Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals
Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Sometimes those parties and evenings out are just amazing, and it's not just the abundance of delicious food. It's also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance.
It's easy to indulge at special events, but sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or... All. The. Time.
Overeating is a habitual behavior, and not one that is easily tackled. Permanent change comes from exchanging bad habits for good, and from addressing the triggers that lead to eating too much, and at times when we aren't hungry. However, there are things we can do, along with addressing the behaviors, that can act as a short-term pre-emptive strike.
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 right in.
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. Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach 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 heard of mindfulness, but have you applied it to your eating habits?
This can help you avoid overeating, as well as having the added bonus of improving your digestion.
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.
How does mindful eating work? Take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savor every mouthful. Put your fork down between bites. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste, and texture. Breathe.
Eating slowly generally results in eating less. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full, so eating slowly gives you a chance to get the cue before you've eaten too much. So take your time, pay attention to your food, and enjoy every bite.
Bonus tip: Eat from a smaller plate, with few distractions.
Tip #3: Start with a salad
You may be yearning for that delicious main dish, but don't start there. When I was on my weight-loss journey, Friday night was pizza night. I still had some pizza, but I ate a big salad first. Lots of greens and vegetables, with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I would end up eating just 1 piece of pizza, because it was all I had room for.
Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they're full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals. 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. These secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal.
Remember, these are short-term hacks for avoiding situational overeating. Real change takes time.
Until next time, take care of you, the same way you take care of those you love ❤️