28 Feb 5 Tips to Avoid Overeating
Do you ever find yourself looking into the pantry or fridge, searching for something to eat – even though you just finished eating 20 minutes ago?
Many of you resonated with this question asked in last month’s blog post and started thinking a bit more about food choices and the hunger scale. If you missed the post, click here for a refresher!
This month, we are continuing to focus on mind less eating, and more specifically overeating. Overeating isn’t necessarily your fault. Just look at the portions of food served at a typical restaurant. Somewhere along the way, we’ve been taught to eat until we are full, rather than just enough to satisfy our hunger. A great tool is the hunger scale, which helps you to know when to eat and when to stop eating. Ideally, you want to eat when you are a 3-4 on the hunger scale and stop when you are at a 6, or 75-80% full. This gives your stomach room to digest your food better and you are less likely to have excess fuel to store as fat. Often, it takes 10-15 minutes to realize we are satiated, which also leads to overeating.
Here are my favorite hacks to eat more mindfully and to reduce the risk of overeating.
- Drink more water
This may sound like a no-brainer, but the majority of people do not drink enough water. Dehydration accounts for countless ailments and symptoms we encounter on a regular basis, and usually we don’t attribute them to dehydration. For example, hunger and cravings are often dispelled by drinking a tall glass of water.
What’s the best way for YOU to drink enough water? Do you prefer a bottle of water by your side throughout the day or tracking in a water intake app, like the one found on Lifesum or WaterMinder? Over the next few days, try the different options and see what works best for you to stay properly hydrated. You may even notice your cravings dissipate and you’ll be less likely to overeat.
- Don’t eat while distracted
Ever notice you can fly through a bag of chips in front of the TV without even noticing? That’s a perfect example of mindless or distracted eating. Whether it’s in front of the TV or while scrolling through your phone, distracted eating can cause you to eat more than you planned. If you don’t pay attention to what you eat, you may not feel satisfied and are more likely to grab something unhealthy to “fill” you up the rest of the way. Be mindful when you eat, and you’ll find that satisfaction.
- Write it all down
I know – this is the step everyone hates, but studies have proven time and time again, writing down what you eat helps you eat less. Sometimes, we’re unaware of how much we are eating, until we start tracking it. Keep a food journal with you and jot down every little thing you eat, even if it seems minuscule or unimportant. Or, take pictures of everything you eat, before you eat it – or track in on your phone in Lifesum or other app. It also helps to note how you’re feeling so you can correct behaviors once you spot a pattern. Check out Eat, Drink and Be Healthy on Amazon* or Elizabeth@PureSimpleWellness.com to get a journal via email with a inspirational quote for each day!
- Focus on your portions
One of my favorite hacks here is to use a smaller plate and portion out my food, rather than serving family style. Make sure your plate is at least half full of colorful veggies, with healthy carbs (potatoes, yams, brown rice, quinoa, etc.) and clean protein, like grass fed meats, wild salmon, pasture raised poultry, pasture raised eggs or organic tempeh, taking up the other half. If you still feel hungry after finishing your plate, wait at least 5-10 minutes before having seconds – and choose more veggies!
- Save half for tomorrow
As mentioned earlier, most restaurants serve you enough for two meals. When you order, ask the server to box up half before serving you, or see if you can split an entrée with a friend. This way, you aren’t even tempted to overeat. And don’t order some plain, boring salad or bland chicken breast that you’re not excited about. Healthy choices do not have to be bland or boring. Check the menu beforehand, so you can review the healthy options and get excited about what you’ll be enjoying. Another option is a healthy appetizer paired with a side salad, which leave your satisfied and not ‘stuffed’.
These small changes make a big difference to avoid overeating – and they are simple and effortless!
What’s your trigger for overeating – stress? Boredom? Anger? Zoned out in front of the TV? Comment below and let me know.
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