat, you must first become aware of your motives for desiring to eat junk food. Perhaps you eat compulsively to make yourself feel better or to deal with stress.

You’ll be more likely to develop personalized tactics to deal with your triggers if you can identify them.

5. Exercise more.

Following exercise, research suggests that your reactivity to hunger cues is greatly diminished.[4]
In other words, when you view a picture of a huge ice cream sundae, you’re less likely to want to eat it.

Not to mention the fact that exercise is a foundational habit that has the potential to transform your life.

Related: The Four Quadrants of Change and How to Make a Change

6. Choose nutrient-dense foods.

The quantity of nutrition packed into a given volume of food is referred to as “nutrient density.” Because veggies are often more nutrient-dense, you can eat a huge plate of broccoli to obtain the same amount of calories as a tiny cup of ice cream. 

Avoid meals like sweets, cheese, and soda, which don’t provide much nutritional value for your money. Instead, go for healthful foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, healthy oils, and beans. 

7. Pack healthy snacks for when you’re on the go.

Healthy snacks are an important strategy for avoiding overeating. Snacking on nutritious foods like almonds has been shown in studies to help you avoid food cravings. [5]

So bring healthy snacks to work, school, or other places where you go during the day, such as nuts, seeds, fruit, and vegetables with hummus.

8. Allow for one cheat meal each week.

Cheat meals are when you treat yourself to something you enjoy as a reward for eating well. This does not imply that the buffet should be a free-for-all.

However, one or two slices of pizza are acceptable. Depriving yourself completely increases your chances of succumbing to food cravings and overeating.

Related: Bedtime Routines for Children of Various Ages (Your Go-To Guide)

9. Plan for setbacks.

Implementation intentions assist you in anticipating roadblocks. The following is the basic setting for an implementation intention:

That’s what I’ll do if this happens.

If you find yourself becoming stressed and reaching for a bag of chips despite not being hungry, write down the following implementation intention: “If I become stressed and reach for chips, I will grab a piece of fruit instead” or “If I become stressed and reach for chips, I will go for a walk instead.”

This is an effective method based on behavioral psychology principles. A little forethought can go a long way.

Overeating can be difficult to overcome, but these techniques can help. You’ll be less inclined to overeat if you strive harder to create better habits. Take it one step at a time and celebrate the minor victories, and you’ll be able to break this unhealthy habit for good.


  1. Science Daily: Scientists identify brain circuitry that triggers overeating

2. Harvard: Skipping breakfast may increase coronary heart disease risk

3. Nutr. Res.: Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men

4. J Appl Physiol (1985): Aerobic exercise reduces neuronal responses in food reward brain regions

5. Kcal: 4 ways to control your food craving

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