“I was taught that I was to eat everything on my plate before I could leave the table and now I don’t know how much to eat of what.”
Thought so. This was my story and the story of so many of my clients.
It’s not our parents’ fault at all either I might add. They had our best interests at heart and were teaching us what they were taught or knew to be true for them.
This belief was one of the reasons I became a calorie counter. When you are pushed to eat beyond being full then you lose the feeling of knowing when you are full.
I strongly discourage calorie counting by the way. It’s a stressful game and let’s face it, will you really want to count calories for the rest of your life?
I didn’t think so.
This leads me to my cardinal rule when it comes to diets. If you cannot commit to something for the rest of your life then it’s not sustainable.
Eating well is a lifestyle NOT a diet.
Having said that, I’ve worked with many clients who have lost a lot of weight through specific diets. The diet worked, they lost a lot of weight but they realize it’s not sustainable so they come to me for support and to learn to eat again.
Here are some tips that I put into place for my own self when it comes to OVEREATING that I know will help you as well.
(1) Never let yourself get to the point that you’re ravenous and only eat until you’re 80% full. We all know what happens when we go to the grocery store when we’re hungry or starving. We buy things we wouldn’t normally and usually crack them open before we even get home. It’s the same when we’re at home. When we wait until we are starving two things happens: (a) we go for something that’s quick which is usually not the best choice; and (b) we eat more of it than we normally would as we’re starving. This is where the eating only until you’re 80% full comes in. This provided such relief for me as it allowed me to start making a connection and base my fullness on a feeling.
(2) Being fully present when eating. When you’re fully present you give yourself the opportunity to tune into how you’re feeling, what the food tastes like and when you’re starting to become full. It gives your stomach time to catch up with your feeling full signals. That means no eating on the run and no TV or smartphone while eating. You must eliminate distractions.
(3) Slow down and chew your food. I would chew my food a gazillion times and set my fork down between bites. I still do this. I remember in one of my first classes at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition we were asked to bring food. We were asked to take a bite and see how many times we could chew it before swallowing. It was shocking. I think I only got to four! Try it and see for yourself.
(4) Use smaller bowls and plates. You give yourself less food and you end up eating less. It’s a great trick to get a handle of portions.
(5) Add tons of vegetables as fillers. Eat more veggies than the pasta or brown rice or quinoa as an example. Actually a great example of this is my Almond Lime Sauce with Quinoa and Steamed Vegetables. My plate will be predominantly vegetables with some quinoa or brown rice (about 1/2 cup) and 2-3 tbsps of the sauce. Yummo.
(6) Check serving sizes. If you buy something that can be eaten from a bag or box then check the serving sizes to get an idea of what that looks like. As you may or may not know, I don’t believe in deprivation so if you buy a bag of chips or a bag of nuts or bag of prunes or dried fruit, you want to see how many serving sizes they say are in it and then you know roughly how to gauge it and portion it out.
(7) Never keep your trigger foods in the house. When I first started out on my weight loss journey I had no self-control for the longest time. A bag of chips didn’t stand a chance in my cupboards. They’d call my name and I would get up and down from the coach 10 times until the bag was gone. Sound familiar? That meant I had to keep the triggers out of the house on a regular basis. This one honestly took a lot of time for me.
(8) Calorie guidelines for meals and snacks. As all of my clients know, I don’t like them to get caught up in the numbers. You have to learn to feel when you’re full and learn to stop when you are. Having said that, when I calorie counted, I would do 100-200 calories for snacks and then 300-500 calories for meals. You MUST know that this is different for everyone and it depends on your size/weight/age/activity level etc. There is no one size fits all when it comes to nutrition or else we’d all be doing the same thing. If your training goes up naturally you will eat more.
(9) Always eat your salad first. I'd always eat my salad first to fill up on that plus it's easier to digest than other foods. All foods take different times to digest. Easiest to digest goes first. Never understood eating salad last at a meal after I went to nutrition school.
(10) Drink tea after dinner to curb the sweet tooth. I would drink a lot of tea to curb wanting a sweet treat after dinner. I was raised with dessert after lunch and dinner and I find tea about a half hour after eating helps with that.
Now you have 10 ways to help you from overeating.
Let me know how it goes.