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 in the name of a celebration. But it does not always stop there. Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or all. the. time!
Here are five tips to avoid overeating at meals:
(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)
Tip #1: Start with 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 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. 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. Win-win!
Tip #2: Eat mindfully
You may have heard of mindfulness, but have you tried applying it to your eating habits? Mindful eating can help you avoid overeating, but also helps with 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. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste, and texture of your meal. Breathe. Try taking smaller bites, eating slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savoring every mouthful.
This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less. When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20-30 minutes for your brain to get the message your stomach is full. So, take your time, pay attention to your food, and enjoy every bite.
Bonus points: Eat at a table, turn off technology, eat off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.
Tip #3: Salad first
You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish. But don’t start there. Don’t worry, you can have some, 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.
In a nutshell: Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.
Water Ideas- If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing, here are five delicious (and beautiful) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:
- Slices of lime, add mint, coconut
- 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.
Tip #4 Control stress levels
Outside of meal times, there are other chronic stressors that may contribute to overeating — demanding jobs, marital tension, lack of sleep, too much to do with too little time to do it. Learn to actively relax with de-stressing techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
Tip #5 Move Your Body
Exercise is a powerful, well-studied way to burn off stress chemicals and heal the mind. It has been proven to be better than or equal to Prozac for treating depression. The right exercise will help you lose weight, maintain weight loss, and control your appetite so you don’t overeat. Aim for at least 30 minutes of walking every day and mix it up every 4-6 weeks for a continued metabolic response: run, cycle, yoga, Pilates, active games, hike, visit a trampoline park- find your way and play! Did you know we offer Employee Wellness fitness classes at PSL for you to work training conveniently into your day?
Be wise and tune in with your internal settings: have a plan, and a back-up plan to substantiate your routine for meals, celebrations, and holidays.
Do you have a strategy to normalize eating that you’d like to share? Stop by the Employee Wellness Lounge to chat with our Health Coach team or set up an appointment for or a complimentary health coaching session and find out how we can support YOU.