It’s amazing what diet tricks can accomplish. With some simple planning, you can maintain a healthy weight without significantly affecting the portions of food you eat.
Here are some tricks that are easy enough for anyone to do, and that you can start right away. You won’t even know you’re doing them.
Let’s dive right in!
Calorie Trick # 1: Smaller Dinnerware
When it comes to dinnerware, size matters! The dimensions of a plate, bowl, and spoon affect how much food you consume.
This strategy may seem overly simple, but people don’t think to adopt it. And it works! In one study, 85 nutrition experts were given ice cream and different sized bowls and scoopers. Results showed that the bowl size changed the size of the scoops by as much as 31%. And a second study at Pennsylvania State University showed that changes in the number of M&M’s in a bowl affected how much was eaten. The more that was in a bowl, the more people ate.
So next time it’s time for dessert, break out your smaller dinnerware to keep the calories to a minimum - even if the tiny spoons look ridiculous!
Calorie Control Trick # 2: See No Evil, Eat No Evil
No matter if you are at home, a party, or a feast with the family, it turns out that the harder it is to see or smell food, the less you will eat.
For instance, storing additional portions of food away from the dining table helps. Examples include storing food inside the pots on the stove or in the refrigerator. If you regularly store snacks or cookies in non-glass, opaque jars, you consume less. If you are at a party, standing away from the buffet or snack table keeps snacking at bay.
If you are prone to eating sweets, place them in the far back of a cabinet or refrigerator. The worse they are for you, the further away they go, such as to the garage or separate storage closet. The fewer times you see them, the less you will be tempted.
Proximity is a real problem. Storing treats on your desk vs. 6 feet away results in you eating up to six more sweets a day. Exposed foods are eaten 46% faster than hidden foods.
Calorie Control Trick # 3: Limit Your Options
A British study showed that children eat less food that is familiar. If they have a favorite candy they eat every day and are exposed to it at a party, they will be less prone to eating it. This strategy works for Halloween as well. And if you opt to buy only one type of cereal vs. three or five different cereals, less of that cereal is eaten over time.
Calorie Control Trick # 4: Slow Down!
Eating slower leads to less eating. Take your time with each bite and ingest each serving entirely before taking another bite. Count out 20-25 chews between servings. These tricks release hormones in your body that tell your brain you are full before you overeat.
Other tricks work too. One study of 48 participants in a lab at Pennington Medical Centre charted their results as they ate three meals at lunchtime over multiple days. Before eating, the test takers didn’t exercise or eat any food 12 hours before the day’s lunch. Then they ate fried chicken sliced into small bits, chewing at their own speed one day, at half speed another day, or a mix of the two on yet another day. Results showed that starting the meal at their own speed and ending at a slower speed resulted in appetite suppression.
When you have your next meal, try the same strategy. Eat as you usually would, but finish by eating slower.
Calorie Control Trick # 5: Remove Distractions
Numerous research studies show that distractions increase the amount of food you eat. If you watch TV or look at your smartphone while you eat, you eat more food than you would otherwise. Eating a large bag of popcorn is an excellent example of how much you can eat while distracted with a favorite show. Without that show, you would eat much less.
One study showed that participants who listened to a detective story during lunchtime consumed 15% more food than with no story at all. And a second study at the University of Southern California showed that movie watchers in a theatre didn’t change their eating quantities regardless of whether the popcorn was fresh or stale, but if popcorn is placed in an office, they chose the fresher popcorn. Environment makes a difference.
To keep the weight off and stay healthy, eat slowly, and keep an eye on your environment, activities, and how accessible the foods are. Be particularly cautious of settings designed for maximum entertainment, such as movie theatres. If not, it could get you to eat even when you don’t want to!For more wellness tips visit our blog.