Large family dinner

Changing your diet can be hard. The idea of giving up the foods that you love, that bring you comfort, joy, and peace, can be intimidating, almost threatening. While there’s no way of getting around the law of thermodynamics, that you need to burn more calories than you eat in order to lose weight, there are many ways to achieve that calorie deficit that do not require a drastic change to your diet. In this article we’ll outline how to lose weight without changing your diet.


Here at Community Strength Austin, we emphasize both a change in what you eat, as well as how you eat during our 3 month weight loss challenge, but if you’re not quite ready to let go of the comfort foods that serve as both a source of happiness and may provide a sense of security, you can still change how you eat, even if what you eat remains largely the same.

Large family dinner

Limit Overeating to Lose Weight

One of the most efficient ways to lose weight without going hungry is to focus on minimizing overeating. Overeating can be in response to an emotion, such as stress, or boredom, but it can also be a result of eating too quickly or simply biting off a little bit more than we can chew when it comes to portion sizes.

6 Strategies to Help You Stop Overeating

Below are 6 strategies to help you lose weight and enjoy your meals even more by leaving you pleasantly satiated, instead of uncomfortably stuffed.

1. Have a snack 10-15 minutes before your meal.

That’s right, sometimes eating more can help you eat less. A high protein or high fiber snack 10-15 minutes before a meal can help reassure the brain that nutrients are on the way and alleviate the tummy rumbles of hunger that can make us overindulge when the main course arrives.

2. Drink a glass of water 5 minutes before you eat.

Similarly to the last tip, drinking a glass of water helps to fill up your stomach, activating stretch receptors in the stomach which help increase feelings of fullness, and decreasing the chances that you overeat.

3. Use smaller plates.

Research shows that smaller plates can decrease our chances of overeating by reducing the amount of food we serve ourselves by 41%! Using smaller plates also allows us to make the decision as to whether or not we seek a second helping and risk overeating, or give ourselves 5 to 10 minutes to allow for satiation to set in. If we can get used to embracing the latter, then smaller plates can help decrease overall calorie consumption, especially when combined with the next suggestion.

4. Keep the main dish on the counter, away from the table

Often we eat out of convenience, instead of hunger, that’s why it’s always a good idea to keep sweets out of sight and in inconvenient locations, like the top shelf of the cupboard, so that we’re less likely to mindlessly consume empty calories. The same holds true for the main meal. By keeping the food on the counter, we’re adding an extra layer of inconvenience, since in order to get a second serving we’re forced to get up and go over to the serving bowl to do it. This strategy also forces us to be more active in our decision to get up and get more food. In addition to keeping the serving bowl on the counter, waiting 5-10 minutes after finishing the first serving can help us determine if we’re pleasantly satiated, or still in need of a second serving.

5. Take a deep breath in between bites.

As we mentioned above, stress or anxiety can be one of the main reasons that we overeat in the first place. Taking a breath in between bites can help us relax and transition from using food to help soothe an uncomfortable emotion, to enjoying the meal and nourishing our bodies. This mental shift is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to enjoying a meal without overeating.

6. Eat until you are 80% full.

Having a snack and a glass of water before you eat will help kickstart the satiation process, and taking a breath between bites will decrease the chances of emotional overeating, but ultimately what all of these strategies have in common is that they’re allowing the brain time to recognize that we don’t have to overeat because nutrients are on the way. The last strategy follows this same line of thought. Eating until we are 80% full gives the brain a chance to say “Hey, I’m pleasantly satiated, there’s no need for that extra slice of lasagna”. Training yourself to eat until you are pleasantly satiated, but not overly stuffed, is a foundational part of our nutrition program and requires absolutely no change in your diet, only your mindset.

Regular exercise allows you to enjoy your favorite foods while decreasing the chances of gaining weight

In addition to changing how we eat to achieve a calorie deficit, we can also emphasize how many calories we burn through exercise to assist in this weight loss. Focusing on exercise also gives us more of a cushion with our calories so that we don’t have to rely solely on portion control to see the scale move in the desired direction. While success can be achieved with one or other, we recommend moving more and eating appropriate portion sizes for best results.

We recommend three, 45 minute high intensity interval training sessions that emphasize both strength and cardio, to help preserve lean muscle, while giving you the opportunity to burn up to 750 calories per workout. Preserving lean muscle is important because it helps your metabolism burn more calories at rest, so you can enjoy more of your favorite foods without seeing an increase on the scale. For best results we aim for an average heart rate around 130-150 beats per minute over the course of the 45 minute session. This number may be slightly lower for older individuals, and slightly higher for younger individuals, but the result will be a great workout that allows you to enjoy your favorite foods while still working towards your weight loss goals.

In Summary:

If you want to lose weight without changing your diet you need to focus your attention on how you eat, specifically in regards to overeating. The following can help you decrease the chances of overeating.

1. Kickstart the satiation process.

You can do this by enjoying a high protein, or high fiber snack 10-15 minutes before eating, as well as by drinking a glass of water 5 minutes before the meal.

2. Eat more slowly.

By taking a breath between meals, using smaller plates and waiting 5 minutes to get seconds, we can allow our brain the time it needs to register that we’re full.

3. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.

Anticipate that it may take up to 20 minutes for your brain to fully realize it’s full and aim to eat until you are 80% full, this strategy will allow you to leave the table feeling pleasantly satisfied, instead of feeling uncomfortably full.

Executing these strategies day in and day out, especially in combination with high intensity interval training, will allow you to lose weight without drastically changing your diet.


A satiated smile,


Powley, Terry L., and Robert J. Phillips. “Gastric satiation is volumetric, intestinal satiation is nutritive.” Physiology & behavior 82.1 (2004): 69-74.
Holden, Stephen S., Natalina Zlatevska, and Chris Dubelaar. “Whether smaller plates reduce consumption depends on who’s serving and who’s looking: a meta-analysis.” Journal of the Association for Consumer Research 1.1 (2016): 134-146. 

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