Ask the Diva: How to Control Overeating?

Nutrition Diva gives two helpful tricks to keep yourself from overeating.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
2-minute read


Q. I understand the principles of portion control, but I can't help constantly overeating. I know there is more food right in the fridge/my desk drawer/the cafeteria.  How do I control my urge to eat when I don't need to? I've tried snacking on carrots and apples, but they don't satisfy me when I know there is something sugary or starchy nearly within my grasp. Help me, Nutrition Diva!

A. It might help to think of your inner snacker as a small child and deal with her accordingly. The easiest way to keep kids from begging for candy in the checkout aisle at the grocery store is to choose the "candy-free" aisle. Similarly, do what you can to remove temptation from your environment. Don't keep sweets or snacks in your desk drawer, fridge, or snack cupboard. Don't even bring them home from the grocery store! Make sure you have enough healthy food to get you through the day and then stay out of the cafeteria at work. It helps if your healthy food options are interesting and appealing, so spend some time developing your repertoire of healthy foods that you really like! 

See also: The Power of Planning

In addition, develop some effective redirection strategies.  You've probably seen parents use this tactic, as well. (Maybe you've even used it yourself!) If a small child picks up something they shouldn't be playing with, simply snatching it out of their hands is likely to provoke a tantrum. A savvy caregiver will instead offer the child a more appropriate toy. When the child turns their attention to the new toy, the other object is gently removed from sight.

Similarly, come up with something enjoyable (and, preferably, active) to do instead when the urge to snack or overeat arises. Instead of walking to the cafeteria, take a quick walk outside with a coworker whose company you enjoy. 

See also: Taming Your Inner Toddler

Overeating image from Shutterstock

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.