One Meal a Day to Six-Pack Abs 023: How to stop over-eating at meal times and sabotaging your diet

by David

in Health & Fitness

challenge yourself and get flat absThis is Day 23 of my Six Pack Challenge.

When you’re eating one meal a day it’s funny how you can go all day long telling yourself how important it is that you achieve your weight loss or body composition goals, only to get to meal times and then gorge!

Fortunately that didn’t happen to me today, but it has happened several times before.

It’s like your conscious mind gets so fatigued from keeping you in check all day long that as soon as food passes over your tongue, your conscious decision making abandons you and you’re left to deal with the primitive urge to stuff as much food down your gullet as possible.

There are things I do before during and after eating to help me make better decisions and help me stick to my eating plan.

There are never any guarantees but there are ways to minimize the risks.

Here are some of the things that have worked for me:


  • I plan what I’m going to eat in advance. I make sure it’s what I really want to eat and I make very few compromises.
  • I set a start and end time. If eating becomes an open ended event it’s too easy to eat too much.
  • Recently I’ve started to cook only enough food to feed each of us and I serve myself last. (Vegetables are always plentiful though.) I don’t mind filling the meal out with bread if I have to, but I try to be in a situation where second helpings are not an option.
  • I always plan to eat a dessert. I like sweet stuff and removing it tends to do more harm than good.


  • We eat at the dinner table and conversation breaks up the eating. It stops the incessant automatic shovelling.
  • I eat my meal slowly and make sure I’m the last to finish. It’s a race in reverse, I win if I finish last.
  • On the occasions that dinner with the kids is a trauma, I wait until after they’ve eaten or I just end up bolting my food or swallowing half chewed mouthfuls of food so that I can intervene in their petty squabbles. I need to feel that I’ve had an enjoyable and satisfying meal.
  • I don’t leave any food on my plate. I don’t want to feel that I’m denying myself or starving myself. I eat a big meal off a small plate and that helps at a psychological level – if I left any food a little voice inside my head would later tell me I’d left room for a little extra treat.
  • I fill up. The portion size including a dessert is enough to make me feel full. If I still feel hungry after I’ve finished my meal, I’m in big trouble.
  • I always eat dessert – even if I feel I could go without. I’ll have a least a token portion of dessert. That way I finish the meal with something sweet and I’m less tempted to hit the chocolate later. I eat it slowly and savour every mouthful. I often use a smaller spoon!


  • Plates are scraped immediately – there are no morsels left to pick at. Children leave food and it’s hard to see it go to waste, so I remove the temptation.
  • Any pots and pans with baked-on food are immersed in water to prevent me picking at the delicious crusty bits.
  • Leftovers (if there are any) are covered and put away.
  • I’ll finish my meal with a cup of coffee or tea (just as you would at a restaurant – it tells me the meal is over!)
  • I clean up straight way so that I have no reason to go back, and get out of the kitchen.
  • I immediately get engrossed in something else.
  • If I can, I get out of the house into the back yard and do something in the fresh air.
  • I make sure the only place to find food is in the kitchen – there are no secret stashes elsewhere in the house.

The reality is that some of these techniques tend to slide after a while and that’s not too much of a problem, but when it starts to become a problem I implement my list again and stick to it rigidly for a while.

(It’s why I’m doing much better with my diet this week.)

Diet Pictures

This is me today 23 Feb 2012

Day 23 One Meal a Day to Six Pack Abs Diet

This is me on day 1 of the challenge

day 1 six pack abs challenge

This is when I weighed 205 lbs, right at the start of my diet.

205 lbs overweight

Read more about my diet

All about the six pack challenge

One Meal A Day

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