These 5 Tricks Will Prevent You From Overeating

You may laugh about your burrito-induced “food baby” and Thanksgiving “food coma,” but overeating feels physically and emotionally awful — especially when it happens regularly. Overeating is simply the act of consuming more calories than needed in large portions leading you to feel uncomfortably full. Whether this happens to you on a regular basis or just during holidays and vacations, it’s probably not something you enjoy. In addition to the sick feeling in your stomach and indigestion, you may feel guilt, low self-esteem, and out of control.

Here are some easy-to-implement tips that can help you stay in control of your relationship with food.

1. Serve yourself moderately

salmon with spinach and potatoes

Keep this moderate serving size in mind. | iStock.com

According to a study in the International Journal of Obesity, the average adult eats 92% of what they serve themselves. This means, if you serve yourself a giant mountain of mashed potatoes, you’re probably going to eat them all. If you have trouble with portion control, serve yourself a smaller amount to start and if you’re still hungry, take a small second serving later.

2. Focus on look, smell, taste

woman eating fruit cake

Savor your food. | iStock.com

When you’re hungry, you probably thoughtlessly gorge on whatever is within arms reach. This mode of eating gets you full faster, but can lead you to overeat since you’re not giving your body time to digest the food and give you the “full” signal before you move onto your next serving. Before eating a meal or snack, take a moment to notice how the food looks and smells. Savor the process of eating. When you begin to eat, bring your attention to the taste and texture. According to a 2011 study in the research journal Appetite, women who ate with their senses consumed less of their afternoon snack when they ate lunch mindfully and without any distraction.

3. Drink more water

Girl drinking water bottle

Don’t forget about water. | iStock.com/jasam_io

It’s not uncommon for people to mistake thirst for hunger. Before you dive into your lunch at 10 a.m. because you feel starved, drink a glass of water and wait. Chances are your body is just thirsty and by giving your body what it needs, you can put off your lunch for another hour or two. Water is also a great way to boost your metabolism and curb hunger. Make it your mission to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. You can tell if you’re properly hydrated by the color of your pee. 

4. Don’t get too hungry or too full

an overweight man

Keep hunger in check. | iStock.com

Beating the tendency to overeat can lie in your ability to listen to your body. Before you eat, take a moment to honestly evaluate your hunger level. The best time to eat is when you’re moderately hungry. If you wait until you’re starving, or even hungry, the risk of binge eating is high. Once you’re eating, be mindful of how your body feels. It’s best to stop eating when you’re satisfied — not full, but also not hungry. When you step into the realm of being full or stuffed, you’ll probably experience bloating, discomfort, and mild heartburn.

5. Understand what you need

a diet plan

Stick to a plan. | iStock.com

It can be easy to feel like your body really needs that extra serving of spaghetti, but in reality, your body probably functions best with less food than you think. When your diet doesn’t feel like a guessing game, it will be easier to make smart decisions. The Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Weight Pyramid takes the guesswork out of how many calories you think you need. Simply plug in your age, height, weight, and whether you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight, and it will provide you with the number of daily calories to shoot for and what foods those calories should come from.