Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals
By Dr. Roopa Chari, M.D.
We all do it. Sometimes the amazing aroma and delicious flavour gets the best of us. Especially if we're a bit on the hungry side.
What I'm talking about is overeating at meals.
This can have a big impact on our weight, energy levels, overall health and well being. Of course our body needs food to fuel it and we often (hopefully:) eat healthy foods.
However, we may still overeat. In this post I'm going to give you three solid tips for preventing that from happening. If you can make these three things a regular habit and a part of your daily routine you've got an edge on the overeating cravings!
Sometimes those family and friend get togethers are amazing!
It's not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the fun.
It is too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.
But it doesn't always stop there.
Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals... or all the time.
Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.
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 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 very 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.
It's a Win-win for you!
Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”
You've heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?
This can really 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 computer screen or TV). In addition eat in a smaller 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).
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”.
And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal.
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 mango
- Blueberries & raspberries
- Mint leaves
- Add Cucumber slices
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.
Roopa Chari, M.D.
Integrative Functional Medicine Physician & Internist
Dr. Roopa Chari, MD is a medical doctor, Board Certified by the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons (NBPAS) in Internal Medicine. She successfully combines her unique training, experience, and expertise in integrative medicine along with her traditional medical background to provide the best quality healthcare for her patients.
Dr. Chari sees patients in her Encinitas, office, and also regularly conducts phone and video call consultations with patients around the world.
Dr. Chari received her medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio and completed her internship and residency at NorthShore University HealthSystem affiliated with the University of Chicago.
Dr. Chari is also certified in Hypnosis, Thought-Field-Therapy™, Neuro-Linguistic Programming™, and Interactive Guided Imagery℠. She has a leading-edge, proven natural approach for treating the underlying causes of both physical and psychological conditions with proven natural remedies, mind/body techniques and advanced wellness technologies to get results for her patients.
Dr. Chari specializes in creating customized programs for Weight Loss, Natural Hormone Balance for women & men along with Healing Digestive Issues. Dr. Chari also treats general medical conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and fatigue.
Dr. Chari has been featured on local and national television shows including the Learning Channel and radio programs around the country and is the Medical Director of The Chari Center of Health, Inc.