Avoid Overeating This Thanksgiving!

With Thanksgiving just a week away, these are the tips I am adhering to, and sharing with my lovely patients, to avoid overeating.

Even as a mindful Naturopathic Doctor, it can also be way too easy (and common) to indulge during holiday feasts, particularly if culturally, celebrations are not quite complete without numerous wonderful dishes able to literally feed a community.

It is one thing to overeat during holidays, but what happens when it doesn’t stop there?  And we find ourselves overeating on regular days?  Or at regular meals?  Or All. The. Time?

The following are hopefully tips that will turn into habit with some dedication, and *gentle* prodding from your Naturopathic Doctor!

Tip #1: Start with Water

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten. And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss.

Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast, but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.


Tip #2: Try Eating “Mindfully”

You’ve heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?

This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you meditate can help focus your attention on your breathing, being in the present moment and mindful when you eat, can help focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This 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.

Dr. Ancheta’s Pro-Tip!

Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate and put your fork down between bites.

Tip #3: Start with the Salad

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.

But don’t start there.

(Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and health-promoting phytochemicals, but they also have some secret satiety weapons – fiber and water.

Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They’re “satiating”.

And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.

Take Home Message to Help Avoid Overeating at Meals:

1. Have your glass of water.
2. Eat mindfully.
3. My favourite tip – start with your salad!

Click here for some of my favourite ideas to “dress up” your water this Thanksgiving and beyond!



The Science Behind Mindful Eating: What Happens to Your Body During a Mindful Meal


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