Holiday feasts, summer picnics, and potlucks with friends are just AMAZING.
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, but sometimes it doesn't always stop there.
Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Flipping. Time.
So, try these simple tips to avoid overeating at meals.
(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the 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. WHAT DO YOU DO?!
Did you know that sometimes your brain can confuse thirst with hunger? Your stomach might just 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 hit the buffet, it'll leave a little less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism. It will also send the message to your brain that you're giving it what it wants!
DO IT TODAY: Drink a glass of water before you eat to cover your basis if your brain is mixing up thirst for hunger.
Not a water fan? Try a cup of tea, or infused water. Wanna be fancy? Some of our Summit clients also really like sparkling water with a few slices of fruit for subtle flavor. Win-win!
Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”
Mindfulness isn't as hard as it sounds.
You've heard of mindfulness but how about applying those to your eating habits? Research shows this can help prevent 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. When you breathe, you turn off your body's stress switch so digestion can kick in properly.
Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savoring every mouthful. Notice & appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe. Oh- and chew!
Eating slower often means eating less. Overeating often happens because it takes the brain 20 minutes to know that your stomach is full.
DO IT TODAY: Take a breath before you start your meal. Take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite. Pay attention to how much you chew your 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: Start with the salad
Mmmmm..... how about that rich, creamy main dish. But wait - don't start there.
(Don't worry, you can have some...just after you mindfully eat 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”.
Plus, when your body has a dose the nutrients it needs, your brain no longer yells "feed me!" as loudly.
If you're a Whole30 fan, that's called Foods With No Brakes - or "I just ate a bag of chips and I'm still hungry" syndrome. Some of the most important nutrients are those that give fruits & veggies their bright colors.
All of these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal.
DO IT TODAY: Eat your salad first, and shoot for colorful veggies.
BONUS Tip: Enjoy the Company
After all, what's the point of all of these summer picnics and holiday gatherings, Friendsgiving, and the like?
It's about being around the people you love and want to surround yourself with.
You may not recall that caramel chocolate macadamia nut brownie 3 weeks later as much as you'll remember laughing to tears with your best friend while hearing about her spectacularly horrible blind date last week.
When you turn your focus away from the food and take in the party atmosphere, the experience, and - most importantly - the people you're with, you're less likely to accidentally overindulge.
You might even meet some new friends you wouldn't have otherwise.
DO IT TODAY: Avoid parking yourself at the buffet or food table, and circle the room - be social and you'll have a wonderful time.
Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.