Whether it be emotionally charged, out of boredom, or pure mindlessness while at the table — overeating is something we’ve all done at some point.
Our culture tends to overeat in general with larger portions than ever, but you’d be surprised how much smaller of a portion you can eat and feel satisfied. Somewhere along the way, we’ve been programmed to eat until we are full, instead of eating enough to satisfy our hunger and return to neutral.
My Grandma was of the World War II generation and so she had brought up my Mum never to waste food and that included eating everything that was on your plate and that habit was passed down to me. It didn’t matter whether I was full or not, my goal was to always clear my plate and that was one of the biggest struggles for me to overcome with my eating.
Whatever reason it may be to you, there are some simple tricks you can use on a daily basis to make sure you’re more mindful of your consumption and keep things at a healthy level.
Some of my favorite tricks are…
- Drink more water
This may sound like a no-brainer, but the majority of people just do not drink adequate amounts of water.
Dehydration accounts for countless ailments and symptoms we encounter on a regular basis, and you may not even be thinking your water intake is related. For example, hunger and cravings are often overcome by drinking a big glass of water. So whether it be getting a smart water bottle that’ll remind you to drink enough water, using a water intake app, or keeping your bottle by your side throughout the day — do whatever is necessary to stay properly hydrated. You’ll find your cravings disappearing, and you’ll be less likely to overeat.
- Don’t eat while distracted
Whether it’s in front of the TV or while playing with your phone on your lunch break, distracted eating can cause you to eat more than you were planning to eat. Even if you only have a limited portion in front of you, you won’t feel satisfied when you’re done, making you more likely to grab something unhealthy to “fill” you up the rest of the way.
How many times have you sat down in front of the TV, your phone or laptop eating something only to realise only a short while later that it’s all gone. Did you even taste or smell the food? Be mindful when you eat, and you’ll find that satisfaction.
- Write it down
Sometimes, we’re unaware that we’re overeating, which can be even worse. Keep a food journal with you and write down every little thing you eat, even if it seems minuscule or unimportant. It also helps to note how you’re feeling so you can correct behaviors once you spot a pattern. There are lots of online apps you can use but i’m old school and like the paper and pen variety – here’s a great food journal you can find on amazon.
- Focus on your portions
Instead of putting all the food on the table for the whole family to grab, portion it out, at least for yourself. You should have a well-rounded meal with half your plate veggies, followed by a lean protein, and then a healthy carb such as whole grains or starchy veggies.
Choose a smaller plate too so you’ll trick yourself into thinking you’re eating a more significant portion. Our side plates were dinner sized plates a few decades ago, so go back to using a side plate if you need to.
If you still feel hungry after eating your whole plate, start with another serving on veggies, that will fill you up.
If you are a snacker, make sure your snacks contain fat, fiber and protein to help keep you satisfied and those cravings at bay. Try out these Double Chocolate Mint Energy Balls, just one or two of these will hit the spot!
- Take it home
And finally, I can’t forget a tip about restaurants. Even with healthy lifestyles, there will be times you go out to eat with friends or family, we tend to eat or order on average once a week. This was another habit that was hard from me because growing up I always associated eating out with a treat and therefore used to always overindulge whether it was in the amount I ate or the choices I made.
Don’t get me wrong, even I, a Nutritionist doesn’t want a plain old boring salad, a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be bland or boring. There are some awesome hearty salads and buddha bowls now available in most restaurants and you can always make changes to your option as in hold off the carbs and have extra veggies or have a lettuce wrap instead of a bun.
Make a healthy choice and ask your server to box up half the order from the start or see if someone is willing to split the portion with you. If not, you’ll have another perfect portion for tomorrow, which will make you look forward to lunch! Ordering a healthy appetizer and pairing it with a side salad is another great way not to overeat, but still, leave satisfied.
These little things make a big difference in keeping you from overeating, and they’re so simple to do, they’re effortless.
What’s your trigger for overeating — boredom? Stress? Zoned out in front of the TV? Hit reply and let me know.