Holiday feasts are amazing, aren’t they?
It’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance.
It’s way too easy (and common) to overindulge with our eating at those times.
But it doesn’t always stop there.
Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or, at regular meals. Or, All. The. Time.
With summertime holidays and vacations on the horizon, here are three 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 delicious food, it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.
But did you know that it’s possible to 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 eaten. And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss.
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: Try eating “mindfully”
You’ve heard of mindfulness, but have you applied that to your eating habits?
This can help you avoid overeating as well as helping with 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.
You can eat mindfully 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, it’s easy to overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register 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), from 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 … only after you’ve eaten your salad.)
Vegetables 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 success tips are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.
So have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at mealtime.