Let’s face it — most of the time, we eat not because we’re hungry. Instead, we turn to food in order to increase our sense of comfort. Stress, climate, the time of day — all of this affects how much we eat.
So is there a way of making our psyche and surroundings help us to lose those unwanted pounds? There is, according to Brian Wansink — a psychologist, marketer, and food cravings researcher. Today we present some invaluable tips from his latest book!
1. Don’t be afraid of relapses
Most of us will find this situation familiar: you’re one week into your cabbage-and-water diet, and it looks like the hardest part is already behind you. Then, one night, something comes over you, and you find yourself by the fridge, chewing on a chicken drumstick and reaching for a chocolate bar. At times like this, keep calm and refrain from putting out the bitter taste of failure with even more unhealthy food. Just let go of that drumstick, pick up a cabbage leaf, and take a fresh bite!
2. Observe the rule of two
Try to make sure that your plate always contains two types of food: meat and side dish, side dish and salad, fish and vegetables. This simple arrangement will accustom you to a more sensible way of eating.
3. Getting a second helping
Change your dining locations. Pick up your plate and utensils (nothing else), and go to the living room or study. Alternatively, you can have your meal on the balcony, terrace, or out in the garden. This way, even if you want a second helping, there’s a chance that your hunger will subside before you reach the kitchen.
4. Leave evidence of your “crimes”
People who hurry to get rid of the “evidence” of their overactive appetite tend to eat more than those who leave it in plain sight until the end of the meal, preferring to be guided by their feeling of fullness.
5. The “bottomless plate” phenomenon
According to research, people tend to keep eating until their plate is empty, not until they feel full. The only way to solve this problem is to use smaller plates and eat mindfully. Keep watch over your sense of hunger, and try to ignore how much food remains on the table.
Alone, we eat 30% less than in the presence of another person. As for those situations when we share our dinner with 3 or 4 friends — such get-togethers make you consume 2 times more food than when you’re on your own. Conclusion? Try to eat your main meals alone, and limit yourself to snacks and drinks when in company.
7. Keep to the shopping list
When figuring out which products you’ll need for the coming week, do as experienced chefs do: make a complete list of necessary foodstuffs (meat, cereals, vegetables, and so on). Before going to the supermarket, check the list and only buy products you are short of.
8. Say no to yummies
Find the darkest, most hard-to-reach place in your house, and stash all your yummy snacks there. (Or, at the very least, relocate them to the remotest corner of the fridge.) You might say, Why not simply refrain from buying these sources of temptation in the first place? Because, as Wansink points out, that’s easier said than done. Making your home a “junk food-free zone” will simply cause you to eat more (in who knows what quantities) at your friends’, in cafes, or at work. The right solution is to keep buying those things, but eat sensibly.
9. Chew everything thoroughly
Studies show that chewing each mouthful of food at least 32 times helps to better saturate our taste receptors, which significantly reduces the appetite and gives a faster feeling of fullness.
10. Don’t save calories in the morning
If Wansink’s statistics are to be believed, breakfast habits amount to 96% of the art of preserving a good figure. Only 4 out of the 100 slim women he interviewed said they don’t touch food in the mornings. On the other hand, those who had excess weight admitted skipping the first meal of the day in hopes of becoming slimmer.
11. Eat your food in portions
According to Wansink’s observations, people who prefer to sit with their backs to cafe pastry shelves or sweet stands tend to find it easier to maintain a slim figure. You can follow this tactic at home by serving your meals in portions, using plates only. As for bowls, frying pans, etc, they should stay in the kitchen and never appear on the table. You see less, you eat less. It’s as simple as that!
12. Be calm and consistent
Don’t rush to try out all the tips at once. The best solution would be to implement one new piece of advice each week. Gradually, in small steps, you’ll attain a new way of life and acquire a slim and beautiful body!