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How to Stop Overeating

Learn how to stop overeating from Allegra Broft, M.D. in this Howcast video.


As far as how to stop overeating there's no one set of strategies that's going to work for everybody. I can tell you some things to not do as an eating disorder professional that sees people that have struggled at times with overeating and then wind up in even deeper problems.

Don't do things like go on an extreme diet and decide to stop eating or severely restrict your food intake thinking that if you just sort of avoid food, or diet, that that will sort of get rid of the problem. If anything, that's actually likely for many people to make the problem worse since hunger builds over the course of a day and a person really can't go on hunger strike forever.

So that's one. Don't compensate for overeating with methods like laxatives or diet pills or anything like that. That doesn't seem to help. One thing to say in particular about laxatives is that they're not a good method at all for compensating for perceived weight gain that comes from overeating episodes. All laxatives are doing are moving water in and out of the body. You may get a little bit dehydrated a day or so after using a laxative, but as soon as there are more laxatives on board your body's just going to pick up the water again. There's really nothing that it's doing as far as managing extra calories from overeating.

Actually, the laxatives can cause you health problems. They can cause electrolyte disturbances and be dangerous if used repetitively, so absolutely not a good way of managing overeating or weight.

What I can say is reach out and get help from an experienced professional. Sometimes there are simple behavioral or nutritional strategies to put into place to curb overeating. If overeating is partially a product of struggling with food choices in other parts of the day and not choosing satisfying meals sometimes working with a nutritionist can be a relatively straightforward thing in making better food choices that will leave you safe and satisfied.

Sometimes there are also deep psychological reasons why people are overeating. Those are things that stand to be addressed in consultation with a therapist or someone that can help you get to the bottom of those issues, and then make a treatment plan for helping you stabilize your eating and cope with difficult emotions that may be driving the overeating in different ways and more adaptive ways.

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