10 Helpful Tips to Stop Overeating
God designed our bodies to know when we’re full, but sometimes we don’t listen to those cues. When we eat past satiety, we are pushing the boundaries that God has naturally created within our bodies. Doing this repeatedly can really mess up our satiety cues. It takes time and patience with ourselves to relearn how to not overeat. Here are 10 helpful tips to help you stop overeating!
Helpful Tips to Stop Overeating
1. Serve smaller portions.
I don’t know about you guys, but I was raised to clean my plate. If there was any food left on my plate, my family would say “you can’t leave the table until you clean your plate”. Hearing that repeatedly growing up unconsciously instills that behavior into us over the years. But the beautiful thing is, that as adults we no longer have to continue this way of eating. It can be hard to stop eating when your full if you have eaten past satiety for so long.
An easy way to prevent this from happening in the future is to serve yourself and your family less food than you think you’ll eat. You can't eat what's not there. This will create a natural stopping point when you’ve finished what’s on your plate, you can ask yourself “Am I still hungry?”. If you are genuinely still hungry, grab another small serving. However, you’ll often find that you are no longer hungry! Talk about a life-hack, ladies!
2. Use smaller plates or bowls.
I love this one. I always do this with my family when I serve dinner. I will use the lunch plates instead of the dinner plates because they aren’t HUGE. As Americans, we tend to fill our plates. Let’s be real. We live in the land of plenty and are so grateful that we are no stranger to a full plate.
Thank God that we have the ability to do this when many around the world don’t. We can be grateful and at the same time make the conscious choice to eat less by using smaller plates. The same amount of food on a smaller plate, looks like more to us. Essentially, we are tricking our brains into thinking we’re eating more than we really are! Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!
3. Keep trigger foods out of sight.
Sometimes the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” really rings true. If you know you have a problem overeating cookies or potato chips, don’t keep them where you can see them all day, like on the countertop. Move them to the pantry, and if that still doesn’t help, put them in a container that is not see-through.
If you have some healthy foods in particular that you know you probably wouldn’t overeat, you can keep those in your sight. These food for me in particular are chia seeds, protein powder, hard boiled eggs, air-fried chicken, Greek yogurt and vegetables like carrots and celery. There’s a reason why the slogan “I bet you can’t eat just one!” is on a potato chip bag and not a bag of baby carrots!
4. Decrease variety.
You know why we always have room for dessert? Scientists like to call it “sensory specific satiety” (1). That’s just a fancy way of saying your taste buds are tired of eating the same thing, so anything that tastes or looks new, makes you want to eat more, even if you’re not hungry anymore. You can use this trick especially when it comes to trigger foods and while eating out at restaurants. If you’re out having lunch with your friends, instead of eating multiple appetizers, just stick to one.
5. Sit down at a table to eat, and just eat.
Sitting down at a table to eat means that we have made the conscious choice to eat. We often overeat when we are multitasking, and our attention isn’t fully on the act of eating. Instead of snacking in front of the TV or at your desk while working, make eating sacred.
Yes, I know this isn’t always possible. Sometimes we forget to eat breakfast and have to eat a protein bar in the car on the way to work. Life happens, I get it. But, if we just start to use this practice in our daily lives, it will inevitably save us from overeating in some situations, and every little bit helps, am I right?
6. Eat slowly & chew your food thoroughly.
Slow down! It’s not a race. Sometimes when I haven’t eaten for a while and I’m really hungry, I eat SO fast. I try my best to notice when this happens, and then make the choice to slow down. I remind myself that the food isn’t going anywhere, and I can take my time.
Taking the time to chew thoroughly gives our body time to catch up to the amount of food that’s in our stomach. This can help with satiety cues. It takes your body time to feel full, so enjoying your meal slowly and really chewing your food can help you eat less.
7. Eat foods high in fiber and low in calories.
Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diets, so I’m quite sure we could all use a little more fiber in our lives! (2) Fiber helps us feel full and that can help us know when to stop eating. You can work on getting more fiber by keeping fruits and vegetables on hand.
I like to wash my fruits and veggies as soon as I get them so that I can just reach in the fridge and grab some when I’m hungry. Some good examples are berries, carrots, snap peas, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, pears, and bell peppers. Nuts and seeds are also high in fiber but are also higher in calories so I would stick to small portions while eating them.
8. Pray about it.
God wants us to come to him with all our problems. God is our escape route from overeating! He said it himself in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
There is always a way of escape when temptation strikes. God tells us to call on him in times of trouble. We can lay our burden on him and he will happily take it from us. He isn’t annoyed, and he isn’t angry with us. He is always there for us and offers us much more grace than we give ourselves.
“Give all your worries to him, because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
His name is above overeating. His name is above worry, guilt, shame, and anxiety. Give your worries to the one who can free you from overeating.
If you catch yourself overeating, take a moment to pause and silence your mind. Tell God what's on your heart, and he WILL listen.
9. Give yourself grace.
God isn’t mad at us when we make a mistake. Instead of beating yourself up for overeating again, give yourself the grace that God would give you. Tell yourself you’ll do better next time and mean it! Guilt and shame are not productive feelings and actually feed into the cycle of feeling emotional and then eating because of it.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” - Hebrews 4:16.
Be conscious of your emotions after you overeat and go easy on yourself. If a friend of ours made this easy mistake, we wouldn’t shame them for it, so stop shaming yourself. Just do better next time. That’s all we can do, right? Learn from our mistakes.
10. Drink lots of water throughout the day.
Sometimes when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Our body isn’t that great on differentiating between the two needs, so we confuse hunger with thirst, but there’s an easy fix.
Keep water bottles on hand. If you leave the house, don’t leave without taking a bottle of water with you in case you get thirsty while you’re out. I personally love Nalgene’s reusable water bottles because they’re easy to carry around and come in a bunch of cute colors!
Using a reusable water bottle instead of disposable ones helps keep the planet clean too so it’s a win-win. I didn’t drink water up until 2 years ago when I met my husband. He carries his Nalgene with him wherever he goes, and I was so inspired by that. I got one and started drinking water every day.
I hope you enjoyed this list of helpful tips to stop overeating! If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for reading, and feel free to share this post with your friends. Stay tuned for more helpful posts like this one.
Remember that little changes can make a huge difference, and God is patient with us, so be patient with yourself too.
- Jenni Gunter