Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Christmas time and holidays in general are usually punctuated with large family gathering feasts, with all your favorites.

And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance that go along with it.

It is way too easy (and common) to indulge in overeating on those days.But it doesn’t always stop there.

I’ve been known to still be celebrating Christmas and New Year’s way into January (and if I’m being honest February).

Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

By turning these tips into habits relying on will power will be a thing of the past.

Willpower can be defined as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” Every time we have to resist temptations our willpower is depleted. Stress also depletes our energy and our ability to say no. But if we build healthy habits and manage our stress levels we no longer have to rely on willpower. By focusing on the bigger picture—managing stress and anxiety and interrogating your expectations of yourself—you can change negative habits into positive habits, without a sense of struggle or worrying about 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 (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?  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 (…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 applied that to 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 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.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

 

Tip #3: Start by ordering 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 phyto-chemicals 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. So, instead of reaching for the bread or bickeys and cheese before dinner a green leafy salad can help take the edge off your hunger.

Summary:

Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.