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Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

September 4, 2018

There is nothing better then an incredible meal (especially if you didn't have to cook it, am I right?).  It doesn't matter if it is a holiday feast, a night out at the newest restaurant, or a meal with friends.  Eating may even be my greatest joy in life (at least top 3).  

 

And it's not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the wine, the decorations, the wine and the ambiance (did I mention the wine?).

 

It is way too easy to indulge on those days, which isn’t a terrible thing – it’s a holiday after all.  But it doesn't always stop there.

 

Sometimes we overeat when with friends on the weekends.  Or by ourselves on a Tuesday (because nobody likes a Tuesday).  Or All. Da. Time.

 

HERE ARE THREE TIPS TO AVOID OVEREATING AT MEALS.

 

(Psst, turn these into HABITS and ditch the willpower!)

 

 

Tip #1: Start with some water

 

A lot of us have heard that it's possible to confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger.  But when your nose is filled with the scent of burgers on the BBQ it can be hard to convince yourself that 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!

 

Dehydration can also signal the body to release stress hormones which in turn have a domino effect on our fat storing hormones = more belly bulge.  Making sure you are properly hydrated (1oz of water a day for every 2 lbs of bodyweight) means less fat storing. 

 

Triple Threat! 

 

Just be sure to down that glass 20 minutes before meal time so it doesn’t dilute your stomach acid and slow down digestion. 

 

 

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 savouring 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: Impose a strict “no food in the theatre” rule.  Never allowing yourself to eat infront of a screen cuts out a HUGE portion of mindless eating. If you want a snack, pause your show, sit at the table and enjoy what you are eating.  Guaranteed you will opt to skip the junk and catch another episode of Ozark. 

 

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:

 

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

 

 

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 uber-cool mason jar in the morning.  They're already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.

 

 

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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