Christmas Survival Guide: Avoid over-eating!

Here’s how to avoid mindless over-eating to prevent packing on the weight

The major reason so many of us put on a lot of weight at this time of year is down to over-eating. We don’t mean eating too much for Christmas Dinner – that’s par for the course – but instead it’s the “mindless” over-eating that occurs throughout December of calorie-dense but nutrient-light foods, such as crisps and chocolates.

The biggest factors behind consuming too much food are eating at speed, eating whilst distracted, and eating when stressed. But don’t worry, keep reading for the quick and simple tactics you can deploy to reduce your tendency to speed-eat or constantly graze to avoid gaining weight.

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Have a big breakfast
What you eat and when has a big impact on your ability to avoid constantly snacking, and there’s few better ways to start your day than a protein-rich breakfast.

Eating protein first thing, such as a couple of eggs with smoked salmon, gives your body the essential nutrients it needs, and limits your likelihood of gaining fat by preventing mid-morning snacking, because protein is digested slowly so its calories are released gradually for a sustained feeling of energy. Because it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, unlike sugary cereals, you won’t need to reach for a mid-morning Danish to revive flagging energy levels. Protein is also essential for thousands of jobs, including repairing muscle tissue damaged by exercise.

Eat slowly and be present
How often do you eat meals or snacks whilst scrolling on your phone? Then, before you know it, the food is gone without you stopping for a second to appreciate the taste, flavours, textures and all the other factors that make eating so amazing.

Eating in a distracted state, such as checking emails or social media, or watching TV, is the biggest cause of over-eating. And the more food you eat that you don’t need, the more fat you gain. The solution is simple: always eat at a table, put your cutlery down between mouthfuls, and pay real attention to how your food looks, smells and tastes. Doing so will improve digestion, and you’ll rediscover how to eat to your hunger, so you’ll be satisfied and feeling good, rather than completely stuffed from too much food too quickly and in dire need of a lie down!

Pick up a plate
At a buffet use a plate rather than constantly picking at the food. But there is a caveat: the larger your plate the more food you’ll put on it, so use a small plate to prevent over-eating while still satisfying your hunger.

Science supports this, because subjects given plates based on the “Ebbinghaus illusion” (the optical trick where the diameter of surrounding circles makes a central circle look bigger or smaller), repeatedly self-served smaller portion sizes than those using normal plates, according to the BMC Obesity journal. What that means for you is always use larger plates when eating salads and veg, and smaller bowls when scooping out the ice cream.

Now you’re using a plate, wait before refilling it. It takes time for your brain to register that you’re getting full, so give it the chance to adjust your hunger levels before scoffing down more food you really don’t need!

To find your perfect transformation plan, take the New Body quiz!
Take the New Body quiz!

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