5 creative ways to avoid overeating

If you’ve ever tried to control your tendency to overeat or binge when you’re out at a restaurant, you may be familiar with the term, ‘mindfulness’. This means focusing more on the present moment, and being aware of your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations as they happen. Some examples of mindfulness techniques are chewing slowly, focusing on the flavour of each bite, and asking yourself if you’re truly hungry or eating from a place of emotion.

For some people, these tips work like a charm. But for others, trying to be mindful just sounds like a drag when you’re out trying to have a good time. And I don’t blame them. A self-dialogue about whether you’re eating that chicken wing to fill a void in your life is not what people want to think about on a Friday night. It can actually be a little depressing.

So here are the top 3 tips I’ve used with my clients who find the concept of mindfulness either too tedious, or too far out of their reach right now:

Order hot water & lemon
When the server brings ice water to your table, ask them to swap it with some hot water & lemon for you. Not only are you getting all the benefits of lemon water (cleansing, optimizing digestion, immune health etc.), hot water will make you feel more full before your meal starts.

Excuse yourself, then pop a mint
When you’re at that point of the meal where you think you’ve had enough, but are pretty sure you could continue to eat…stand up. Before you can think twice, stand up and excuse yourself to the washroom. Use the time to freshen up, and then pop a mint in your mouth. Not only will walking around make you recognize how full you are, the minty-fresh taste in your mouth will signal the end of a meal…one you probably wouldn’t want to ruin by eating again.

Be the storyteller
You can’t eat and talk at the same time. Well technically, you can. But that’s another conversation altogether about etiquette. Initiate a conversation about something you’re interested in (for example, travel), or tell a funny story from the week. Chances are, you’ll be so engaged in the conversation that you’ll focus less on the food, and potentially entertain the whole table as well. It’s a win-win!

Eat beforehand
I know, this seems counterintuitive (“Alina I’m just going to twice as much, this won’t stop me!”) but just give it a shot. Before attending a holiday party, I try to eat a light meal at home that’s high in protein and good fat to stave off cravings e.g. baked salmon and a salad. That way, I have enough room for a few indulgences like a pastry or two, but I don’t go overboard because my body is already telling me that I’m full.

Get a buddy
If you’re attending a party or going to a restaurant with your partner or close friend, tell them that you’re worried about overeating. Bonus points if they also want to avoid the same thing (hint: most people fall into this category but don’t express it openly!) My ‘buddy’ is my husband, and we both keep each other in check. When you’re ‘in it together’ with someone else, it becomes a whole lot easier because you get strength from the person and don’t want to let them down either.  

About Alina

I'm a Holistic Nutritionist based in Toronto, Canada and my official title is Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP). I received my diploma in Applied Holistic Nutrition from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. I'm a coach and an educator. Follow Alina on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
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