I am a true believer of doing whatever it takes to maintain my weight, and oftentimes I found that sometimes even the most simple things can lead to behavior changes that increase your chances to be successful. Sometimes, simplicity is best.
- Eat off of smaller plates. Have you heard this before? You probably have. It is simple, but true. If you eat smaller portions off of a larger plate, you are going to feel deprived. It’s natural, there isn’t balance and symmetry with smaller portions on a huge plate. Use a smaller plate, like a salad plate to fill it up with healthy items. You will feel more fulfilled just looking at it and somehow the brain must tell the stomach that it’s going to be okay, you are going to have enough.
- Literally, slow it down when you eat! You’ve also heard this many times, but it is a good reminder to realize that it does take 20 minutes for your stomach to realize that it has been satiated. If you slow down, you taste and savor the food more (see “Are You a Gourmet or a Gourmand?”). Put the fork down and chew each bite thoroughly to enjoy your food.
- Keep the serving bowls off the table while you eat! Don’t eat family style and include them on the table, eat restaurant style where extra food is left in the kitchen. Remember that the food on your plate is one serving and if you get up to get seconds, you are doubling your servings. Same thing goes if you are eating a serving of chips, crackers, cookies or anything that it is hard to stop. Pull one serving of whatever it is out of the bag, put that on your plate and but the bag or box away so you’ll know when to quit.
- Drink lots of water at your meal. Some people say to drink 8 oz. of water before you eat. I find that if I drink 16 oz. during a meal, that I will feel full and satisfied more quickly.
- The color blue. If you can’t paint your dining room blue, then use a blue tablecloth, or eat from a blue dish, maybe even wear a blue shirt while eating because blue is a calming color. If you are surrounded by blue, then you are more likely to be more at peace and go slower because other colors like yellow or red can stimulate your emotions and possibly cause you to inadvertently eat more than you would if you were feeling calmer. Mexican Restaurants are usually painted red, and what better atmosphere to have some margaritas and a couple of bags of chips, as it puts you in the mood! Temper you eating environment with some blue and perhaps you feel more sedate. This may sound crazy, but once you think about it, it makes sense!
All of these 5 easy items are about increasing your awareness of your environment and yourself in the relationship you have with eating and food. Knowledge is power and anything we can do, no matter how trivial, to reach our goal, is only to our advantage.