As a student of holistic nutrition I am regularly asked how one can improve their overall health and well-being. Normally, people ask my opinion on certain diets, what to eat for breakfast, how to plan meals, and for recipes that are easy to make while still being packed with nutrients. While all of these are exceptional ideas and will certainly help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, one thing that I always remind people is to watch the quantity that they eat.
Eating in moderation is extremely important in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Overeating on a regular basis puts an extreme amount of stress on the body and is probably one of the worst habits one can develop. The term overeating shouldn’t be limited to the quantity that is consumed, but the kind of food as well. Overeating the wrong kind of food can lead to a drastic spike in blood sugar, weight gain, indigestion, gas, bloating and many more symptoms. To help you avoid this bad habit, I have put together 6 tips that I follow to ensure I don’t overeat.
1. Eat breakfast
Eating breakfast within about an hour or so of waking up gives your body a head start to the day. Eating a balanced breakfast that includes a source of protein ensures that you won’t be overly hungry by lunch time which in turn could lead to overindulging. This principle should be followed throughout the day. Skipping meals can cause you to be irritable, fatigued and can even contribute to cravings for unhealthy choices.
2. Use small plates instead of bowls
Our mind is a funny thing: when we eat from bowls, we have a harder time monitoring the amount that we have eaten. I know that I have been guilty of this especially when it comes to yummy desserts. Instead, try eating off of a small to medium sized plate. This will trick your brain into thinking you have consumed a larger portion as it will look that way on a small plate.
3. Don’t share the table with your emotions
Eating while stressed, sad, or irritated can cause you to overeat. While this isn’t news to most people, it should be strictly noted as many individuals find comfort in eating while experiencing these emotions. Eating while stressed, sad, or irritated can also contribute to choosing the wrong type of food which in turn can make those feelings worse.
4. When you eat, just eat
Life is so unbelievably busy that we sometimes find ourselves eating while on-the-go, watching television, working at our desks, or for some people even driving, simply because there just isn’t enough time in the day. During your next meal, try sitting and focusing solely on each bite, chewing each piece fully before swallowing, and not allowing yourself to become distracted.
5. Sit, don’t stand
This is similar to tip #4, however it is so important that I thought I should stress it a bit more. Eating while standing doesn’t allow your body or mind to focus on the task at hand which is chewing, swallowing, and properly digesting your meal. Standing tells the body we are busy and on the move, not sitting down to a delicious meal.
6. Eat slowly
I have been guilty of eating quickly for most of my life and trust me, my Nana never lets me forget it. It wasn’t until recently, that I became mindful while eating and tried to slow things down a bit. This allows your body to register that it is full.
Overeating is one of the worst things you can do for your body. If you find yourself trying to make positive changes, working towards becoming healthier, or maybe trying to lose a few pounds, I strongly suggest starting here. Portion control, listening to your body and tasting each bite of food can have so many amazing effects on your digestive system. The next time you find yourself sitting down to a meal, try chewing slowly, savouring all of the flavours and taking a break here and there. You might even find that your food suddenly tastes better and of course, that less is needed to feel satisfied.