20 Simple Ways to Eat Less (Science Based Research)
How to Eat Less?
Does Eating Less to Lose Weight Really Work?
You might be having many such questions. Almost everything we do in life is because we follow a routine, or for a better word, we form a habit. Habits are unconscious actions that guide our day to day activities and sometimes cause more harm than good, this is particularly true when it comes to eating habits. Obesity, as we all know, is also caused by eating too much and just leaving it to that, just eating. We do not move around or even exercise enough. If we are consuming high levels of energy in the form of fats and sugars and not engaging in regular physical exercise then most of what we eat will get stored as fat in the body.
Diet and Weight Loss
Eating a balanced nutritious diet is of prime importance in order to lose weight and staying healthy. Avoid junk food like burgers and fries as they contain salts and fats, which influence your taste buds into eating, more than required. Eating protein-rich food such as green vegetables and lean meats can be very beneficial to weight loss attempts as they boost metabolism and reduce hunger. Exercising causes loss of fat and muscle in the body and during this process, you must ensure that you continue to add enough protein in your diet, as it fuels fat burning while preserving calorie-burning lean muscle. Here are 21 scientifically proven hacks that will help you eat less and lose weight, mindfully (1).
20 Simple Ways to Eat Less
1. Use Smaller Bowls and Plates
It is all about how you see it. When you use a large plate, an ample sized portion looks small, hence you add more food to make the plate look fuller, and you end up eating more than you should or usually do. When you use a small or medium-sized platter, a smaller sized portion looks sufficient. Hence, use smaller bowl and plates to trick your brain into thinking that you are eating perfectly sized portions. For sweet dishes, avoid eating them directly from the tub or box with a large spoon, instead buy individual portion bowls and use smaller spoons (2).
2. Eat Patiently in a Calm Environment
It is proven that it takes 20 minutes into eating for our brains to signal that we are full or we have eaten enough. If we eat too fast and impatiently, we tend to not receive this signal and overeat. Hence, try to eat only when you have a sufficiently long break from work in a quiet and peaceful environment, ideally stretching your meal time to 20-25 minutes.
3. Do not Eat While Watching TV
Distracted eating will lead to overeating. Most people like to eat a whole tub of popcorn or eat their dinner or lunch in front of their favorite television show and they have no clue how much of junk they have consumed, mostly because their attention is diverted towards the show and not what is entering their body. Some people will not stop eating until their programme has ended. Moreover, most television advertisements are filled with no- good junk food promotions which appeal to our senses, and we are unconsciously poked into ordering them even when it is unnecessary. Research has even shown that when we cannot hear ourselves chewing, we tend to eat more. Hence, a simple solution to all this is following a no food in front of the table policy. This should be applied strictly to not only children but adults as well.
4. Eat an Early Dinner
Experts say that restricting your meals to a time of 6 am to 7 pm reduces the amount of calorie intake. A longer duration of overnight fast means your body has reached a state of ketosis, where all bodily activity is fuelled by already stored fat, hence, aiding weight loss. Eating dinner immediately before you go to sleep can also lead to indigestion and heartburn making sleeping difficult.
5. Serve Less
If you usually prepare 100 grams worth pasta for yourself, reduce it to 80 grams. According to research, our body does not notice a slight increase or decrease in food intake. Moreover, encourage children (and adults) to serve themselves only as much as they will eat. Filling your plate with food more than you can consume, does not only lead to overeating but also food wastage.
6. Limit Salt Intake
Excess consumption of salt leads to water retention in the body and will make you feel bloated. Though it does not increase your body fat, it will increase your water weight will show on the weighing scale.
7. Divide the Food on Your Plate
Portion control is essential for weight management and weight loss. Your plate must be divided not only according to different types of nutrients, but also the correct serving of those nutrients. Make sure you have one-quarter of your plate reserved for protein-rich food like lean meat. One quarter reserved for healthy grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and couscous. Fill the rest of the plate with fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid overstuffing your plate and going for multiple servings. Also, do not eat the leftovers of others.
Here is an amazing video from Clancy Burke on how to eat less
8. Add Some Salad to Your Diet
Salads will only help in weight loss if they are filled with ingredients that help you feel full and decrease your calorie intake. Fruit or mixed vegetable chicken salads are advised to aid weight loss. However, please note that a dietary plan that consists of solely eating salad is going to deprive your body of other essential nutrients, the salad should be an addition and not the prime component of your meals. There are many tasty salad recipes that are very healthy.
9. Use Tall Glasses
As mentioned previously in regard to small bowls and plates, using taller, slimmer glasses gives us an impression of consuming more of a drink even if the portion is smaller or amply sized.
10. Have Specified Eating Timings
If we eat at specific timings each day, our body slowly starts to follow a cycle and we will feel hungry only at those timings in the day. This will reduce unnecessary binging t several points during the day and help in weight loss. Control your mind to not crave for food at any other timings but the ones you have set for yourself.
11. Do not Miss Meals
When you skip a meal of the day, it is obvious that you are prone to feeling more deprived and hungry. Skipping meals reduces metabolic rate and decreases weight-losing ability. Though we will intake lesser calories, this is not beneficial in the end. When we skip an important meal such as breakfast, we tend to feel more hungry during the day and you will find yourself binging on junk food, which defeats the entire purpose of skipping breakfast anyway. Skipping any meal during the day will make you feel more hungry during the night, and we will succumb to the pressure of eating more as our resistance to cravings is least during the night. If timings are an issue, try to pack your meals to work or office, but never miss a meal completely.
12. Eat More Protein
Proteins in contrary to carbohydrates take a longer period to digest. Hence, you feel full for a longer time and it keeps your hunger and weight in check. Add protein to your breakfast in the form of eggs, milk, and lean meats. Protein-rich foods can be added to your breakfast and post workout for maximum benefits.
13. De-stress before Eating
We have heard a lot of people find comfort in food. Be it a break up or a stressful test, people tend to eat more in order to divert their mind from stressful situations in their life. However, is temporary relief better than permanent damage? There are certainly better and healthier ways of dealing with tough times rather than downing an entire tub of ice cream. Try yoga or watch a relaxing feel good movie. Call a friend over or pour your heart out in your diary. Remember, sadness does not last, but your body fat definitely can.
14. Plan your Meal in Advance
If you plan to go out to dinner try to get an idea of what the menu is like and consciously decide to eat something substantially healthy and leave the unhealthy part only for dessert or rule it out completely. Avoid stacking your cart with junk processed food every time you go grocery shopping and if you decide on having one cheat meal a day, compensate it with a healthy meal the next day. If you have an off from work, make judicial use of your free time by preparing a healthy home cooked meal rather than ordering pizza or packaged food.
15. Eat 8 Small Meals
Divide your day by eating 6-8 small meals at regular intervals. Apart from the three main courses of the day, punctuate mini eating breaks in between to boost metabolism and defeat hunger cravings. Eating only 3 meals a day causes overeating and your metabolism weakens, causing your weight to spiral out of control.
16. Go for a walk
Any kind of physical activity, be it daily exercise or just going for a brisk walk can help reduce weight as you lose calories. A daily half an hour session of brisk walking can help you lose 150 calories. It also helps you distress and fell better. It diverts your mind and helps you fight the temptation of binging on unhealthy food at home. Walks after a meal also help absorb glucose and keeps insulin levels down. There are many health benefits of walking and it is simple exercise with almost zero initial cost.
17. Chew Slowly
As mentioned earlier, the brain takes around 20 minutes to signal us that we have eaten to our full capacity. Hence chewing slowly increases the length of our meal and you end up eating lesser and not stuffing yourself.
18. Do Not Eat Directly from the Package
Eating directly from the package or the tub spells diet trouble. We will have no control over the quantity we are consuming and may over-eat. Hence, it is always advisable to portion out how much you will eat and serve in a bowl, plate, or napkin; so that you have a fair idea of what and how much of it are you eating.
19. Eat from Brightly Colored Plates
It is scientifically proven that you tend to eat lesser when you eat from brightly colored utensils due to the color contrast between the food and crockery.
20. Keep Snack Out of Sight
The adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’ works perfectly here. Either clear your fridge and kitchen of unhealthy snacks like chips, packages noodles and adulterated drinks or stack them in a kitchen cabinet or box, away from direct visibility. Avoid the junk food area during grocery shopping and start eating healthier alternatives.
Having said all this, it is still quite possible that you are unable to lose weight even when you eat healthy food. This is because your calorie intake is much more than your calorie loss. In simpler words, you are eating more than you are losing. Eating mindlessly, not taking account of what and how much of it you’re eating or sometimes just eating because you’re bored and have nothing better to do, is your personal high way to health hell. In our busy and hectic lives, we find it tiresome to or do not give enough attention to forming healthy eating habits and would rather binge on easily available ready to eat processed food that is a storehouse of fat and sugar, rather than taking healthy and calculative food eating decisions. Shifting one’s focus to mindful, calculated eating is the key to weight loss. Training your mind into voluntarily choosing the right food and the right proportion of intake takes time and practice, but a small shift in perspective will go a long way.
As you may have noticed none of the above tips asked you to go on a strict no sugar no fat diet or starve yourself to a size zero figure, however, these are a few sure shot mental shifts and tricks that can help you reduce weight and lead a healthy lifestyle in the long run.