- Savor every single thing you put in your mouth
Eat in a relaxed manner and really allow yourself to taste your food. The benefits go beyond enjoying it more. The more slowly you eat, the more time your stomach has to tell your brain when you’ve had enough. It takes the G.I. tract about 20 minutes to alert the brain that the body has been sated. If you rush through a meal of several hundred calories in five or 10 minutes, you may very well end up eating many more calories than you’re truly hungry for.
- Keep out of the kitchen after 8 p.m.
In a Swedish study, researchers found that overweight women pretty much ate the same number of calories throughout the day as healthy-weight women but ate much from 8 p.m. until midnight.
In truth, your kitchen-closed time does not have to be 8 o’clock. Maybe you don’t get home from work till close to 8 and therefore have a late dinner. But do make a pact with yourself not to eat after dinner—unless you’ve budgeted the calories for a reasonable snack, like fruit, a small yogurt, or perhaps even a single Halloween-sized candy bar if you can deal with the temptation of having a bag of the stuff in the house.
- Beware of food you haven’t made yourself
More than half of us eat at least one meal away from home on any given day. But food prepared outside your own kitchen is often very high in calories, both because food purveyors often add much more fat than you would at home and because portion sizes tend to be enormous. It shows in the waistline. In a study conducted at Tufts University, the more often people ate out, the higher their calorie consumption and the fatter they were, plain and simple.
When you do eat out, really do ask the waitstaff to wrap up half, or even two thirds, of your meal before it is brought to the table. And be assertive about asking for meals exactly as you want them. Chefs can often keep out the oil or reduce portion sizes or give a bigger helping of vegetables—whatever it takes to get you through the meal with less temptation.
- Eat your calories rather than drink them
In a study conducted at Purdue University, researchers gave people either 400 calories of jelly beans or 400 calories of non-diet soda. Those given the jelly beans ate fewer calories later in the day to compensate. The soda drinkers didn’t make the adjustment.
Apparently, liquids just don’t set off the gut’s satiety mechanism as effectively as solids do. It’s a crucial point when you consider that soft drinks are the leading source of added sugar in the American diet. On top of that, you can now get a 300-, 400- or 500-calorie flavored coffee beverage at a coffee shop, only adding to the liquid calorie tally.
The best liquid bets: water and, here and there, skim milk.
- Move it, or don’t lose it
Seventy-five percent of the calorie deficit in successful weight losers generally comes from eating fewer calories. But 25 percent comes from expending more calories through exercise.
Not only does exercise burn calories; it keeps a weight loser motivated. You’re just less inclined to mess up your efforts by overeating if you’ve primed your body with a good exercise session that works up a glow.