Weekly wellness: Some tips to curb overeating

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Overeating is one of the best ways to gain extra pounds (which is something many of us are trying NOT to do). Mindless, unnecessary snacking can really affect our weight. There are some fairly simple tips to try to keep us from doing it. Here are a few of them:

1. Add vinegar and cinnamon to meals to help control blood: Vinegar has been shown to lower the glycemic index (which means you metabolize the food more slowly). So if you add it to salad dressings, sauces and roasted veggies, it can help with flavor AND help to control your blood sugar. Like vinegar, cinnamon slows the rate at which food transits from your stomach to your intestine — this keeps you feeling fuller longer. Put a dash of cinnamon in your coffee, smoothie, or even your chili!

2. Eat when you’re NOT hungry: When you get really hungry (or hangry), you can overeat. When you overeat, you feel full, but then your insulin levels spike, causing you to feel tired, then hungry again … so you overeat again. Instead of trying to resist hunger, get in front of it with some small snacks when you start to feel that little ping of hunger.

3. Drink water (not liquid calories): Mild dehydration can cause a sensation that’s easily mistaken for hunger. Liquid calories (i.e. fruit juices and sodas) won’t fill you up and because of their sugar content, they spike your insulin! Pass on the sweetened drinks and stick with water. Aim to drink at least three-quarters of a gallon of water a day. Also, be sure to drink a glass about 20 minutes before each meal to take the edge of your appetite.

4. Eat slowly: When you swallow food, there’s a sizable delay (anywhere from 10 – 30 minutes) before you feel any satiation from it. Because of this delay, we can eat more food than we really need. Try to eat more slowly, chewing each bite 10 times. This will cause you to eat more slowly and allow your mind to catch up with your tummy.

5. Enjoy small, flavorless snacks between meals: This trick was discovered by the late Seth Roberts: he would consume a shot of olive oil or a glass of water with a tiny bit of sugar between meals. Why does this work? It regulates ghrelin, a hunger hormone, by weakening flavor-calorie associations. For this to work, the snack must be bland, and you should consume nothing else but water for at least an hour before and after the snack.

6. The “front door snack technique”: Knowing that your willpower is reduced when you’re hungry (and there’s more tempting junk food outside the home than in it), you should fill up on healthy food before leaving home. Keep a healthy snack next to your front door, and eat some before you leave home. This will cause healthy food to “crowd out” unhealthy food in your diet, and make it much easier to pass on the junk food.

Try some (or all) of these tips and see if it can help you to stop overeating. Good luck!

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