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4 Mind/Body Tips to Help You Eat Less and Lose Weight

March 11, 2011

In my last post, I discussed an interesting new study that suggests by merely imagining eating specific foods it can lead to lesser consumption of that food afterwards. The authors do acknowledge more research is needed, however. But you don’t have to wait for more studies to start implementing the mind/body tricks many dietitians already use today. Try these tricks of the trade to help reduce your cravings and overall consumption.


Before and after each meal drink a full 8-ounce glass of water. Why? By doing this you are filling up on a calorie free beverage that makes you feel fuller, sooner. In addition, many times our thirst cues are confused for hunger cues and by drinking some water you may be satisfying a need to rehydrate as opposed to a need to refuel with food.


Ever heard the phrase, “my eyes wrote a check my stomach can’t cash?” Many people order more food than necessary when dining out or eat more at home, especially when they’re hungry. Why? When your stomach is empty people tend to overcompensate in order to quickly fill the void. But studies have shown it can work the other way around too.

Instead of overcompensating, try UNDERcompensating. Use smaller plates and glasses at home or ask for half your meal to be put in a “to-go” bag before it’s even brought to the table at a restaurant. Believe me, you’ll still see a plate full of food and by doing so your body will automatically assume that’s the amount it needs to eat to feel full, regardless of the fact that the plate is smaller or half has been tucked away for later.


This one is a personal favorite and it is so simple. When eating a meal, count your chews. Aim for 20-30 for each bite. I know it sounds like a hassle at first but if you do it enough, eventually it will become second nature. How does this help? By chewing your food more thoroughly you’re taking additional time to eat which in turn allows your body to better calculate just how much food it has taken in and how much more it needs. Furthermore, the very act of chewing has been shown to curb your appetite.  


Another personal favorite. Near the end of your meal shortly before you know you’ll feel satisfied take 3-5 minutes to simply sit. If you’re eating with others start a discussion, if you’re eating alone grab a paper and read or just go over your day. Just find a reason to set the fork down for a few minutes. Before you know it the allotted time will be up and you’ll probably feel full. It takes around 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full but many people only find 10-15 minutes to eat lunch or another meal each day. By extending your meal by just minutes you could really be doing yourself a favor.

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