Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

It can be easy to overeat at meals if you're a midlifer. We've usually been brought up to clear our plates and to not waste food which means we can often ignore our body's natural hunger cues. This can lead to overeating which in turn is going to hamper our efforts to reduce the weight around the middle. This blog post provides three simple strategies to help you avoid overeating at meals.

Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

We’re kind of used to overeating at certain times of the year such as Christmas and birthdays.

And it's not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambience.

It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.

But it doesn't always stop there.

Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.

If you’re a fellow midlifer, you were probably brought up with “no pudding until you’ve eaten your dinner” or “just think of those poor kids in Africa who’ve got no food to eat”.

If you’re a fully paid up member of the Clean Plate Club (like me!) then it’s very easy to overeat regularly. But if you’re going to start reducing your weight around the middle, you need to cancel your membership!

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals. And if you want to know how to turn these into habits and ditch the willpower, check out this previous blog post.


Tip #1: Start with some water

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it's too easy to fill a plate and dive into the food.

But did you know that it's possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.  And this super-simple tip may just help with weight loss.

Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.


If you find plain tap water hard to drink, try having sparkling water in a wine glass with plenty of ice and a slice of lemon or lime. It’s more interesting that the plain stuff!


Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”

You've heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?

This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly and savouring every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less. 

When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen and put your phone away too), off of a small plate and put your fork down between bites.


Tip #3: Start with the salad

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.

But don't start there.

(Don't worry, you can have some...just after you've eaten your salad).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they're full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fibre and water.

Fibre and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They're “satiating”.

And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal.


Your three things to try this week to avoid overeating:

  • Have your glass of water before you eat – fizzy or still

  • Focus on what you’re eating

  • Start with veggies or salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

Content Disclaimer

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Midlife Menu Ltd disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.