Does your day start in a race with the clock to get out the door?
Do you skip breakfast because you don’t have time?
Do you skip lunch some days because there is just too much work to be done?
Are you so hungry by the time you get home in the evening that you feel like you could eat everything in sight?
Do you eat almost continuously from the time you get in the house after work until you go to bed?
If you are like most Americans that work during the daylight hours, you can probably relate to this unhealthy routine. I have to admit that I often catch myself in the same situation.
STOP! This eating pattern on a regular basis is in a sense abusing our bodies and puts us on the fast track toward weight gain and Type 2 diabetes.
So how do we turn it around?
Start practicing these healthier habits and you will be helping yourself control weight, blood sugars and cholesterol.
- First start eating or drinking something for a small breakfast to get your meal pattern turned around. If you eat a lot before bed you probably won’t be hungry but at least have a granola bar or glass of milk or juice to get your metabolism on a regular schedule.
- Often when we eat breakfast we get hungry sooner. That’s OK. Carry a snack with you such as fruit or nuts or whole grain bars or crackers. Or you can eat part of your lunch.
- Eat lunch every day. If you skip lunch because you aren’t hungry you are setting yourself up for disaster at dinner. You can eat a light lunch but the most important thing is to eat something.
- Afternoon snacks are optional but very helpful for controlling overeating at your evening meal. I find it helpful to eat fruit or another snack on my commute home. Otherwise I walk in the door starving and it is very difficult to practice portion control at that point.
- Drink enough water during the day as sometimes our hunger feelings can be partly thirst we don’t recognize.
- At dinner try these strategies:
- Eat lighter foods such as veggies, salad or soup first to help get the feel full quicker effect.
- Use smaller plates and bowls to control portions.
- Keep serving bowls out of reach to make it more work to take that second helping.
- Don’t forget to portion control alcohol drinks. Alcohol is high calorie and we tend to eat more when drinking alcohol.
- Practice the 20 minute rule. Before you eat any second helpings wait 20 minutes and see if you’re still hungry. By that time we usually finally feel full enough.
- Stop eating when you are just starting to feel comfortably satisfied, not FULL. Over time our stomach shrinks and you feel full quicker.
- Save dessert for a few hours later and keep it light, especially if right before bed.
Putting these little tricks into your daily routine can add up to big rewards over time when it comes to preventing diabetes and weight loss. Please comment and add your tips and tricks for controlling evening overeating.