It’s easy to overindulge on holidays, birthdays, and during other special occasions. Oh and buffets — yikes!
But it doesn’t always stop there.
Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Time.
Here are three 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 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 you eat. And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (…just sayin’). Tip: Drink your water a 1/2 hour before your meal so it doesn’t dilute your digestive juices.
Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before your meal — leaving less room for excess food — but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.
Plain water not your thing? Check out the tasty options at the end of this post.
Tip #2: Start With a 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.
Tip #3: 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.
Tasty Tip: 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.