Overeating at meals can be subconscious. You get used to eating a certain amount of food. You fill your plate, and you eat. What once made you uncomfortably full, now is normal. Learn these secrets to help you eat less during your meals. without stressing over it. If you are eating nourishing, whole foods, you will start to see the number on the scale drop.
As you know, eating whole foods, that are nutritious for your body is critical to having a balanced healthy body. However, even when you overeat a healthy meal, it can leave you feeling uncomfortable, bloated, and even gain weight. Once you have started eating meals that are filled with healthy macronutrients of protein, carbs, and healthy fats, you may want to stop overeating at meals to feel sexy in your jeans.
4 Secrets to Stop Overeating at Meals
(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)
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 and dive into the food.
Did you know that it’s possible to 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. 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 main meal, leaving less room for the feast, but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.
Extra Tip: drink your water 20-30 minutes before you sit down to eat, so you don’t dilute your stomach acid.
Tip #2: Smaller Plates
The size of plates has slowly crept larger and larger over the last couple of decades. Try purchasing new plates. Recently I have seen plates 12″ and even saw a 14″ plate. I thought it was a platter, but it was considered a dinner plate.
When you serve yourself food, you will automatically put less food on a smaller plate. Plus your mind, when it sees a full plate, tells you that you ate more than you realize. When there is the same amount of food on a larger plate, you think you eat less and feel less full, so you want to keep eating.
It took me a while to find 8″ plates. They are considered salad plates, but they really are a great size for a satisfying meal. I challenge you to find a 8 or 9-inch plate and see if it makes a difference.
Tip #3: 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 pausing before you begin to eat (even saying a prayer of thanks) 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. Take your time, pay attention to your food, and enjoy every bite.
Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen) and put your fork down between bites.
Tip #4: Start with the salad
You may be yearning for that main dish. But don’t start there. (Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).
Leafy greens with other vegetables are a great way to start any meal because they are 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”. Have you ever known anyone to overeat spinach, broccoli or even carrots?
These secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge and want to stop overeating at meals.
Summary to Avoid Overeating At Meals:
Have your glass of water, use a small plate, eat mindfully, and start with your salad and vegetables to help avoid overeating at meals. (Yes, you can eat vegetables for breakfast, too.)
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.
I love to keep ideas for infusing water with nutritious and tasty fruit and vegetables. Follow my Water Pinterest Board for more ideas to shake up plain water without adding chemicals or sugar.