Researchers at Cornell University conducted a study where volunteers were asked to estimate the number of eating decisions they make everyday. Most people answered with 15. In fact, they really made around 221 decisions regarding what to eat—as well as how, when, where and with whom they’d eat.
Researcher and food psychologist Brian Wansink says: ”So many food decisions are made on mindless autopilot. It’s really easier than we think to let small things around us—plate size, package size, people around us, distractions—influence these 200-plus decisions, because we are not aware of them in the first place.”
Let’s face it, if losing weight were easy, two thirds of the population wouldn’t be overweight. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat less and eating less usually leaves you feeling hungry, which most of us find unpleasant. And that’s the reason why many people get discouraged and give up their diet. So here are a few tricks you can use to eat less without getting frustrated.
1. Use smaller plates: A normal-sized portion of food looks bigger on a smaller plate, so it gives you the illusion that you’re eating more than you actually are. Also, several studies have shown that we tend to pour less liquid in our glasses when using tall, skinny glasses as opposed to wide, squat ones.
2. Chew gum while cooking: Avoid tasting the cookie dough or cake batter, and keep your mouth busy with a strong, mint-flavored gum, and your taste buds content with a powerful flavor such as spearmint. Bonus: if you go for a sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol it may help fight that dreadful cavity-causing bacteria.
3. Keep baby carrots close by: We often just feel the need to nibble on something without being hungry. Reasons range from feeling bored to being stressed out or nervous. Go for a healthy snack and crunch on baby carrots when you feel the need to chew on something. Also, make sure to have a glass of ice water on hand.
4. Eat foods with higher water content: Water is a miracle for your diet: it has no calories but it takes up a lot of space in your stomach, thus creating a sensation of fullness or satiation. Studies have shown that people who drank two glasses of water before meals got full sooner, therefore ate fewer calories, and lost more weight. So go for foods that are rich in water and feel satisfied without adding extra calories.
5. Brush your teeth after dinner: Brushing your teeth right after you’ve had dinner sends a powerful message to your brain: “eating time’s over”. Your brain automatically obeys so there’s less chances you’ll feel the need for a late night snack.