Too Much on your Plate?

Trust me… we all have too much on our plate. And I’m not just talking about our social commitments! Overeating is THE reason why we gain weight. It all comes down to this: when you eat more than your body needs, it stores it as fat for later use. And when this happens day after day after day… well, you can guess what happens. Exercise is important, but so is what (and how much) you are putting into your mouth!

Slow it down.
How often do we find ourselves “inhaling” food? Before you know it, your entire burger disappeared before your eyes and all that’s left is an upset stomach and empty plate. Make a conscious effort to cut, chew, swallow and breathe. Bonus points if you take a couple sips of water in between bites. By slowing your eating down, you’ll recognize when you start feeling full and won’t end up needed to unbutton your jeans at the end of every meal.

Eat REAL food.
Food falls in one of two categories: nutrient dense vs. calorie dense. Nutrient dense foods are your real, whole foods- typically 5 ingredients or less. Fruits, veggies, eggs, meat, fish, nuts, etc. and are both good for you and will fill you up. Calorie dense foods, however, are usually very processed and carry a lot of weight in calories without much nutritional benefit. For example, you can eat an entire cucumber for 30 calories, feel satisfied and get B vitamins and fiber… or you can put 1 TBS of vanilla coffee mate creamer in your coffee for 30 calories. Which one is your better choice? Choose NUTRIENT DENSE!

Out of sight, out of mind.
When tempting foods are right at eye level, you are setting yourself up to eat them every time you see them. We have a cabinet above our fridge that is impossible for me to reach without climbing on the counter and risking my life. Guess where my Girl Scout cookies are?? If there are certain foods that trigger you to overeat (chips, cookies, chocolate) get rid of them or at least get them out of your reach.

Stay hydrated.
You should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces every day. Get a reusable water bottle and start chugging!

Portion it out.
This was the most useful piece of knowledge for me in terms of not overeating. If food comes with a serving size, look at what it is and use it as a guide. I used to pour half a bowl of oatmeal, not realizing the serving size was half a cup. Same with nut butter. Give me 3 days and I could knock an entire jar out! I found measuring/weighing food gave me a much better idea of how much I should be eating.

Downsize your dishes.
This one is a bit of a mind game. The same exact portion might take up half of a large plate, leaving you wanting more, whereas a small plate gives the appearance that your plate is full. Use your small plates for dinner to keep your portions from getting too large.

Get enough sleep.
Between work, the gym, a social life and eating, you have to sleep… and get enough of it! Aim for 6-8 hours of every night and start winding down an hour before bed.

Manage your stress.
Stress spikes your cortisol levels, which promotes hunger and overeating. Over time, elevated cortisol levels increases your risk for over eating and weight gain. Prioritize sleep, some quiet time to do yoga, meditate or pray, and be realistic about your goals so you set yourself up to succeed.

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