If you are among the 100 million people who watched the Super Bowl, you may also be someone who woke up the next morning regretting the volume of foods you consumed. It’s the special occasions, the people we celebrate with, the decorations, and the ambiance that give us an excuse to make an exception.
But it doesn't always stop there. Sometimes we overeat on regular days and with regular meals. Or All. The. Time.
Here are 3 hacks that will help you avoid overeating at meals.
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 at the store) and dive into the food. 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 before a meal can help reduce the amount of food we eat. And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (yay!).
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!
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.
Mindful eating means 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 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. Also eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites. If you feel you can't do this at all meals, start with one.
Tip #3: Start with the salad
You may be yearning for that hearty main dish. But don't start there. Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they're full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals (phyto = plant) 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”.
In Summary: Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.