6 Research-Based Hacks to Help You Avoid Overeating

4 minutes

So you were at an all you can eat buffet. Before you left home you had vowed not to overeat tonight, and just try small quantities of whatever seemed interesting.

By the end of the meal, you need to unbutton your pants and need a few seconds to catch your breath after climbing down the flight of stairs.

You overate, AGAIN!

Well, here are a few hacks, all backed by research, you can use to not overeat:

1. Hide your food: The more visible your food is, the more you feel like eating. So if there are candies right on your desk and by your bedside you are more likely to eat them than when they are tucked away in a cupboard in the pantry.


Quite like a spurned lover, food also is, according to ‘Mindless Eating: Why we eat more than we think’, “out of sight, out of mind”. In fact according to research quoted in the book ‘Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life’, 

Those who tend to overeat at buffets are the ones who were most likely sitting facing the buffet, looking at all that food and seeing people go back for seconds, thirds, fourths – you get the drift

2. Work hard to get to the food: Imagine there was a bakery right outside your apartment, and a special moving walkway from your room to the bakery. How many pastries and doughnuts would you eat every night?

make your food hard to get

Now imagine, as a rule, that you had to physically cross over a barbed fence every time you had to get to the bakery?

3. Have a scheme for your meal: You tend to eat less when your whole meal is ‘planned’ in advance.

have a meal plan

You must foresee your meal. As observed by the author of the book ‘Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life’ :

The skinnier people first went through the whole buffet mentally and then only chose those items that they really liked, as opposed to the overeaters who ate everything in the order arranged, and ate anything they didn’t hate

4. Take your time to eat: It is a known fact, that when you are in a hurry, you tend to gobble down more food. So eat your meals at leisure, take your time to chew in order to consume less food.

A study conducted by University of Rhode Island in 2011, shows a co-relation between the rate (or speed) of eating and the amount of calories consumed. Women who were encouraged to pause between bites and chew 15-20 times before swallowing consumed significantly less number of calories than women who were encouraged to eat fast. 

Basically eating slowly lets the feeling of being ‘full’ set in

5. Limit the variety of food in the spread: It’s quite simple really, the more the variety, the more you will eat. In fact, it is advised by author Brian Wansick that you never have more than 2 items on your plate. You could keep going back for more, but you will eventually get bored of going back for seconds and will not overeat.

reduce the variety of food

According to research quoted in ‘Mindless eating: Why we eat more than we think’ :

When given the choice of three flavours of yogurt, people were likely to consume 23% more than when the choice was just one flavor

6. You eat more (or less) depending on whom you are eating with: But the problem is, you don’t realize it. Basically, barring a few exceptions, the more the number of people you are eating with, the more you eat.

As explained in ‘Mindless eating: Why we eat more than we think’ :

You consume about 35 % more calories when you eat with one other person, 75 % more in a table for four and 96 % more in a table for seven or more, as compared to when you are eating alone

So, these are 6 hacks to use to not over eat unconsciously. Of course, these tips are in addition to a healthy, balanced diet and sufficient exercise.

Do sound out your thoughts in the comments below. If you have issues with appetite or binge eating, get in touch with YourDOST experts for help.

Cover Image Source – http://cinemaescapist.com

Gayathri Rao

Gayathri is a psychologist by profession with over 5 years of experience. She is liberal by nature and a vegetarian by choice. She loves nature and believes in the healing powers of the mountains and the oceans, love and kindness.