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How to Stop Overeating at Dinner Time and Night Time. Podcast Episode 115


Do you overeat at dinner? Or find yourself reaching for a comforting snack after dinner? You realise you're doing it but feel powerless to stop. 

If so, you're not alone. Overeating at dinner and night time is a common habit that many people wish they didn't have.

Dr Orlena explains how you can stop overeating at dinner time and night time.

First she looks at the "big picture". How what you do during the day affects what you eat in the evening.

Then she looks at coping strategies "in the moment". Simple tools to stop you from overeating when you feel the desire to eat more.

Transcript Of How To Stop Overeating At Dinner Time And Night Time Episode 115

Hello, and welcome to Fit and Fabulous with me, Dr. Orlena Kerek. I hope that you are feeling fit and fabulous.

I hope that you can't hear that building work that is going on outside. It's very frustrating. I hope that by the time I've cleared up this audio, it doesn't go chug chug chug in your ear.

Overeating Is A Huge And Important Topic.

Today, we are talking again about overeating. I realised that this is such a big topic that I've broken it down. 

The first episode I did was "How to stop Overeating." We had a look at the desires that were going on behind that.

In the second episode, we had a look at fear and the fear of hunger.

Today, we are going to be talking about how to not overeat at dinner time and How to not overeat at night time.

Dr Orlena’s Magic "Likes And Dislikes" Excercise 

Before we get started, I wanted to tell you about my "Likes and Dislikes" exercise that I have been doing.

Can you imagine If you could change your likes and dislikes?.

For example, you have a food that you love to eat and it's not helping you with your healthy eating habits. Let's say that food is cookies. You would like to not like cookies so much and conversely, it might be that you also don't like some healthy foods. You'd like to be able to like them a little bit more because eating them is good for you.

It's going to help you get to your health and weight loss goals. Imagine if you could say “I don't like eating cookies so much, and I do like eating broccoli a little bit more." 

Imagine If you could change those likes and dislikes.

Change Your Likes and Dislikes in 30 Mins with Dr Orlena’s Magic Likes and Dislikes Exercise. 

I have been doing an experiment, a thought experiment that I have learned from NLP training. If you haven't heard of NLP before, it's neuro-linguistic programming. It's an interesting concept. It's not quite science, but it's thinking about the way our brains work and how we jump to conclusions.

Understanding How We use Our Minds Helps us Create Healthy Habits

For example, you smell something and it transports you to a different time. It's almost like connections and patterns. You smelled something and it creates a connection to a pattern.

That pattern is whatever that picture was for you in the past. It's using this framework of connections, patterns and thinking we create these in our minds.  

How can we understand this framework more and use it to our advantage by changing those connections and patterns? Absolutely amazing stuff. 

Dr Orlena's  30-Minute "Likes And Dislikes" Experiment With Her First Client And Its Amazing Result.

My first experiment was amazing. It took half an hour. We had a half an hour chat. The lady in question said she wanted to decrease her like of cookies and increase her like of broccoli. We did this experiment and by the end of it, she said, "cookies do not feel so appealing and broccoli feels less scary."

Now in my book, that is a big win. We will see how she progresses and whether she can maintain those thoughts. It's an interesting experiment.

Grab The 30 Minute "Like And Dislike Experiment" While It's Still Free. 

I am running this experiment and at the moment, because I'm still experimenting. I am offering it for free to anybody who wants to do it in the next two weeks. It's half an hour of your time on a video call. If you're interested, either reply to one of my emails or email me at 

I will not be offering this for free indefinitely. As I say right now, it's a bit of an experiment because I'm still learning this process. So if you're interested reach out and email me.

Note: Since recording this podcast, I was overflowing with people wanting to do the free experiment. I couldn't keep up. I'm now offering this amazing exercise at $299. (Or, if you sign up for the "Overeating quiz" you can get a huge discount!

Why Are You Overeating at Dinner Time? The Big Picture

Let's have a think about how to not overeat at dinner time.

I'm going to split this up into two sections. In the first section, we're going to have a think about all those things we need to do and not at the dinner table so looking at the big picture.

Then we'll hone in and have a look at actual dinner time and nighttime.

The first big thing we need to have a look at is how we lead our lives. This is something that is very overlooked.

Overeating Shows you There’s Something Wrong in the 4 Pillars 

When we think about how are we overeating at dinner time, we tend to focus solely on dinner and what is going on at dinner. The reality is we need to take a step back and look at all of the things that we are doing.

Close up photo of a bowl of meat ball pasta #healthyeating #overeating #healthylifetyle #wellness #healthydiet

Eating Healthily Through Out the Day will Stop You Overeating at Dinner Time and Night Time

Hey, you know what? Have you guessed what I'm going to tell you? The big, big secrets? Yes, of course, my four pillars.   

So what are those four pillars?

The four pillars are:

  1. Nutrition: what we eat.
  2. Exercise,
  3. Sleep
  4. Emotional wellness.

Once we have got a good foundation and created good habits. It's all about habits and systems in all four of these pillars. You will notice naturally that your desire to overeat at dinner time diminishes.

What Is Overeating? 

For example, I often feel very full at both lunch and dinner time. I eat a diet that is full of vegetables and legumes and lentils. I feel like I eat an awful lot at both of those meals.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve overeaten, but have I really overeaten because I'm not gaining weight?

The definition of overeating is eating more than your body requires. 

Healthy Foods When Eaten In Right Amount Will Satisfy Your Hunger.

The reality is that these foods are not high-calorie foods. They’re bulking foods.

I feel very, very full after my meals I could probably do with eating a little bit less, but I feel satisfied. I feel.. the posh word is “satiated”.

I don't put on weight. I'm giving my body the nutrients, the energy, the nourishment that it needs.

When you're eating a healthy meal, you can eat a reasonable amount of food and it's not overeating.

How Does Exercise Stop you Overeating? 

Number two is exercise. You want to create an exercise routine that you love, that incorporates movement throughout the day.

We've talked about exercise before. I did some podcasts at the beginning of the year, talking about exercise and movement.

You want to be aiming to be getting out of breath and you want to be aiming to move throughout the day.

It's going to help you stop overeating as well.

One of the things that exercise does is decreases your insulin levels so that your body deals with the food it eats in a better way. Once you can get your hormones balanced, then you're more likely to not want to overeat.

How Getting Enough Sleep Can Stop you Overeating 

Pillar number three is sleep, Sleep is so important. I've done previous podcasts on sleep with Dr Zarrin. I recommend going back and listen to those.

The bottom line is that sleep affects your hunger. When you are sleep-deprived, you feel much more hungry. Not only hungry, but you want to eat those foods that are not great.  

It's almost like you want to wrap yourself up in a blanket of comfort.

Last week, I had to stay up super late. I was doing training and the time difference between the person that I was doing the training with is nine hours. The training was amazing that I decided that this time I had to stay up late, I didn't get to bed till half-past midnight. It was around one o'clock in the morning before I fell asleep.

Lack Of Sleep Affects Your Energy Level And Makes You Feel More Hungry.

Normally I'm asleep by 10:30, so that's two whole hours of sleep deprivation. The next morning I woke up going, "Oh my goodness, give me more sleep." My body felt sluggish.

I normally jump out of bed thinking "Hooray! It's amazing. It's a wonderful day" and then I'm off to do my seven-minute workout. I still did my seven-minute workout that day because that's the habit I have. But it felt like I was doing my seven-minute workout with weights attached.

It felt so much more hard work and yes, I felt hungrier and I wanted to eat more breakfast and eat more of everything.

Lack Of Sleep Affects Your Mood.

The other thing I noticed was that everybody else seemed to be far more grumpy. I said to my husband, "I am feeling super tired today. Please, can everybody helped me get through the day? We all are really grumpy."

Then he said, "no, we're all normal. It's your perception has changed."

I think that my perception of how people were reacting to me was totally different. 

It was a good exercise for me because the next day I woke up feeling, "Oh, wow, amazing. I've got bucket loads of energy. What a fabulous day."The contrast was fabulous.

Closeup photo of a woman slicing meat on a plate #healthyeating #overeating #healthylifetyle #wellness #healthydiet

A Good Sleeping Habit Will Maintain Your Energy And Help You to Not Overeat. 

This is a good reminder that my consistent habit of going to bed and getting eight hours of sleep means that I wake up in the morning full of energy.

My hunger cues are calibrated so that I'm not overeating because I'm tired. Sleep is a big one. If you don't do anything else after listening to this podcast, make sure that you go to bed on time.

That you get your eight hours of sleep.That is pillar number three.

Pillar number four is emotional wellness. Those are some of the things that we talked about in the last two podcasts.

Making Changes In Your Eating Habit Depends On You.

Now, the thing about these pillars is I can tell you about the pillars. You can read about the pillars and you can listen to other people telling you the same kind of thing but in a different way. Until you make changes it doesn't make any difference.

Watch Out For The Healthy You, Healthy Family Habit Challenge. 

On that note, I would like to remind you that starting April the 12th, I'm doing my Healthy You Healthy Family Habit Challenge. We will be creating one healthy habit in that week. It is going to be amazing. It's going to be a week of action taking. I will let you know when it's ready for sign up the week before we will sign up.

How to Stop Overeating at Dinner Time?

I want to focus more on dinner time and the things that you can do surrounding dinner to help you not overeat in the moment. I wanted to talk a little bit about specific times that I see people tripping up on.  

How to stop overeating at dinner time?

Decision Fatigue Throughout the Day Can Lead to Overeating at Dinner Time

I see this as a big place where people overeat. One of the reasons is as we go through the day, we make more and more decisions. If you look at the way people eat, people are very consistent with what they eat for breakfast. Their habits are strong and they do the same thing over and over again. As we go through the day, we have to make more and more decisions.

If you haven't got that habit of, "this is what I do, and I do it regularly" then you have to make a decision.

If you get to, "okay, this is so many decisions, my brain can no longer cope" then you're often not to have the desire to make decision. You've got decision fatigue.

Instead of choosing the decision that’s in your best interests to get to your weight loss goal, you've got the decision which is "I'm enjoying this food". "I'm going to carry on overeating."

Having Seconds At Meal Times Is A Habit We Can Break.

Dinner is a particular stress point. It's interesting to take a step back and have a look at dinner. One thing that I see is people (and I include myself in this and my children) is it's very easy to get into the habit of having seconds. I would say that is a habit.

How Can You Make It Easy To Not Overeat At Dinner?

Some things that you can do:

  1. Pre plate. You serve your portion. Get out of that habit of having seconds. "This is what I'm going to eat. I'm going to make that decision now, and I'm going to eat that and I'm not going to have seconds."
  2. Serve lots and lots of vegetables.
  3. Put it on a small plate. There's been research that shows if you have a small plate that is super full, you feel like you have eaten more than if you have it on a big plate. That is the same amount, but it looks empty. This shows us that actually, we look at the external cues to tell us when we're full up, which we shouldn't. It is human nature to do it.

Using an Internal Cue to Stop Eating will Help you to Stop Overeating. 

Another experiment they've done is looking at people who have bowls of soup and secretly, they were filling up some of the bowls of soup. I have no idea how they did this but people who finish their bowl of soup said, "okay, I'm full. I've had enough."

Now the people whose bowls were being filled up secretly, they would look and go, "Oh, I've still got half a bowl of soup" if they've had the same as the other people. Because their bowl is still half-full in their brain, they're saying, "I've only had half a bowl, so I'm still hungry and I can eat more."

This is all taking our cues from an external source. We have to think about ourselves and get internal and listen to, "are we full up" signals.  A lot of us have overridden this and we need to get back into doing it.

More Tips To Stop Overeating. 

To begin with, we can use external cues to help us not overeat. So number one, think about your portions in size. Only have one portion. 

Desserts Make it Easy to Overeat

A lot of people like to have dessert. I would say dessert is a treat and it's not necessary. If you all are going to have dessert, it's a good idea to eat it all at the same time.

Typically what happens is you fill yourself up on your main course. Then you eat dessert and increase your overeating. I would say dessert is optional. We don't have dessert in our family other than on Friday and Saturday. That's our routine every Friday and Saturday because the children like it.

If You Can't Resist Desserts, Make Sure It's Healthy. 

You can have dessert from time to time. You definitely don't need to have it every single day. If you do want to eat dessert, then make it healthy.

Serve dessert at the same time so that your brain is seeing all the things that you are eating.

Self Awareness Can Help You Stop Overeating.

Another thing that I see is people enjoying the moment. So you're sitting down, it's a little bit of a relax in the daytime and you say, "I want this to carry on. I'm enjoying being with my family. I don't want to get up and do the dishes. I'm going to sit here and have a little bit more ."

Acknowledge that's what you're enjoying. That period of time is something that is enjoyable to you. That's a fantastic golden learning opportunity. You can say, "How can I create and I carry on enjoying this moment that I don't have to eat something?”

A Hot Drink Can Help You Stop Overeating

One thing that I love is to have herbal tea after dinner. An infusion, something that doesn't contain sugar or caffeine.

That helps you draw out that time for a little bit. You could do a few minutes of allowing your dinner to go down, boiling the kettle, having your tea that's 10 or 15 minutes.

By the time you've done that those hunger signals have caught up. There's a bit of a delay in your body. You can eat and eat super quickly. Your food sort of hits your stomach. Those signals don't reach your body.

Have Seconds Only When You’re Genuinely Hungry.

It's one of the reasons with why my children, I often say to them if they ask for seconds "Okay. Can you wait a few minutes whilst I finished my dinner? I will serve seconds afterwards."

With children, you don't want them to get into the habit of having seconds. If they're in contact with those cues and they're saying I am hungry, then allow them to have seconds.

Make sure that they are genuinely hungry.

Not Eating After Dinner Helps Your Body Rest.

I recommend stopping eating after dinner. Have dinner and then you don't eat.

Normally, depending on your routine, that allows you to have 12 to 14 hours minimum resting your body from eating. That allows your glucose levels to go down. It allows your insulin levels to reset.

It's a good idea to allow your body to not be processing food at that period of time.

Photo of a table with various dishes #healthyeating #overeating #healthylifetyle #wellness #healthydiet

Related Podcasts

Deciding Not to Eat After Dinner will Help You Stop Overeating at Night Time.

How can I not eat at nighttime? You can make that decision, "I'm going to not eat after dinner."

It might be a little bit tough for the first few days. Once you've made that decision in your head, "I don't do this.I don't eat after dinner. I'm going to make sure that I am satisfied at dinner" Then you are going to stop eating.

You're allowed to have an infusion or a drink, which doesn't have sugar or, caffeine. If you want caffeine, you can. It's not going to affect your calorie intake but It's going to affect your sleep.Caffeine late at night affects most people. I would not recommend caffeine and also alcohol because alcohol contains calories.

After dinner, you want to have something, have herbal tea. You have dinner at six. At eight or nine o'clock, you can have something to drink but remember it does go through your body. So if you drink something later on at night, you may need to get out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

If you make that decision, "I'm not going to do it" and you put that boundary in place for yourself, it's easy to stick to. 

Eating Sweets At Night Will Increase Your Insulin Levels.

I used to eat chocolate after dinner. When I look back years and years ago and I had my children were much younger. At that time writing blog posts about how to help children eat healthily. Quite often when the kids had gone to bed, I would sit down and do some work.

To encourage myself, I would give myself a little bite of chocolate. I thought about this and realised what that was doing was giving me an extra spike of glucose and insulin. It was all very sugary.

Chocolate isn't forbidden, but it's much better to eat your chocolate as part of a meal than to eat it separately. So I made that decision, I'm not going to eat after dinner. Occasionally if it's a special occasion, I will eat later on, but generally, I don't eat later than dinner.

Reducing The Amount Of Food That You Eat At Night Will Prevent Acid Reflux.

If you have reflux, this is a good thing to do as well or if somebody in your family has reflux, it's a good thing to do.  I find that easy to stick to.

Keeping Foods Out of Sight Will Help You Stop Overeating.

One of my weaknesses is my nut box. I have a big box of nuts and we eat a reasonable amount of nuts.

For breakfast, we will have nuts. We might have nuts as a snack. We might have nuts at lunchtime. I noticed that when that box is out, if I walk past it, it's easy for me to put my hand in and get a couple of nuts. A bad habit!

I know in the evening time I will get my nuts ready for the next morning. I soak them, not all of them, but they soak the ones for breakfast.

Setting Boundaries Around Food Will Lead To Lasting Healthy Habits.

If it's after dinner time, I don't eat those nuts. It's something that I've got into the habit of doing. It's a boundary that I have set for myself. I don't eat after dinner and it's easy to stick to it. It's the decision I made and stick to it.

It may be difficult to begin with, but it gets much, much easier like cycling to school.

Stress And Boredom Can Lead to Overeating.

Lastly, I see a problem with, "how do I stop overeating if I'm bored or stressed?”

I will do another whole podcast about that. I would say go back and listen to the podcast that we did last week, which talks about in that moment.

If you're bored and stressed, you also need to look at your long-term plan.

If you're stressed, it's not about that moment. It's about rewriting your life and thinking, "okay, there's an awful lot of things I can do to manage stress. I can't do them all today, but I can start implementing them."

This is work that takes time and thinking about how to change your life, how to implement that bit by bit.

Deep Breathing Exercise Is A Great Tool To Manage Stress.

You need tools. You need your tool in the immediate. What do I do right now is doing something like breathing, so deep breathing.

“I feel bored. I feel stressed. I'm going to get back to the centre. I'm going to do some breathing exercises.”

You need to practice your breathing exercises. 

You can't learn breathing exercises in that heat of the moment. The other thing you need to do is look at your habits, routines, and systems.

Think Of Positive Ways To Cope With Stress And Boredom.

Work out how you can decrease your stress. How you can create your lifestyle so you minimise boredom and stress and increase enjoyment? All the great things in life. 

My Healthy You, Healthy Family Habit Challenge Is Happening Soon.

On that note, in April, starting on April the 12th, I'm going to be doing My Healthy You, Healthy Family Habit Challenge. We will be thinking about all these things.  So it's not quite ready to site take signups, but it will be soon and you can sign up and we can go into that in more depth.

Brushing Your Teeth Can Help You Stop Overeating

Here's an interesting question, do you ever eat food after brushing your teeth? I notice in my life that I have always had this internal limit. Once I have brushed my teeth, that's it. I'm not going to eat anything anymore.

Mostly it's because I have this belief that if I brush my teeth, I then eat something I then need to go and brush my teeth again. Also, the taste of toothpaste, it affects the taste of food. When I go to market on Sunday morning, I'll often have brushed my teeth. I go to market and then all the stallholders are offering me to try their beautiful clementines. They have oranges or whatever amazing fruit it is they have on offer. Even before, we all had to wear masks, I would always say no because I knew I had that taste of toothpaste in my mouth. The fruit wasn't going to taste nice, even if it was delicious.

This is an interesting question because I have created this internal boundary. After I've brushed my teeth, I'm not going to eat anything.

Choosing Not To Eat After Brushing Your Teeth Is Almost The Same As Choosing Not To Eat After Dinner. 

If you're trying to say, "I want to stop eating after dinner" but you find that difficult. Do have that internal boundary of "I'm not going to eat after I've brushed my teeth"? One simple solution is to go and brush your teeth.

What is different between after dinner and brushing your teeth?

How is it that you can maintain that boundary of brushing your teeth and you can't maintain that boundary of not eating after dinner?

Chat With Me If You Want To Go Through The Likes And Dislikes Experiment.

Some interesting thoughts for you now, remember that I'm offering the "Likes and Dislikes" experiment for the next two weeks. Email me at [email protected].

Note: Since recording this podcast, I was overflowing with people wanting to do the free experiment. I couldn't keep up. I'm now offering this amazing exercise at $299. (Or, if you sign up for the "Overeating quiz" you can get a huge discount!

Dr. Orlena's Office Hours Is Open For Free Coaching One A Month.

Next week, we will be talking about stress and overeating. A last quick note. I have been doing Dr. Orlena's Office Hours every single Wednesday. I'm finding every single Wednesday, a little bit too much to keep up with. My schedule is a little bit busy at the moment. So I'm going to cut that down to once a month. Once a month, I will offer free coaching where people can come in and come and chat, and we will do some exercises which are related to the podcast. I will let you know when the next one will be. It will be at the end of March. If you're interested, come and take me up on that offer in the next two weeks of the "Likes and Dislikes" experiments. As I say, it's not going to be available for free for much longer than that. Have a fabulous week. I look forward to seeing you next week. Bye-bye.

Come and join Dr Orlena's Office Hours:

Related Podcasts

Dr Orlena's Magic Likes and Dislikes Exercise

Wouldn't it be amazing if you could dial down your cravings for certain foods?

Or increase your like for healthy foods? Wouldn't that make healthy eating so much easier?

Well you can! In just 30 minutes.

Alea didn't like blueberries until she did the Magic Likes exercise. She was eating them and enjoying them by the end of the call!

Tory stopped eating pretzels after she did the exercise.

Find out more about Dr Orlena's Magic Likes and Dislikes Exercise.

(Psst... if you sign up for the "Overeating quiz" you can get a huge discount!)

Written By Dr Orlena 

Dr Orlena Kerek (MBChB from the University of Bristol, UK) trained as a pediatric doctor. She is now a family health coach. She helps busy mums who want to feel amazing by eating healthy food. So they can enjoy a healthy life, get back into their honeymoon shorts and teach their kids healthy habits.  All without thinking about it.

If want a healthy family and healthy lifestyle without having to think about it. And you'd like help, book a 30 minute "Healthy Life Roadmap" call here.



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