“Just Eat Less”

OK, Einstein. How?

Not a single one of us doesn’t understand why we “just need to eat less” if we want to lose weight, but most of us need to give some thought to how to do that. I suspect the big appeal of fad diets is the authoritative way they dictate what you should and shouldn’t eat. But they don’t work for the long term, so what can we do that will?

You may have seen lists of dozens of tips for curbing your intake, but they don’t all apply to everyone. So ask yourself a question or two:

  • Do you have a problem food? Stick to “1 serving” or even eliminate it. I am the first to say “the package size = the serving size,” because it’s so easy to do! But even if you’re overwhelmed by keeping a detailed food record, you can measure out one or two things that tend to trip you up. Most of the time a single serving is only about an ounce.
  • Getting sidetracked by sweet stuff from breakfast on? Fill up on good stuff first. There’s a reason the “no calorie-counting” plans focus on protein and vegetables: these foods make us feel satisfied sooner — plus they are what we absolutely positively need to eat every day. Make sure you get plenty of those, and you’ll have less room for dessert.
  • Lots of hunger pangs? Drink enough water. It’s easy to assume that “feeling hungry” means you should definitely eat, but a lot of us just don’t drink enough water. Have a glass of water first, and see if that was what your body was asking for.
  • Tend to stuff yourself at meals? Consider eating smaller amounts, more often. Sometimes it’s harder to exercise portion control when there is lots of food available. Planning to have smaller, healthy meals throughout the day helps in 2 ways: gets you thinking more carefully about your food, and keeps hunger pangs at bay so it’s easier to eat only what you plan to eat.
  • Can’t give up your membership in the Clean Plate Club? Use smaller plates. This surprisingly simple rule takes advantage of the fact that we tend to prefer a plate that’s full of food — and then we have to eat it all. Using smaller plates in the first place can help you “normal-size” your portions and still feel the satisfaction of a plate well cleaned.

Cheeky illustration by Mr Lovenstein

What are you favorite tips and tricks? What makes them so helpful for you?

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