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.
Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or… All. The. Time.
Here are three tips to shortcircuit and avoid overeating at meals.
(Turn these into habits and you’re golden to ditch the willpower!)
Tip #1: Start with some water
When your stomach is rumbling and you’re faced with an Everest of amazingly delicious food, it’s too easy to fill a plate (or your bare hands – we’ve all done it, no judging) and dive into the food.
But did you know that sometimes we confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your body 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, leaving less room and signaling its stretch receptors before you get to the buffet, but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.
Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”
You’ve probably 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 or practice yoga 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), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.
Tip #3: Start with the salad
You may be yearning for those creamy mashed potatoes, or a slice of that savoury Nutmeat Leaf with mushroom gravy.
But don’t start there.
(Don’t worry, you can have some… just after you’ve eaten your salad.) Caveat: watch out for creamy dressings! Stick to vinaigrettes, or simple olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
Leafy, green, fresh 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: 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.
Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.
Tasty (and Beautiful) 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 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
● Blackberries & fresh mint (this one is my favourite!)
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.