Going on a diet to lose weight is often associated with going hungry. Not many wellness enthusiasts understand that it really Is all about simple mathematics: The calories you consume must be less than the calories you burn.
If you plan to go on a diet, it won’t be long before your patience and self-discipline undergo a severe test when faced with a scrumptious meal. The effect is usually disastrous: The more you resist, the more you end up eating when you finally cave in.
The Secret Is In Portions
“You don’t want to feel like you’re on a diet, but you have to eat fewer calories,” says Lisa Young, PhD, registered dietitian and author of The Portion Teller Plan.
Control what you eat, without necessarily depriving yourself too severely. It doesn’t have to be a war against yourself. There are stress-free ways to help you cut down on your intake and appreciate your meal times more, all the while expanding your palate as you reach the shape that you desire.
1. Survey The Choices
Before you dive into that sumptuous meal, take your time to stroll around and exercise your muscles a little.
A study was conducted on two buffet lines, one which presented food from the least to the most healthy, and the other in the reverse order. According to the results, regardless of the line, majority of the diners always took larger servings on the food they encountered first.
So before you mindlessly heap your plate, spending time going around the table can help you make conscious decisions on what to partake.
2. Dress To Eat Less
Experts say that in order to lessen the need to eat less, you should opt for more form-fitting clothes. The sensation of snugness will help to limit your meal servings and stop you from going for seconds.
3. Be In The Mood For Food
It is easy to overlook the ambiance of the meal especially when one is in a constantly struggle with a busy schedule. Play some music or light up some scented candles to set the mood. Preparing yourself for a more relaxed atmosphere during mealtimes enables you to savour your food more leisurely, making bites last longer and ultimately making you eat less.
Enhancing preparation time can also help you appreciate the meal process and slow down your eating. Take the time to shell, peel, unwrap, slice, and arrange your food. This will turn eating into less of a feeding frenzy and become a much more rewarding experience.
Two-thirds of the body is made up of water. Neglecting to drink water regularly may cause dehydration, which may be the reason for that grumbling in your belly. Moreover, Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD and author of The Flexitarian Diet, advises that drinking at least 500ml of water before meals will also reduce your hunger pangs and lessen your need to eat more.
5. Sip Slowly
Speaking of drinking, pairing up your meal with a cocktail may suit your taste. However, the trick is to drink from a highball glass, which will make you drink less than you think you’ve had. A study in 2005 revealed that bartenders poured up to 20% more liquor into a short, wide glass than a tall, thin one. Putting more ice into your drink also makes it look like it has more.
6. Mind The Dishes
The kind of dinnerware you use can influence your eating habits more than you may be aware of. According to a study at Cornell University in 2012, the colour of your plate can affect your food intake. Specifically, when the colour of your plate contrasts highly with the colour of your food, you are less likely to get hefty servings. Conversely, if the colour of your plate and your food are of a similar shade or hue, you are likely to eat more. So if you want to eat more of the greens, a green plate or bowl is one trick that may work for you.
7. Size Matters
In a similar study conducted by the same institution, people who use larger dishes are more likely to serve themselves larger portions by as much as 31%. Those who use larger utensils were also found to serve themselves more by 14.5%, compared to those who use smaller ones. In other words, using smaller plates or bowls and smaller utensils would enable you to eat less.
8. Lose The Box
When snacking, eating directly from the box or bag of chips enables you to eat more. This is confirmed through findings from another Cornell University study. It is found that people ate as much as 50% more if they could not see how large the serving actually is. Thus, the wise thing to do would be to cut up the entire portion ahead into smaller servings, so as to control your snack size.
9. Go Green and Leafy
Vegetables can pad up your meals while making you consume less calories. For that irresistible steak, Put more spinach in that salad or as a side dish while cutting a lesser meat serving. Add a little more lettuce and tomatoes than usual will also fill you up a little more quickly.
10. Mix and Match Wisely
Sandwiches can be made even more nutritious by adding spinach and zucchini to the usual tomatoes and lettuce. Using mushrooms instead of meat in your favourite recipes, and swapping whole-wheat pita bread for white loaf bread can cut your calorie intake per meal up to half.
11. Put Carbs At The Bottom
An effective way to control your portions, according to experts, is to use carbs to enhance your meals, and turn protein into the base, instead of the other way around. Grains and starches can be modified as toppings. For instance, if you’re making a stir fry, heap up on vegetables first, then add a minimal amount of the lean meat, and finally a quarter cup of rice to balance out the flavour.
12. Savour The Flavour
Prior to the entrée, try to prepare your palate with some soup. According to a study conducted in 2007, eating soup as an appetizer before a meal can reduce total calorie intake by as much as 20%. The flavourful broth helps you to feel full on the onset, making you less ravenous as the full course meal makes its way to you.
13. Take A Break From Technology
To boost the gustatory experience, try to avoid distractions such as the television and mobile phones. In a recent study, it is found that television viewing during mealtime tend to make people consume more than those who enjoyed their food without distractions. In addition, people who ate while doing something else, such as playing a game, reported to fell less full and tend to eat more later in the day compared to those who concentrated on their meals.
14. Reward Yourself Smartly
After having enjoyed a delightfully healthy mealtime that feels just “right,” it has become almost tradition to end with a sweet treat. Instead of the carbohydrate-heavy desserts you are used to having, try a lighter but still sweet alternative, such as a fruit medley or a tea-and-honey pair.