It’s no secret that in order to lose weight you’ll have to reduce the number of calories you consume each day. Cutting that elusive 3,500 calories each week to lose a pound, whether through diet or exercise or both, is an essential part of healthy and successful weight loss.
But instead of fad diets that require you to eat only foods of this color, avoid carbs, or eat only raw foods; you should look to proven tricks that will help you eat fewer calories. If you’re still skeptical, keep reading to find out how you can eat less calories.
Trick 1: Slow Down!
Your mom always warned you to slow down at the dinner table, but while she was mostly concerned with manners, she was also concerned about your waistline. It’s no secret that when you eat too fast your brain misses the signal that your stomach is full and you keep eating. This is why eating slower has been proven to help you eat less calories.
A 2009 study completed at the University of Bristol provided test subjects with real time information during meal time to help them reduce the speed at which meals were consumed. While this study was testing a specific device, the researchers did find that subjects using the printout at meal time had a lower body mass index at 12 months than those who did not.
When you eat slower you allow your brain to receive fullness signals so that you don’t overeat. Make a deliberate effort to eat slower at meal times by using these helpful tricks:
- Place eating utensil down while you chew.
- Don’t pick up another spoon or forkful until you’ve finished chewing.
- Chew slower to savor the flavors.
Trick 2: Size Matters
If you’re no stranger to weight loss then you know how important it is to control your portion sizes, especially when dining out as portion sizes at restaurants have steadily increased in the last 15 years. What you should take from this is that smaller portion sizes can help you eat less calories.
A 2010 study conducted at San Jose State University showed that reducing the plate size at meal time had a positive correlation with reduced food intake. Over the course of several weeks the size of the plates were reduced, and rather than going back for seconds, subjects ate their meals without regard to how much was on them.
The lesson to be learned here is that eating your meals on smaller plates or bowls will reduce your calorie intake. Whether it’s because the plate seems full so you view it as a more food, or because the plate simply holds less food, the science is clear; smaller silverware and dinnerware is a proven trick to help you eat less calories.
Trick 3: Focus On Your Food
We live in a multi-tasking society where we eat breakfast in the car, check our emails on the treadmill and eat dinner in front of the television. All of these factors make it difficult to determine your level of satiety, or meal satisfaction.
When you sit down—without the distraction of TV or computers—to eat a meal you are more likely to focus on the meal as well as the signs of hunger satisfaction. A study conducted by the British Journal of Nutrition illustrated that when distracted we are more likely to consume more calories.
What’s interesting about these findings is that overeating is caused because we eat for much longer than we would if not distracted. For example you’ll continue eating a large bucket of popcorn during an interesting movie than if you were just sitting down eating popcorn. However the other finding indicated that distracted eating can also reduce the time between meals, because you’re eating for longer than you would if you were solely focused on your meals.
Reduce the calories you eat when watching television by:
- Place a serving size of your snack in a small bowl.
- Use a smaller plate if you eat dinner in front of the TV.
- Sit up straight when you eat.
Trick 4: Drink Water
Drinking more water is always a good idea if you’re worried about your weight or general health. But when it comes to consuming fewer calories, water helps because it fills your stomach so there’s no room for more food than you need. The best part of using water to eat less calories is that water has zero calories so you feel satisfied without a lot of calories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Trick 5: Put It Away
You know how when you first make the decision to eat healthier you clean the cabinets of all junk food and soda to avoid temptation? Well as it turns out that little act is proven to help you eat less calories.
The answer is simple, really.
When we see a photo of food, or actual food our brains begin to crave food and we feel more motivated to eat according to a study by the American Diabetes Association. And since it’s impossible to avoid all food advertisements and commercials, you can decrease your cravings and therefore your desire to eat, by keeping snack foods out of your line of sight.
If you bring a snack to work, place it in a drawer and only bring one serving to avoid eating too many calories.
Trick 6: High Fiber Foods
High fiber foods aren’t just part of a healthy diet, they are a proven method to help you and I eat less calories. Foods with a high fiber content, like apples, make your stomach feel full without adding a lot of calories. Fiber also slows down the digestive process so food stays in your body longer, making you feel satisfied for a longer period of time.
If you’re looking for proven tricks to eat fewer calories, add whole grains with a high fiber content to your diet. Vegetables, whole wheat products and even dry beans have high fiber that fills you up, provides plenty of nutrients and all have a low calorie count.
If you continue to struggle with reducing your calorie intake, read our Eat Stop Eat review to see how intermittent fasting can help you curb your food cravings.