Ditch the Willpower - 3 Tips on how to stop overeating at meals.

Willpower.jpg

Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing.  When going back for seconds (and even thirds - been there) feels like the right thing to do.

And it's not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance that may distract us from focusing on the amount of what we are consuming.  

But it doesn't always stop there.

Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.

My husband is an awesome cook (me not so much), so it is easy to just to want ... more!

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

If you have worked with me you know how I feel about relying on straight willpower.  It doesn't work.  WILLPOWER has this super hero aura around it, that by a magical force it will be there time and time again.  Well it doesn't.   Mel Robbins says it best..

"Our willpower is not at some constant level all day, waiting around for us to use it. Nope, it gets weaker with each decision we make. This is why, after resisting chocolate all day, you can’t help but have that dessert at night.

And there’s research backing this. Roy Baumeister, a prominent psychologist, has researched the phenomenon of decision fatigue, which is the idea that our willpower decreases with each decision.

Decision fatigue it what leads to analysis paralysis. When your brain is low on mental energy, it’s really hard to make good decisions on the things that matter–like your goals.

This research has inspired some of the most visionary people. It’s why Steve Jobs wore the same outfit everyday, a black turtleneck, blue jeans, and white sneakers.  By conserving his mental energy by taking away smaller decisions, it enabled him to focus his energy on big decisions–the ones that mattered. " 

OK back to over eating and out smarting our brain.

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.

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 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.

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.

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).  I'm not totally nuts!

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.

Fibre 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.

Summary:

Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

Recipe (Water): 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.

In thriving health,

Moni

References:

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal

https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/