I love food. There are no two ways about it.
The problem with having such a fondness for almost anything edible, is it comes with a very big risk to your health.
We all do it. Sometimes the amazing aroma and delicious flavour gets the best of us. Especially if we're a bit on the hungry (or hangry) side… and who hasn’t been just a wee bit hangry on occasion?
The risk I'm talking about is overeating at meals.
It goes without staying, but this can have a big impact on our weight, energy levels, and overall health and well being. Of course, our body needs food to fuel it and we often (usually) eat amazingly healthy foods.
But we may still overeat.
Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Easter.
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. I’m sure you’re likely nodding your head in agreement!
However, it doesn't always stop there.
Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Time.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, can fall victim to the nasty habit of over indulging at the buffet table or in front of the TV. But by arming yourself with these super simple tips below, you can beat back the temptation that threatens to swallow you whole… or threatens to make you swallow that extra piece of cake whole! But, seriously, if you can make these three super simple things regular habits and part of your daily routine, you've got one up on the overeating cravings.
So let’s dive in.
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. I’m the queen of picking and tasting while preparing a meal, so I’m truly guilty of this particular habit.
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 half an hour 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.
Tip #2: Eat “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: 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 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.
Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.
Don’t forget… today’s choices create tomorrow’s results!
P.S. Not a water fan? Try the recipes below to spruce it up and make it more tempting.
Tasty (and beautiful) 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 uber-cool mason jar in the morning. They're already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer. Cheers!