Whether it's a holiday, the celebration of a birthday / anniversary / personal achievement, or simply an "I want to eat something amazing" day, it's way too easy (and common) to overindulge.
But it doesn't always stop there.
Sometimes we continue to overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Time.
Here are three quick and EASY tips to avoid overeating at meals. And remember, instead of relying on willpower, work on turning these into habits that become second-nature.
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 confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? You 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. Plus, extra hydration is almost always a good thing. Are you really drinking enough water each day? If you're like most of my clients (and myself on certain days), the answer is likely NO.
Not only will the water start to fill you up before you get to the buffet, 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 make a huge impact in avoiding overeating, with 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. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full, so by taking your time, paying attention to your food and enjoying every bite, you may find yourself satisfied without the extra food.
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: Don't skip the salad
You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish, but don't start there.
Veggies are a great way to begin any meal because they're full of not only vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.
Fiber and water are known to help 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.
This might sound silly at first - a recipe for water - but I've heard countless people tell me they "hate" water or want something with a little flavor. Well, here's your solution!
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 (can you really resist the photo on this post?) fruit combos to add to your next round of H2O:
● Slices of lemon & ginger
● Slices of strawberries & orange
● Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick
● Chopped pineapple & mango
● Blueberries & raspberries
Time-Saving Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen, chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or super trendy mason jar in the morning. They're already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.