3 Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals
Holiday feasts are just amazing.
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. Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals.
Or All. The. Time.
Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.
(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)
Tip #1: Try some water
When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) 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.
I am NOT advocating that you drink a bunch of water at the start of your meal—that slows down the digestion your stomach acid has to do. And nobody wants their food sitting in their stomach for longer than it has to because as it sits it starts to give off gas. (Nobody except my little boys want increased flatulence!)
Yes, you may have heard that it is a great idea to drink a big glass of water just before you eat. In fact, it IS a good way to eat less. It even slightly increases your metabolism. It really does work. But like I said above, it can also slow down your digestive process and which can lead to bloating and gas. So it’s really up to you. Do you want to eat less? Or do you want less gas? Either one is right. Thankfully, the next two tips will help you eat less even without filling up on water at the start of your meal.
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 savoring 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.
Super effective bonus tips: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.
Tip #3: Start with the salad
You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.
But don’t start there.
(Don’t worry, you can have some … just after you’ve eaten your salad).
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 weapons: fiber and water.
Fiber 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 large meal.
Drink plenty of water between meals, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.
Bonus “Recipe:” Tasty (and beautiful) Water Ideas
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. They’re already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.
References and Photo Credits:
Photos by Travis Yewell, Vitchakorn Koonyosying on Unsplash and HNBS on pixabay.