5 simple strategies to help you lose weight.
You know that one of the keys to losing weight is eating fewer calories. But it can be hard to know how to cut back without feeling deprived or hungry. These tips can help make healthy eating easier.
Out of sight, out of mind. It’s hard to resist temptation when it’s staring you in the face. When office workers were given candies in clear dishes to place on their desks, they helped themselves to candy 71 percent more often than a similar group that was given the same candy in opaque dishes so that the candy wasn’t visible, according to research by Brian Wansink, Ph.D., director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, New York. “We’re all on the ‘see-food’ diet,” he says, “so don’t let yourself see what you don’t want to eat.” Do yourself a favor and keep tempting foods out of your sight. If you’re going to keep snacks at home, stash them inside a cupboard; keep healthier options like apples out on the counter.
Focus on your food. If you eat while you’re distracted—like when you’re watching TV or even thinking about other things—you may end up eating more without even enjoying it. A study in the journal Appetite found that people who ate lunch while listening to a recording that cued them to pay attention to the look, smell, taste and texture of their food ate fewer cookies as a snack later on. Rather than mindlessly plowing through food, take time to savor it.
Eat with chopsticks. An easy way to slow down your eating (which can help you lose weight) is to put your fork down between bites—or consider using chopsticks. When eating, it takes 20 minutes for your body to register fullness. And according to a University of Rhode Island study, you can save 70 calories by eating slowly over about half an hour versus eating in under 10 minutes. If you ate slower at every meal, that would translate into losing about two pounds a month.
Fill up on fiber. Vegetables are low in calories, but their water and fiber content make them filling. Whole grains (like brown rice, quinoa, 100% whole-grain bread) are also more satisfying than refined grains, so you might find you feel fuller on a smaller portion.
Size down your dinnerware. A smaller portion will look meager if served on a gigantic plate. Invest in 7-inch plates (about the size of a salad plate) to eat your meals on and you won’t feel deprived when eating an appropriately sized portion. Another trick, from a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, is to make sure your plates and bowls contrast color-wise with your food—e.g., oatmeal served in a red bowl rather than a white one. Researchers found that participants ate less when served food in a high-contrast plate or bowl, likely because it made their portion even more noticeable.
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