Weight loss is a long, gradual process, and when you love to eat, one of the hardest parts can be continually resisting temptation. Some battles will be tougher than others, but there are several simple strategies you can employ every day to stay in control and on track to reach your goals.
Create Healthy Surroundings
If you’re constantly looking at a food, it’s natural to want to eat it. When you prepare and eat most of your meals at home, 93 percent of the total food you eat comes from what you have stocked there, according to Dr. Tim Harlan, founder of DrGourmet.com. That means if you regularly overeat, you can do a lot more damage by demolishing a few bags of cookies than a tray of fresh-cut veggies. Control your gluttony before it starts by not buying junk food at the grocery store and instead stocking your kitchen with fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, beans, legumes and nonfat dairy.
Cravings are different from hunger, and understanding the distinction is important if you want to lose weight. Hunger is a physical need for food to refuel your body, but cravings are emotional or psychological, are more likely to lead to overeating and are typically for a specific food, like chocolate or chips. If you get a craving, distract yourself temporarily, and it may disappear. In one study published in 2014 in the journal “Appetite,” participants who played a computer game when cravings struck had significantly less desire for the food when the game was over.
Use Smaller Plates
If you find your eyeballed portion sizes too big for your stomach, it’s possible that your dinnerware is too big. According to a research review published in 2007 in the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association,” people who are presented with inflated portion sizes on large plates eat up to 50 percent more calories. Even an inch or two can make a big difference. If your dinner plates are currently 12 inches in diameter, for example, try 10-inch plates instead.
Drink Water, Eat Fiber
Water takes up room in your stomach and makes you feel fuller, although it’s completely calorie-free. According to research conducted by Virginia Tech associate nutrition professor Brenda Davy, drinking two glasses of water before each meal can help dieters lose about 5 additional pounds every three months. Fiber-rich foods have similar effects to water because they typically have high water contents -- plus, because they’re slow to digest, they prolong feelings of fullness. People who eat the most fiber typically have the lowest body weights and body fat contents.
- Huffington Post: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Managing Food Cravings
- Appetite: Playing 'Tetris' Reduces the Strength, Frequency and Vividness of Naturally Occuring Cravings
- Journal of the American Dietetic Association: Portion Size Me
- Nutrition: Dietary Fiber and Body Weight
- Virginia Tech: Clinical Trial Confirms Effectiveness of Simple Appetite Control Method