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Break the cycle of overeating

Eating habits can be hard to break – we have usually practiced the habits over a long time and our brains have forged well-trodden neural pathways!

Simple behavioural changes can really help break down the habits and help when the temptation to overeat arises.

In this post I share some changes you might like to incorporate into your daily life.


woman with guilty look eating from open fridge with plate of goodies in hand

Listen to your body’s hunger and fullness signals

Highly processed foods can manipulate these signals in your body, so try to reduce the amount of these foods in your daily diet.

When you go to eat, ask yourself if you are actually hungry, or whether you are fulfilling another need with food. You may, in fact, be thirsty, so have a drink of water and ask yourself again!

When you are hungry, eat slowly and savour your meal or snack – don’t wolf it down! Give your brain a chance to register what you are eating and how much.

Eat only until you are comfortably full – you may even be leaving some food on your plate – that’s okay!

Eat regularly and don’t deprive yourself

Try to stick to three good meals a day with healthy snacks in between. Don’t let yourself get to the point of extreme hunger – this is often when bingeing occurs.

Allow yourself to have a treat food once in a while – if you prohibit the food from your diet, you are likely to crave that food until you reach breaking point.

Practice mindful eating

Enjoy your food – think about the flavours and textures as you eat.

Don’t multi-task – turn off the TV and move away from the computer and turn your mind to what and how much you are eating.

Identify emotional triggers

Some people tend to eat when they are feeling sad, bored, lonely or frustrated. Instead of eating, substitute a healthier habit – if you’re feeling sad or lonely, ring a friend and have a chat or do some voluntary work. If you’re frustrated, go for a walk, have a warm bath or get stuck into a good book

  • Seek support from someone who cares for you, or from a group – try to work through the emotional triggers, rather than eat your way through!
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