Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size

3 Tactics to Prevent Overeating

What's the best way to keep from binging?

3 Tactics to Prevent Overeating continued...

And here are some comments from experts who fall somewhere in the middle of the other two camps:

  • Several experts said that there's no single approach that works best for everyone. "It is true that the easy-to-access presence of something desirable makes it hard to resist," Paul Rozin, PhD, professor of psychology at University of Pennsylvania, tells WebMD. "But if you have some, that can be either satisfying or produce more ingestion."  Roberts stressed the importance of being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses.


  • Christina Baker, PhD, with the Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, believes the decision to eat is influenced by different factors, including genetics and the environment. Baker’s experience has been that it's very difficult for some people to incorporate moderate amounts of certain foods (usually sweets) into their diets because once they have a little, they just can’t stop. "For these individuals, perhaps avoidance is a reasonable long-term strategy," Baker tells WebMD. On the other hand, Baker has many patients who experienced restricted eating in their childhoods, but are able to eventually integrate favorite foods into their diets in a way that doesn’t lead to overeating.

The Bottom Line

Not only can you find researchers on both sides of the "out of sight" and the "absence makes the heart grow fonder" approaches, there is also some research to support both views. There's no simple answer to most questions about eating behavior, and this is no exception.

But perhaps the people who use the "out of sight, out of mind" approach are stopping short of doing some of the hardest, most essential work. Developing eating competency skills, like portion control and hunger recognition, may take some time. And understanding what is going on when you feel out of control around certain foods isn't easy. But being able to enjoy your favorite foods, in a positive, peaceful way, as part of a complete healthy lifestyle -- I'd say that's well worth the work.

Reviewed on September 14, 2007

Today on WebMD

measuring waist
4 tips for shedding yours.
apple cider vinegar
Does it have health benefits?
Chocolate truffle
For weight loss, some aren’t so bad after all.
woman holding red dress
24 simple, practical tips.
woman shopping fresh produce
butter curl on knife
eating out healthy
Smiling woman, red hair
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens

Special Sections