Now that it is January, we have made it through one more year of the “holiday season”.
Holiday feasts are just one example of how we celebrate in a very food focused way.
Although, it's not just the amount of delicious food available, it is also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance. There are so many factors that come into play over the holidays and it is way too easy (and common) for many people to indulge on these types of days.
That is why it is so common to hear New Year Resolutions set around food, nutrition, and “dieting”. Most are wanting to eat healthier after the not so healthy holiday feasts and celebrations.
Although, just because it's January doesn't mean these temptations will disappear. Before we know it we have Valentine's Day. Then followed by Passover, Easter, and Memorial Day weekend. During the summer season we have the 4th of July and often vacations/traveling. Followed up by Labor Day Weekend, then Halloween... and well, we are right back to the "holiday season". So it never really ends.
But let’s be honest here, it isn’t just the holidays that we might find ourselves over indulging.
Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or possibly overeat on a regular basis at meals. Or overeat All. The. Time.
There are many reasons we might find ourselves overeating...
Part of it might because we haven’t had enough food during the day. When we are overly hungry, we are all more likely to make less healthy choices or find ourselves overeating.
But we also eat for so many reasons other than true hunger these days.
We eat because it’s “time” to, whether dinner time, our scheduled break, or anything like that.
We eat because we are happy, sad, excited, nervous, scared, bored, or for any other emotion we might be able to think of.
We eat because it tastes good.
We eat because we are with others.
We eat because food was served to us.
We eat because it’s habit.
I could keep going, but hopefully you get the picture. Since we eat for so many reasons other than true hunger, here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.
Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower! And if you feel you could use some extra support in finding ways to make these habits work for you, make sure to set up a FREE 20-minute Discovery Call with me!
Tip #1: Start with some water
When your stomach is growling and the food smells delicious, it's all too easy to fill a plate (or maybe overfill a plate), find ourselves munching on extra food prior to a meal, and eat everything quickly because we are so hungry.
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 that food.
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 (...which if this is a goal of yours is amazing, right?).
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.
Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”
You've heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?
Mindful eating can help you avoid overeating because you are more aware of how hungry you are and how you are feeling during the meal. Plus, as an added bonus, it can actually help your digestion as well.
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.
Not only will you enjoy the food, but also are more likely to stop when comfortably full (which is likely an appropriate amount without having to worry as much about calorie counting or anything like that).
Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites. If you have kids at home as well, this can be a wonderful family time for conversations and to teach our kids how to have a healthy relationship with food and how to build healthy plates together.
Tip #3: Start with the salad or other non-starchy vegetables.
When you sit down to eat, chances are you are ready for that delicious main dish.
But don't start there.
Don't worry, you can have some...just after you've eaten your salad or other non-starchy vegetables.
Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they're full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals (nutrients only found in plants) 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.
Summary on 3 Simple Steps Avoid Overeating at Meals:
● Have your glass of water.
● Eat mindfully.
● Start with your salad or other non-starchy vegetables.
If you are looking at this and wanting to make some of these changes, but could use some support, make sure to take advantage of that FREE 20-minute Discovery Call with me!
Recipe: 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
● Blueberries & raspberries
● Slices of cucumber & strawberries
● Slices of strawberries, lemon, and basil
● Blueberries and lavender
● Watermelon & mint
Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or ultra-popular mason jars in the morning. They're already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.