Small food changes that help you slim down

Small food changes that help you slim down

Eating is such a basic and pleasurable part of our lives that we often do it mindlessly.

Pay a little more attention and you might find you’re much more in control of how much you consume than you think. You’ll also discover how much things around you — like plate size — can influence your food decisions.

Little changes can mean a big difference for your waist line — something that fascinates researchers at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. They released a host of findings as part of “The Behavioral Science of Eating” in the January 2016 issue of the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research. Here are 10 insights that could change your eating habits:

1. Skip a meal if you’re not particularly hungry.

Are you heading for the fridge because your stomach is growling or just because you’re bored? Try to listen to your body. Eating when you’re not hungry causes your blood sugar to spike, which is not healthy.

2. Be careful around “healthy” food labels.

People tend to overeat food described as “healthy” because they think it’s less filling than “unhealthy” choices. Knowing this, pay attention to the recommended serving size and don’t overload your plate.

3. Install mirrors where you eat.

It turns out watching yourself devour chocolate cake makes the treat less tasty compared to eating it in a room where you can’t see your reflection. Mirrors in the kitchen and dining room add a bit of discomfort if you’re overindulging, but don’t change the taste of healthy food, researchers found.

Small food changes that help you slim down

4. Healthy meals can take a cue from “Happy Meals”.

In experiments, adults and children would rather eat a smaller portion of food paired with a toy or gift card than opt for a larger meal without a prize. Brain scans showed they responded to the prize in the same way they reacted to additional food.

5. Take a hint from Disney’s influence on diners.

When fruits and vegetables became default side dishes for kids’ meals at Walt Disney World restaurants, diners ate at least 11 percent more of them. Make healthy side dishes a default in your own kitchen.

6. Read nutrition labels carefully.

Don’t be seduced by a tasty treat that hides its true calorie count in a very small recommended serving size. Once you start, will you really stop yourself at two pieces or one thin slice? “Smaller recommended serving sizes will let all nutrition values on the label appear smaller too,” says lead author Dr. Ossama Elshiewy from the University of Goettingen. That can lead to overeating.

7. Use smaller plates.

RELATED: Master your munching: Simple ways to eat less every day

8. You’ll eat less from a less fancy plate.

We tend to throw away more food when we eat from paper plates than when we use ceramic dishware. Researchers think this is because we tend to associate food on disposable plates as more disposable, too. No one wants to waste food, but this research shows plate material plays a role in our consumption habits.

9. Choose a fork over a spoon.

This simple change can make a difference in how much you eat. People perceive a food as lower in calories and they want more of it when they eat it with a spoon than a fork. When it doubt, go for the fork!

10. Avoid negative messages.

Dieters who watched a “food police”-style video that bluntly told them “All sugary snacks are bad” ate 39 percent more cookies than those who saw a more positive clip. A gentler combination of negative and positive messages about food has a better effect, researchers say.

Drink plenty of water when you feel hungry

Drink plenty of water when you feel hungry

For many people drinking a lot of water is a useful tool to help them eat fewer calories or get more exercise. If this is not true for you then you will see no benefit from drinking more water.
I would suggest that when you feel hungry that you try having a drink. Your body can not tell the difference between feelings for hunger and thirst.

If you’re feeling more hungry than usual, try to fill up on healthy, low calorie things like fruit and vegetables. I think a lot of people concentrate on drinking water because it is a lot easier than eating less or exercising. Unless you are drinking gallons a day it will certainly not hurt anything. Water is one of the few things you can indulge in as much as you want without any negative effect.

Water is a lot like air. Both are absolutely vital for your body to function properly. Your body assumes both are readily obtainable and does not hoard either or try to get you to excessively consume when they are available to make up for times when they will be scarce. If you need more air you breathe harder, if you need more water you get thirsty. Just because air is vital does not mean you need to constantly try to breathe more air. Just because water is vital does not mean you will see benefits by drinking massive quantities of water.

Drink plenty of water when you feel hungry

I think drinking lots of water helps people lose fat if, and only if:

1 – They are drinking water instead of regular soda, juice, beer, milk or some other high calorie beverage. This can make a huge difference, particularly for heavy soda drinkers that can regularly drink 600+ Calories worth of soda a day.

2 – Drinking water makes them feel full and eat less at meals.

3 – They can substitute drinking water for having a snack when they are hungry.

Many people find at least one of these items to be true for them. But a lot of us do not and drinking water will not help.

It is normal for most people you size to lose the first 10 or 15 pounds much quicker than the rest of the weight. If this happens to you do not become discouraged. If you are losing weight at 1 or 2 pounds a week you are doing great.

It is the total amount of exercise you get that matters most. If you tire easily you might try something less strenuous like walking (which is how I get most of my exercise) and do it for a longer period of time. Eventually your stamina will build up. I started with a .7 mile walk every night a few years ago.

Now I average about 200 miles a month. This takes a lot time though. Being single I have the time but if you are busy shorter periods of more intense exercise will be just as beneficial and take much less time. From what I have read short periods of more intense exercise will be better for your heart too but picking an exercise program you can stick with forever is more important than anything else.