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.
Below I am discussing three simple strategies to avoid overeating at meals. The magic lies in turning these easy action into habits and ditch the willpower!
Strategy #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 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.
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 (... just sayin').
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 as well as helping with weight loss because of the removal of excess toxins. Win-win!
Strategy #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.
I strongly encourage that you eat at a table, and not in front of the screen, off of a small plate, and practice putting your fork down between bites. Too many people are eating while being distracted by emails or a TV show and are not aware of the amount or the pace at which they eat. So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.
Strategy #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 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. It is especially a good strategy when you are eating at a buffet or a pot-luck; the abundance of foods often makes portion control difficult. Starting off with a big salad will fill your stomach and makes you feel a little more satiated than before the meal, so you won’t be tempted to overfill your plate anymore.
So here you have it! three simple strategies that you should implement into habits to avoid overeating: drink a glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.