Top 5 Tips to Control Overeating

December 13, 2013

The holidays are a time when we tend to overindulge. Find out SupermarketGuru’s top tips for controlling your tendency to overindulge and what to do if you 'fall off the wagon'...

Excited about all of the great food around the holidays? Here are some tips for you to put into practice before the next wave of holidays in a couple of weeks, so you can prevent yourself from overeating!

Tip 1: Slow down! Take smaller bites and chew thoroughly. Taking the time to eat allows you to have a greater appreciation for the taste of your food. In fact you can actually taste and enjoy what you are eating, which in turn may lead to making healthier food choices. Eating slower will also help you to stop eating when you are full. The brain doesn’t register how full we are immediately, so we usually end up overeating before we even know it! Digestion begins in the mouth, so the more time you spend chewing each bite, the better your body can digest all of the wonderful nutritious components of the meal.

Tip 2: Plan ahead with snacks: Don’t let your hunger get the best of you! When we’re really hungry, studies show (and we all know!) that many of us tend to reach for starchy “comfort” foods, not the most nutritious pick – the trick is to not get too hungry. Plan snacks in-between meals if you know you will be famished hours before dinner or lunch. Planning ahead helps us make better choices for our health goals, and only takes a few minutes of time. Once you get in the routine of planning for both meals and snacks – a handful of almonds with an apple or other fruit as an example of a satisfying snack or a hard boiled egg – it will get much easier and will become second nature. Avoid overeating starches and under eating other veggies – just plan ahead!

Tip 3: Don’t wait to long to eat: This goes along with preparing snacks ahead of time… it’s important to realize how hungry you are. Moderate to full-fledged hunger is most likely to hit 4 to 5 hours after a balanced meal. The problem is that waiting too long to eat can send you on a hunt for energy—and the willpower to make healthful choices goes down the drain. Preparing snacks (Tip 2) and making a regular eating schedule keeps blood sugar and energy stable, which prevents you from feeling famished and grabbing anything that looks like food! Avoid temptation by packing healthful, portable snacks like nuts in your purse, desk drawer, or glove compartment.

Tip 4: Identify your trigger foods… and take a break from them. Sort of like a mini detox.  Trigger foods are the foods you can't stop eating once you start, or you notice every time you eat (fill in the blank) you always make bad choices after. Trigger foods might also be the “foods you just can’t live without.” For some, it's bread while for others, sweets or cheese. Make a list of your personal trigger foods and take a two week detox from them. Clean them out of your cupboards, and avoid their aisle in the grocery store. After two weeks, eat a small amount of the food and notice if it tastes differently and how it makes you feel. You might notice the food makes you tired or irritable – then it’s up to you to decide if you will add this food back into your diet.

Tip 5: What to do if you overeat?  First of all, don’t beat yourself up. Know that the next meal is a clean slate and a chance to be healthy and well balanced. Don’t skip meals, as this will wreak havoc on your blood sugar – which can cause weigh gain, irritability, fatigue and more. Make sure to drink plenty of water between meals and include lots of great vegetables, which are packed with nutrition and detox supportive phytonutrients. If the foods you overate are in your kitchen or office, and are calling your name, move them, donate them or even create portioned freezer meals that you can take out one at a time and reheat.  Setting up your environment for success is a great tip for controlling your urge to overeat!