Three Full-Proof Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Still recovering from the holidays? 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.

 

Implementing these habits can help improve digestion, decrease inflammation, and even lower your blood sugar, which can decrease your risk for chronic and/or autoimmune disease. 

 

Did you know that it take 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to receive the signal you are full? Hmmm…..

 

So when you eat your meal in 10 minutes, or less, then your brain never has a chance to let you know when you have had enough! The result is a food coma, bloating, heartburn, GERD and more. 

 

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

 

(Psst, turn these into habits and reap the benefits!)

 

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 the food.

 

But did you know that it's possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  

 

One of the most common reasons for cravings is dehydration! That’s right! Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast. When you are dehydrated your brain is not able to get the energy it needs, so it causes you to crave food, especially things like chips, cookies, and sugary carbs! 

 

So before diving into that bag of chips, drink a glass of water! 

 

Also some studies have shown that drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal can also 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.

 

Win-win!

 

Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”

 

You've heard of mindfulness but have you ever thought about adding mindfulnessto 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; being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

 

Have you ever finished a meal and then wondered what it really tasted like! I definitely have!

 

Start by stepping away from your computer, desk, phone, TV, and take 20 minutes to eat – remember it takes 20 minutes for your brain to receive the “full” message. 

 

Once you are unplugged, give thanks for your food, take smaller bites, eat more slowly, chew more thoroughly, and savor every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  

 

Breathe.

 

Put your utensil down between bites and smile. You are fueling your body for health and vitality. 

 

This practice can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less. (That whole stomach to brain thing again.) And you can digest your food better, an important thing to promote a healthy gut.

 

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

 

Tip #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.

 

Summary:

 

Craving food - have a glass of water, sitting down to eat - eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

 

Recipe: Spice up Your Water

 

If you're not much of a plain water drinker, find yourself getting tired of plain water, or just 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 organic frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning. They're already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.

 

Miriam Ansley 

Professional Health Coach

 

References:

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/

 

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal

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