The safest and most waterproof way of shedding weight is simply to change your eating habits…and your appetite. The signals that indicate hunger do not always work properly in overweight people, so you have to learn how outsmart yourself
Eat from a small plate, drink from a small glass, and then even a small portion won’t look quite so miserable any more. Your stomach receives the good news via the eye – that “here’s plenty of food; I’ll certainly be satisfied”.
Sit down to every meal. This helps you to concentrate on the food before you, to relax, and to eat and chew slowly. The danger has been averted – that you “just nibble” a bit in between times – simply because something tasty and tempting is within your reach. So a thoughtless intake of calories has been avoided.
Chew slowly. If you demolish your meal in a hurry, the feeling of satisfaction will lag behind. Your appetite will still be there, even though you have eaten enough. Chew every bite about 15 times. This is healthy because the saliva assists the digestive system.
If you get hit by a mighty appetite, think first of lettuce and vegetables. These contain a lot of water, few calories and satisfy quickly. The bulkage fills the stomach and subdues the appetite. It’s handy to have a few cucumbers, carrots and such in the house, to nibble at when the need arises. Another method to enrich a meal with bulkage is to use bran.
Learn to love potatoes. For decades they were the declared enemy of weight conscious people, when in reality the potato is most obliging and figure-friendly. A medium-sized potato, baked in foil, contains only 60 calories. With a bit of pepper and salt it’s very tasty.
Your fridge should become a place of controlled boredom. Don’t fill it up with delicious, calorie-rich food, but rather with vegetables, lettuce, yogurt and skim milk.
Banish nibbles such as pretzel sticks, chips; get them out of your sight. If you have to stock something at all, just in case guests might turn up, then lock it away, if necessary with a lock and key.
Don’t skip a meal. This might sound a paradox, but people who do this on account of their figure, usually take the next opportunity to put back what they have missed. Accustom your stomach to regular hours and you’ll find it easy to resist the sweet tooth.
Don’t let anything distract you while eating. If you have to read, watch television, or make a long phone call, then you are likely to lose concentration and eat too much.
Hop on the scales only once a week, so you won’t be discouraged when the scales
show no noticeable changes in your weight. You will generally lose fat only after two or three weeks’ dieting. The loss of weight at the beginning is due to loss of water.
Avoid sugar wherever possible, because sugar is calorie supplier number one, and it doesn’t even contain vitamins or valuable minerals. Sugar means empty calories. It is interesting to know, that it’s possible to break the need for sugar, simply by reducing gradually the amount used in coffee or tea. There are, of course, artificial sweetening agents available, with no calorie content at all.
Instead of drinking juices, eat plenty of fruit. You will be occupied much longer eating an orange or a grapefruit. You can chew a lot and take in a lot of fibre.
When eating in a restaurant, ignore bread and butter. Never mind how tempting it looks. If you’re not sure, a lean steak with salad is always right (the diet of many top models). Avoid gravies and desserts. And don’t forget to choose proper vitamin supplements.
Take plenty of time for all meals. At least 15 minutes for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, at least 30 minutes. Try to concentrate completely on your meal. You will feel much more satisfied after a long session rather than a hurried one, where the food is just knocked off.
Do your shopping always after you have eaten. You are then satisfied and able to fight off any beautiful temptation which might present itself to you from the shelves.
Always use a shopping list and stick strictly to it! Slimming begins in the food store. The spectacle of a nice cake can be easier resisted in the shop than at home, where it sits invitingly on the kitchen table.
Drink before the meal, but please, no alcohol. That’s often where the calories are. A drink helps to subdue your appetite. The best is a glass of mineral water. It reduces the desire for food, and does give you the feeling that you have something in the stomach.
Have something handy to nibble when at work: crispbread, a piece of fruit or vegetable, or anything like that. This way it is possible to pacify a rebellious stomach without giving in.
Get used to eating a salad with every meal. It is a low calorie “filler” with highest health values.
Never accept second helpings, get used to eating one portion only. Resist the temptation to have “just a little more”. The appetite must be disciplined, even when you’re at home. It helps and after a while you get used to it.
Eat only clear soups; all others have too many calories. And eat it with a small spoon; never drink it. this way it will satisfy you more readily.
When you get an invitation to a party and you know beforehand the food is going to be terrific, you should eat something before arriving there. Perhaps some crispbread, a salad or at least a cup of unsweetened tea or coffee; your resistance is now much greater towards a sumptuous spread.
Use as little salt as possible. Salt helps to retain water in the body and makes you thirsty. Preferably use pepper or fresh herbs: cress, chives, parsley for example. Many spices are rich in trace elements – vitamins and minerals – indispensable for hair and skin. As with sugar, it’s possible to stop the excessive use of salt. And your blood pressure will be very thankful for it.
When at home, eat only complete meals. Make sure the correct quantity of food you intend to eat is on the (small) plate. There is no reason why you should not decorate the plate lovingly with a slice of tomato or lemon, or whatever you fancy. Calorie-aware living has nothing to do with unloving or careless eating. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of a drink if you feel like it, but put the bottle and all the rest of the foodstuffs into the fridge as soon as you have finished serving the meal.
Don’t start a diet when you are in the middle of breaking another habit, or when under other pressure or strain. It is difficult enough to give up smoking or drinking without being on a diet, so don’t add to your stress with a weight loss program. Wait until you have all problems under control. If, for example you’re starting a new job or are involved in divorce proceedings or have other massive problems, just don’t create new ones. You most probably won’t have the strength to concentrate on calories. But as soon as you have regained your balance you should start your diet.
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About the author: Tyler Wade is a Food & Nutrition expert who writes for Nutrition Comparison Magazine.