You know the drill: Tell yourself to start dieting, and you immediately start pondering exactly how many doughnuts you can scarf down ASAP. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Learn how to eat less with these easy five tricks from nutritionist Rania Batayneh, author of The One One One Diet.
Follow the “Half Now, Half Later” Rule
This is a very effective strategy that Batayneh uses with her clients. If you order a sandwich or pasta bowl for lunch and you see that the portion may be too large, enjoy half of it, and save the rest for later. Interestingly, a Food Quality and Preference study found that portion size didn’t have a direct impact on a diner’s level of satisfaction. Besides, you can always have the second half later in the day or for dinner.
Balance Your Plate
Balanced meals are important for blood sugar stabilization, which is a key factor in controlling your sugar cravings, as well as hunger. Eating a meal composed of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fat will keep you fuller, longer. The protein keeps your blood sugar in check, the carbs are rich in metabolism-boosting B vitamins, and the good fat satiates our brain and stomachs.
When we’re stressed, our bodies release hormones like cortisol—and higher levels of this can boost your appetite. Modern stressors in our everyday lives (bad traffic, annoying neighbors, and demanding bosses) drive you to eat more food than necessary, ultimately leading to weight gain. Learn how you can de-stress and feel more Zen to crush any pesky cravings.
Downsize Your Dinnerware
Eat on a smaller plate, and you may end up dropping a few pounds. Obviously, you’re reducing portion size, but you’re also tricking your brain into being satisfied, says food psychologist Brian Wansink, Ph.D. Seeing a small portion on a large plate makes you think you’re missing out, but seeing the same portion pushing the borders of a smaller plate tricks you into thinking you’re eating more, says Wansink.
Go to Bed
When we’re low on sleep and energy, we often turn to fast calories—foods that are easy to eat and provide immediate gratification. Unfortunately, those foods are often high in calories, refined carbs, sugar, and fat. Sleep deprivation also increases levels of ghrelin—the so-called “hunger hormone”—and decreases levels of leptin—the “fullness hormone”—which signals satiety. Aim to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
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