By Nicci Micco, Editor-at-Large for EatingWell Magazine
“Dieting” is a drag. Yes, I talk about losing weight. All. The. Time. So I certainly don’t mean to imply that embarking on a effort to shed pounds can’t feel empowering and exciting; I’m simply saying that weight-loss tactics that focus on how much you’re cutting back -- the sort of behavior I’d refer to “dieting”—isn’t all that fun. So, while I’m a huge proponent of keeping a food diary to lose weight -- research shows that it works -- not everyone agrees that it’s a worthy use of time. (What else works for weight loss? Discover the 4 Secrets of Skinny People). Even thinking about how to cut calories can, to some, feel like a total waste of brain space. And so, for you, my friends, I offer these simple mind tricks for getting slim:
As serving sizes have gotten bigger, so have plate sizes. The result: Appropriately-sized portions look puny. Put your food on smaller dishes and your drinks in smaller glasses to help you feel satisfied on less food. More from EatingWell: 8 Secret-Weapon Foods for Weight Loss 7 Foods That Do the Weight-Loss Work for You 10 Ways to Snack Smarter
Fill half your plate with vegetables, as the United States Department of Agriculture's new MyPlate -- which replaces the Food Pyramid -- suggests. (Divide the other half into whole grains and a lean source of protein). Vegetables generally are loaded with fiber, which helps keep you feeling full. (Find 5 More Diet Tricks to Keep You Feeling Satisfied.)
Eat with chopsticks, which allow you to pick up only a small amount of food at a time, so you slow down. Savoring every bite of your meal can help you recognize when you're full -- before it's too late.
Foods with that contain lots of water -- think soups, salads, cucumbers and watermelon -- help you feel full and satisfied on fewer calories. Starting a meal off with these foods can help prevent you going overboard on higher-calorie foods later. For example, research out of Penn State shows that having a first-course salad can reduce overall calorie intake at a meal by up to 12 percent. In another study, people who started lunch with vegetable soup ended up eating 20 percent less than those who skipped the soup. Try these recipes for Soups and Salads to Help You Lose Weight.
(And sit in a chair). Have you ever had dinner while unloading the dishwasher? Um, guilty. Not a great plan if you're trying to lose weight, as multitasking at meals often leads to forgetting you've even eaten. Case in point: A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that playing solitaire while eating dampened participants' memories of their lunch (and made them feel less full), which, in turn, may have caused them to eat 125 calories more when they snacked later on. More from EatingWell : 8 Secret-Weapon Foods for Weight Loss 7 Foods That Do the Weight-Loss Work for You 10 Ways to Snack Smarter
How do you trick yourself into eating less?
By Nicci Micco
Nicci Micco is editor-at-large for EatingWell and co-author of EatingWell 500-Calorie Dinners. She has a master's degree in nutrition and food sciences, with a focus in weight management.
Follow EatingWell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/eatingwell