Miserable After Meal Time?
Ditch the Diet Willpower and Turn These Three Tips into Habits to Help You Stop Overeating at Meal Time
Sometimes holiday feasts are amazing. And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the company, decorations, and ambiance. It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on these days.
But it doesn’t always stop there.
Sometimes we overeat on regular days, or at holiday gatherings, or All. The. Time.
Here are three tips to avoid overeating on holidays, or at any meal time. Turn these tips into habits and ditch the willpower!
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 and dive headfirst into the food.
But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving 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 consumed. 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 all the yummy temptations (leaving less room for the feast) but drinking enough water has been shown to increase your metabolism. In case you missed my post about metabolism, read all about it here.
Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”
This is one of the very first strategies I tackle with my clients. It can be a real game-changer with your weight loss if you practice it daily.
You’ve heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?
This will help you avoid overeating, as well as, having the added bonus of helping your digestion (which has a host of health benefits in and of itself). Read more about the benefits of slow eating here.
Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing, being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.
Do this by taking smaller bites, eating slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savoring every mouthful. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.
This can help prevent overeating because eating slowly almost always results in eating fewer calories.
When you eat quickly, you can easily eat way more than you really need to be mentally and physically satisfied. It takes about 15-20 minutes for your satiety hormone, leptin, to travel from your belly to your brain to tell you that you’re 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 smaller plate, and put your fork down between bites. If you are eating foods that don’t require utensils, such as sandwiches, put them down in between bites as well. Also, make sure to empty your mouth completely between bites.
Tip #3: Start with the salad
You may be eager to dive into that awesome main dish. But don’t start there. (Don’t worry, it will still be there… 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.
Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals. Don’t forget your bonus tips of setting your fork down and emptying your mouth between bites.
Recipe (Water): 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
Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or mason jar in the morning. They’re already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.
Until next time…
Changing Lives Through Education, Accountability, and Support!
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