Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing.
And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance. It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.
But it doesn’t always stop there, does it?
Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Time.
Here are my three tips to avoid overeating at meals….
(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)
Tip #1: Start with some water
When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food cooking, it’s too easy to fill a plate and dive into the food.
But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.
So while you wait for that meal to be ready, drink a glass of water. Not only will the water ensure that you’re not mistaking thirst for hunger, but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.
Please note that it needs to be at least 30 minutes before you chow down, otherwise that water is going to dilute your stomach acid and make digestion a struggle. Same goes for drinking too much water right after you eat.
I know, I know, there are so many diet gurus out there who say you can lose weight by drinking big glasses of water before a meal, but this is WRONG!
You need to be hydrated, but you don’t want your stomach full of water when you’re trying to fill it with food.
Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”
You’ve heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?
This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.
Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.
Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.
This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.
When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.
So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.
Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), in a relaxing environment, and put your fork down between bites. It’s how those sophisticated French women eat, so it’s gotta be good!
Tip #3: Start with the salad
This is what I have taught my children, start with your veggies!
Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fibre and water.
Fibre and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller. They’re “satiating”.
And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a meal.
Make sure you’re not thirsty, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.
Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Hydration Water Ideas (30 minutes before, remember?!)
If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:
- Slices of lemon & ginger
- Slices of strawberries & orange
- Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick
- Chopped pineapple & mango
- Blueberries & raspberries
Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning (you know, those hipster ones with the straws?) They’re already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.