Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Sometimes holiday feasts are just amazing.

It’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance.

I don’t know about you, but being surrounded by loved ones, laughing and sharing stories together makes me feel warm and happy inside.

It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.

But it doesn’t always stop there.

Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or, All. The. Time.

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals…just in time for Thanksgiving dinner (and leftovers!).

(Psst, turn these into habits and say goodbye to relying on willpower!)

Tip #1: Start with some water

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.  And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (…just sayin’).

Not only will the water take away the starving feeling (if you actually are hungry) before you get to the buffet, but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.


Tip #2: Try eating mindfully

You’ve heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?

This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you practice yoga helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment, being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking a few deep breaths when you sit down with your meal. Eliminate any distractions around you such as your phone, TV, or computer. As you begin to eat, take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.

Check out my quick video with mindful eating tips HERE.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slowly often means eating less.

When you eat quickly it’s easy to overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

Tip #3: Start with the salad

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.

But don’t start there.

(Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your greens).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel full longer.  They’re satiating, which means you’ll feel satisfied for a longer time after eating.

And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.


Have your glass of water 30 minutes before a meal, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

Recipe: Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas

If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:

  • Slices of lemon & ginger
  • Slices of strawberries & orange
  • Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick
  • Chopped pineapple & mango
  • Blueberries & raspberries

Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning.  They’re already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.


Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong… and it’s Making You Tired and Bloated

Wow. Nutrition and diet information is everywhere!

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right?

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat. I know I have. This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is outdated. It’s being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don’t get me wrong limiting excess calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn’t we?

It’s certainly a good idea to watch your portion sizes (especially at restaurants) and pay attention to how much you eat, and when you feel full…but don’t forget to also pay attention to where your calories are coming from.

All calories are not created equal. What you eat is just as important as the amount.

Ideally, you need a variety and a whole-foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods).  This simple concept is paramount for sustained, energy, maintaining a healthy weight and long-term health and wellness.

Here’s what to aim for each day:

  • A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals these provide.
  • Enough protein. Making sure you get enough of all the essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil (cold) and coconut oil for cooking, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible.  You don’t need a lot just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

It’s not only about what you eat, the way you eat (and drink) is also important.

Studies show that the way we take in our food has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means being present in your body at mealtimes. This allows you to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour the food in your mouth.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe, relax, and connect with your food.

Approaching your meals in a relaxed way gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less.  Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

Thought so!

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of the essential nutrients.

And don’t forget about drinking your food.

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.

The action of chewing signals satiety in the brain. So if you’re not feeling totally satisfied, even after sipping your smoothie slowly, it might be useful to have a handful of nuts and seeds on the side so you give your brain t the satisfaction of chewing.

Don’t get me wrong a well put together smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack.

Take your time when you drink your smoothie, don’t gulp it down too fast. A trick is to “chew” your smoothie. Chewing a liquid might sound odd, but consider that smoothies are filled with carbohydrates (good kinds, but they’re still carbs). Compounds in your saliva begin carbohydrate digestion. When you take time to mix your smoothie with your saliva, you’re starting the digestion process and ingreasiny the liklihood that it will break down well and properly nourish your body.

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.


Consider not only how much you eat but also what you’re eating and how you eat it. Bringing mindfulness to mealtimes is always a good idea.

Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie

Serves 1

handful spinach
1 scoop of hemp protein powder
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon hemp hearts
½  banana
½  chopped peach
1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).

Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions.  Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.

Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they contain all of the essential amino acids, which are building blocks for protein.


When I Stopped Doing Yoga, I Learned a Lot About the Practice

For the better part of this year, I’ve been more out of my yoga practice than I have been in it.

This happens sometimes. For one reason or another, I fall out of my practice. Sometimes, I avoid it because I know the power yoga has to bring deep thoughts and emotions up to the surface. Other times I tell myself I’m too busy. Mostly, when I’m away from my mat it’s because I’ve prioritized the gym, hiking outdoors, or some other type of activity.

Each time I stray from my practice the same thing happens; I notice the aches in my shoulders and neck, how I quickly react to others, and a feeling of disconnect and discontent. This is not who I want to be. So, I know it’s time to begin again.

Returning to yoga has sparked a revision of my habits across the board. What I didn’t realize, is that my time away would give me profound perspective on what it means to have a conscious practice.

The habits you choose are the things that lift you up and create steady ground for you when you face difficulty. Your practice creates your resilience.

My Truths from OFF the Mat

“Practice is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire.” – Martha Graham

Practice reminds us that we have a goal, and creates space for us each to embody who, and how, we need to be in order to reach it.

For anyone with a goal to maintain healthy eating throughout the year, your practice involves gathering healthy recipes, grocery shopping and preparing food on a regular basis. These simple acts cause you to embody who and how you need to be to reach your health goal.

Miss a meal or a trip to the grocery store? If this happens often your body will let you know through weight gain, hunger, or digestive troubles, that you’ve strayed from your goal. It’s time to return to your practice.

This happens time and again for me with yoga. Tightness in my shoulders, shallow breath, and back aches signal to me that I’ve strayed from my yoga practice.

Doing yoga also allows me to be present with my thoughts and reflect on my true feelings. Each time I leave my mat, I am much closer to the version of myself that I wish to be (calm, centered and open). In this way, my yoga practice keeps me in line with my physical and mental goals.

My practice reminds me of my goal—if I didn’t have yoga rituals, there would be nothing for me to stray from, or return to.

Practice gives us the chance to show up and be who we are without fear of judgement or shame.

It lets us off the hook for not being perfect. It creates the understanding that we’re not striving for perfection. Flawless execution is not even part of the goal.

When you approach your way of eating, physical activities, or relationships as a practice it allows room for more compassion; with yourself and others. Just think, if you didn’t have expectations of your partner, parents, or colleagues how you would show up differently in your relationships with them? Would you find it easier or more difficult to love what is?

When the goal is to be in (living, surrendering and fully experiencing) the practice, there is more room to be playful, to laugh at yourself and to continue returning to the task each time your mind wanders, or your body strays. No judgement, it’s practice.

Knowing this makes it easier to return to my mat, my morning smoothies, or to take time to meditate. When I release the stress around living up to my ideas of perfection (particularly if I’ve been distracted from my goals) and fully embrace whatever shows up in the moment. This opens much more ease and wonder in my life, and is part of my practice of self-compassion.

Practice continually evolves.

As you learn and grow, new knowledge and skills are added, and your practice takes a different form. A child taking piano lessons builds on his breadth of knowledge and dexterity to play more complicated pieces of music.

It’s the same with building a foundation for wellness in your life. As you learn about new foods, cooking techniques, and exercises, your habits (and taste buds) evolve to accommodate them.

New possibilities emerge the longer you stick with your practice. Flexibility is gained, new insights are uncovered, and unacknowledged feelings emerge. No matter what the activity, it is through these actions that you return to, and become more of, yourself.

I’ve learned, over the years, from my journey to be the healthiest version of myself (emotionally, physically, mentally) that no matter what form my wellness practices take, I’m better for having them. There is a sense of accomplishment each time I master a new recipe, hold a balance pose, or speak my truth with courage. I witness my skills compound into new successes. As I live out these habits, I witness my own evolution.

Practice can be done for the sake of practice. It is an end in itself.  

The beauty of having a practice (whether it’s yoga, a sport, or meditation) is that there is no grand finale you’re working toward.

Often, we take up a practice for the benefits we perceive it offers. However, the benefits we find most valuable are usually the ones we discover along the way. A new runner might see running as a way to develop long, lean muscles, a slim waistline, or burn extra calories, only to learn that running outdoors offers connection with the Earth, alone time, and a blissful meditative state.

Similarly, what started out as a means to heal my digestion, my yoga practice has evolved into a regular ritual and taken root in my life’s work as I teach others.

Practice can be in community or a solo journey.

In all areas of life, our habits are reflected back to us when we see ourselves in others. The girl who reaches her first pull-up at the gym, your co-worker who walks on her lunch break, yes, even the guy yelling out his window in traffic may be a reminder of how you’ve showed up at one time or another. The point is, we can learn from each other’s successes and mistakes. As we cheer others on, we’re inspired by what we may one day accomplish.

Community also offers the opportunity to teach the skills we earned through practice. In this way, practice is a cycle of evolution.

I savor the community in yoga studios, and have taught many classes where beginners and seasoned yogis were mixed into the same room. Being in community reminds me of where I’ve been, and where I’ve yet to go. Seasoned students show me where my practice could take me. Beginners remind me of how I fell out of tree pose several times before I learned to stand tall. Through the mirroring of others, I see my accomplishments.

Practice is pervading, showing up in every area of our lives.

I speak a lot about yoga, because it is a practice I choose to continually evolve within. But really, practice shows up in all areas of life:

Your morning routine; a practice.

The thoughts you think when you look in the mirror: a practice.

Staying in, and living from, a place of love in your relationships: a practice.

Listening instead of reacting defensively; a practice.

Loving and accepting your body exactly as it is: a practice.



Eating healthy food,

Practice. Practice. Practice.

What will you choose to practice?

When we look at the many activities in our lives as a practice, we can let ourselves off the hook for the times when we fail to show up as the best and brightest versions of ourselves. If we regard our lives as a practice, all truths apply. Our endeavors give us the space to accept ourselves and our shortcomings; teaching us to return to the craft each time we falter.

Know that it’s never too late to start, or return to a practice. Even if it’s been months, or years even, sometimes space is necessary for perspective. If it’s something you love and believe in, pick it back up.

Have compassion for yourself as you try new habits on. Remember that there is room for growth and imperfection. Let yourself off the hook.

Most importantly, love yourself enough to try. Not just once, but day after day, even when you stumble. It’s in repetition that you grow, evolve and become resilient. Find a way to love the evolution of your craft, for in its evolution, is your life.

There is no dress rehearsal. Each moment is real, each action tangible, potent and fleeting.

And it’s all a practice.

Are you looking to sharpen or develop your practices of healthy eating, mindfulness, or yoga? The Eats & Asana 7-week nutrition and yoga course is an excellent opportunity to review your current practices, and adopt new ones that better serve you and your goals. You’ll be part of a loving, supportive community of others who are looking to do the same thing. Find out more here

HBF Home Workout: The Kettle Bell Sprint

A big thanks to Jenn Ricker from Zen Fitness for hosting the Healthy Balanced Free Crew at her Bell Park Bootcamp bright and early this morning. Jenn left us with this great Kettlebell Sprint workout that we can do at home.

Click Here to Download the Video (Right Click then Save As)

A big thanks to Jenn Ricker from Zen Fitness for hosting the Healthy Balanced Free Crew at her Bell Park Bootcamp bright and early this morning.

Jenn left us with this great Kettlebell Sprint workout that we can do at home.

You’ll need:

  • A kettlebell (a hand weight will do).
    Don’t have either? Sub the kettlebell swing for a squat.
  • A hill


  • 10 kettlebell 2 handed swings, one hill sprint,
  • 9 swings, 1 hill sprint,
  • 8 swings, 1 hill sprint,
  • Work your way down to 1 swing and 1 hill sprint.
  • Finish with deep breathing to restore yourself to natural breath.