We all do it. We overeat. And not just holiday weekends.
Sometimes the aromas or flavours enchant. Wine weakens willpower. Or we are just plain HUNGRY (or hangry) when we sit down at the dinner table.
You're in luck.
Spring is the perfect time to hit the reset button and adopt some fresh new habits. This weekend, start with these three tips and then turn them into a daily habit. You’ll be able to ditch willpower and simply enjoy your meal any day!
Tip #1: Drink Water Wisely
Studies show that drinking a glass or two of water 30 minutes before a meal can help reduce the amount of food you eat. Add a tablespoon of ground flax OR ground chia, and this super-simple tip may even support weight loss. The water will fill up your stomach before you get to the table and leaves less room for the feast.
However, be sure to only have small sips of water during mealtime. Too much water (or liquid of any kind) at meals can dilute important digestive enzymes you need to absorb your food! This can be one cause for bloating post meals.
Tip #2: Mindful Eating
You've heard of mindfulness, but have you applied that to your eating habits? This can help you avoid overeating as well as support your digestion.
Focus and speed are the keys.
Focus your attention on your meal when you eat - just as you focus on your breathing when you meditate. Do this by taking smaller bites and slowly eating.
Chew thoroughly until your food is the consistency of peanut butter. Savour every mouthful. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Remember to breathe in between mouthfuls.
This simple practice 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.
Eat at a table (not in front of the screen) - this will improve a present-state at mealtime
Eat off of a small plate - a visual trick for the brain to queue you are full
Put your fork down between bites - this will help you slow down and breathe
Tip #3: Start With The Salad
Ok, not a very surprising tip, but it's one that delivers.
Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they're full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals. They also have some secret satiety weapons: fibre and water. These secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal.
Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller. They're “satiating”. Remember the tip above about ground flax and water before a meal? Flax is fibre.
Health Canada recommends adults consume upwards of 30g of fibre daily. Holistic nutritionists recommend upwards of 50g. The majority of people consume only 20g.
To help get fibre levels where they need to be, Harvard School of Public Health published a revised "food pyramid" approach to nutritional education called "The Healthy Plate." It's an easy visual anyone can adopt at home - half your plate is vegetables and produce.
Why so much fibre? Not only does it balance mealtime eating, it balances blood sugar (prevent diabetes) and it detoxifies the body, balances the hormones, reduces dysbiosis and reduces cholesterol (it improves elimination through BMs).
In a nutshell, vegetables prevent overeating AND prevents disease.
So, fill up on vegetables first. Make it a habit at home. Remember when your kids were little and you would put out a plate of vegetable sticks before or with meals? It was a good practice. Time to implement for yourself!
Embrace the salad.
Drink a glass or two of water 30-minutes before your meal
If you're interested in weight loss, add 1 Tsbp ground flax to that water for extra fibre
Practice mindful eating
Slow down eat bite, focus, chew your food to the consistency of peanut butter and breathe
Start your meal with a salad to fill up on fibre
Fibre is a rich source of nutrition that delivers health benefits beyond overeating