You know the rule: if you want to lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than you burn. Simple, right?
Not if you LOVE to eat – when you’re happy, when you’re sad, when you wake up, before you got to bed.
There’s nothing wrong with loving food. But food isn’t the problem, eating too much of it is.
By getting into some simple habits, you can reduce your chances of overeating.
1. Don’t Make Dinner when You’re Hungry – What? That’s when you should make dinner, when it’s time to eat; when you’re hungry. The problem is, when you have hunger pangs, there’s lots of temptation to snack on the foods you are preparing – and then you eat a full meal.
If you’re hungry, have an apple or some almonds before starting to prepare a meal. Not only will you kill the pangs, but you’ll probably eat less of the meal.
2. Avoid Variety – Yes, it’s the spice of life, but having too many options on your meal plate increases how much you eat. Have a balanced selection – vegetables, protein and starch – in just three or four options.
3. Sleep – This might also seem counterintuitive. It’s easy to think that staying up late or getting up early burns more calories. But, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body thinks there is a problem and goes into self-preservation mode by stimulating your appetite to increase fat stores.
4. Get Your Protein & ‘Slow’ Carbs – While you need a balanced diet that includes fat, carbohydrates and protein, it’s easier to get the required fat in your diet than the protein and high-fibre carbohydrates you need. Your body takes longer to digest both protein and fibre, so you feel full longer and eat less.
5. De-Stress – Like the lack of sleep, when you are under undue or chronic stress, your body takes steps to preserve itself, including producing more ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates your appetite. A great way to reduce stress is through exercise, which will burn more calories and improve your overall health.
6. Drink Water – Water keeps us alive. It helps transport nutrients throughout our body, keeps our joints lubricated and our system in good working order. During meals, sipping water between bites will also help to extend your meal, which increases the chance of you feeling full before you go for seconds. Between meals, water helps reduce the hunger pangs that can cause you to snack too much.
7. Reduce the Size of Your Dinner Plates – We tend to fill up our plates, regardless of how big they are. Smaller plates means we will fill the plate with less food.
8. Be Deliberate About Your Meals – When you make meals too informal, by having them in front of the TV or while on the computer, the distraction can cause you to overeat. Your mind is on something else and you just keep eating. Have you ever been surprised that you’ve finished the whole bag of chips you just started? Make it a point to sit down to your meals. Be conscious of your eating and take steps to eat slower so your body has time to register the fact that you are full.