It's hard not to eat too much — believe me, I know! You spend all day passing up sodas, donuts, pizza and chips ... but after a while, you get hungry and everything you've worked so hard to avoid just looks so tempting and you give in and have something you know you shouldn't be eating.
Other times, you sit down to a nice, healthy meal, but five minutes later, you've wolfed it all down and you're getting seconds. And an hour later, you're hungry again and that ice cream in your freezer is calling your name.
Just like you, I've been there before, but I've gotten over it. By following these six simple rules, I'm able to eat healthy food in the right quantities every day without overeating or feeling hungry, and honestly? With these guidelines, I enjoy my meals more than I used to!
1. Slow down your meals.
When you swallow food, there's a 10-30 minutes delay before you feel any satiation from it. Because of this delay, people tend to eat more food than they really need to, faster, because they feel hungry at the start of a meal and don't realize they are in fact filling up, because they don't feel it immediately.
An easy solution? Chew every bite ten times. Following this simple rule will cause you to eat more slowly, allowing your mind to catch up to your stomach. Not only that, but you enjoy your food more when you take the time to savor it!
2. Eat before you get hungry.
When you get really hungry, you overeat. I know ... groundbreaking stuff. When you overeat, you feel full but then your insulin levels spike. And when your insulin spikes, you feel tired, then hungry, so you overeat .. .again.
Instead of trying to resist hunger, beat it to the punch. If you eat when you're either not hungry or only slightly hungry, you'll eat less and you'll eat more slowly. Eating less throughout the day is great, but having more energy is certainly a nice bonus too!
3. Drink more water than you think you need.
A little-known fact about the body is that mild dehydration can produce a sensation that's easily mistaken for hunger. Most people live in a state of chronic, mild dehydration and as a result, they suffer from brain fog and low energy, often overeating as well. Drinking at least a gallon of water a day will keep your body fueled, your mind clear and will prevent thirst from tricking your body into feeling hungry.
4. Say no to liquid calories.
Your body digests liquids way faster than it does solids. As a result, consuming liquid calories will produce a rapid spike in blood sugar, followed by renewed feelings of hunger. This is obviously not helpful if you're trying to limit calories, so don't consume any caloric beverages. That means no sugared soda, milk, juice, Gatorade, etc. Swap them for water or herbal tea.
5. Enhance your food with healthy flavors.
Looking to spice up your food with some extra flavor? Forget the sugar. You have several options that not only taste great, but also help you stay full longer and avoid a post-meal food coma. Both lemons and limes have been shown to lower the glycemic index of your food, meaning you metabolize it more slowly. This equals a feeling of satiety for much longer. Vinegar has similar effects to citrus, and it goes great on a salad. Cinnamon is also a powerful flavor-enhancer and it slows the rate at which food transits from your stomach to your intestine, keeping you full longer and helping to prevent a post-meal slump.
6. Use the "front door snack" technique.
This last item is a body hack of my own devising: eat healthy foods before you get hungry in order to preempt unhealthy eating. You may eat healthy at home, but as soon as you go outside you're surrounded by temptations and it's hard to resist them when you're hungry. The solution? Eat something healthy and whole at home before you go out. And the easiest way to do this is to keep a healthy snack near the front door so you can grab it on you way out!