Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals
Special occasions and holiday feasts are often accompanied by the most amazing food. With Canadian Thanksgiving right around the corner and American Thanksgiving not far behind, I’m sure you can relate. In fact, many of you may be planning these meals and all the delicacies that accompany them already! (Yes, I am, too!)
It's not just the abundance of delicious food that makes us happy. It’s also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance. The whole package!
It is way too easy, not to mention common, to indulge on those days. After all, we plan and prepare for days in advance to welcome family and friends for a wonderful, memorable feast.
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. Holidays aside, you can easily turn these tips into regular daily habits and never have to worry about willpower again!
Three Tips to Avoid Overeating at Meals
Tip #1: Start with 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 face first into the food.
But did you know that it's possible to confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.
Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten. And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss!
Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.
Now that’s a win-win!
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 and calming your mind.
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 of your food. Appreciate where the food came from and who cultivated and prepared it for your pleasure. Breathe.
This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.
It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full. [quote]
So if you eat quickly you can easily overeat. Your stomach will have exceeded its capacity long before your brain knows you’ve eaten enough. That often spells bloating, fatigue, and that familiar discomfort experienced after a large holiday meal.
So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.
Bonus points: Eat at a table, not in front of the tv. Serve the meal on a smaller 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 (and will) still be able to enjoy it...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 satiety weapons - fibre and water.
Both fibre and water are known to help fill you up and keep you feeling fuller longer. They're what we call “satiating”
And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal. Pass the turkey, anyone?
In summary, have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.
Pre-Meal 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 six 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
Watermelon & mint
As always, I welcome your feedback. Let me know what your favourite ways are to avoid overeating at meals by contacting me or commenting below. I’d love to hear from you!