Avoid overeating

One of the key eating behavior predictors was “avoiding situations that encourage overeating.”  (Thomas and Wing 2009).  I decided to compose a list of these situations.

Buffets:  All you can eat restaurants are one of the first things that would spring to mind.  Even at Salad bars, be aware of the calorie density of the various offerings.

Potlucks:  Even when you take smaller amounts, having a vast array of foods to choose from can sometimes lead us astray.  If it is homemade or special holiday foods, there may be a particular tendency to select food from an emotional and not rational basis.  Try to keep a healthful plate of food in mind when you load up at a potluck.  If you don’t really know what something is made of as with casserole or pre-dressed salad, just take a bite and eat mindfully.  It’s okay to savor a delicacy, but assume these mystery foods are maximum calorie density.  Smaller plates may lead to multiple plate syndrome.

Family style:  Many Chinese and Pizza restaurants serve food family style, meaning it is up to you to load your plate appropriately.  The plates are often smaller than at home, tempting us to take more than one.  Try to stick to the kinds of portions you would do at home:  a baseball of carbs, a deck of cards of meat, and more vegetables than either of those.

Fast food combos and upsizing:  It’s hard in these situations to resist the “value” of fries and a drink for only a dollar more.  Try to think of the time it will take to burn those calories exercising.  What is an hour of your time worth?  The up side to fast food chains is the availability of their nutrition facts.  Make good use of them.

NWCR maintainers eat fast food very seldom, and eat away from home about 3 times a week.  What strategies do you employ in eating out?  What are some other situations that might encourage overeating?


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