Method 1Rethinking Your Eating Habits
- Eat three small meals a day. While eating three “solid or large” meals a day may have been the key to growing “big and strong” when you were little, as an adult trying to lose weight this is not what you want to do. The best way to stay under that 1500 calorie ceiling is to eat three small meals a day. Do not eat more than 400 calories for any one meal.
- The most persistent myth in the dieting world is that you should eat six small meals rather than three moderate meals. The idea is that your body will be able to process this food more efficiently, maintaining blood sugar levels throughout the day, and keeping your metabolism in good shape. Science doesn’t not corroborate such claims. It is far more important to find an eating schedule that corresponds to your lifestyle. Can you stop and eat six times a day? Do you have the time to prepare six small meals? If not, don’t worry. You can still lose an equal amount of weight by eating three times a day.
- Stop eating when you are full. Resign from the “clean your plate” club. Eat half of your normal meal. Stop for a moment and assess your hunger level. Give yourself a couple of minutes before you resume eating. This will let your body catch up. You might just discover that you are actually full.
- This is also called "intuitive eating" and could mean the difference between maintaining a healthy body weight and being overweight.
- There still are starving children around the world. Save your leftovers for later meals or snacks.
- Chew your food slowly. Chewing itself doesn’t burn calories or magically decrease the number of calories in your food. By chewing slowly, you are giving your stomach time to report back to your brain after you’ve consumed something. Either your stomach will tell you to keep eating or that it is full. Fast chewers tend to consume more than they need to, because they haven’t waited for their stomach’s report.
- Instead of rushing through your meal, enjoy your food and allow your body to fully respond to the nutrients you are giving it.
- This principle was discovered by a research team at Iowa State University. In an experiment, researchers gave 47 subjects 60 pizza rolls on several occasions. They were told to take fewer or more bites of each pizza roll and then to stop eating when they were full. When asked to take more bites, the subjects ate fewer pizza rolls. Thus, they consume fewer calories.
- Eat two snacks a day. Skipping meals is not the best solution for losing weight. Don’t bank your calories for later. Doing so often leads to overconsumption and even binge eating later on. How often have you “rewarded” yourself later because you skipped a treat earlier on? Because you skipped a snack earlier, you’ll be hungrier later on and more likely to justify overeating. Eating consistent meals and snacks better supports your metabolism and energy levels.
- Practice portion control. Modern portion sizes have grown tremendously and one meal can make up half of your calorie intake for the day. Try using smaller dinner plates for meals, pre-measure food, and avoid eating from the bag. Be aware of portion sizes of foods, especially snacks. If you really want some potato chips for lunch, check the serving size on the back of the package and pull out the exact number of chips that make up that serving size. Eat those and then re-evaluate if you want more and if more chips are worth the corresponding calories.
- Eating off smaller bowls or plates is a simple trick that makes one cup of food on a small plate look like more than if you put it on a large plate. The trick to dieting is finding ways to trick yourself into eating healthy and less. Do what it takes and have fun with it.
- Eat out wisely. One of the easiest ways to break your 1, 500 calorie daily diet is to go out and eat large meals at restaurants. Stay within your calorie limit for the meal. Check posted calorie amounts at the restaurant or check out the restaurant’s website. Some restaurants will have a detailed calorie list for all of their dishes, especially if they are chain restaurants. Don’t forget about the calories from drinks, dressings, and dips. They may seem like “side” items, but they still add up.
- Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes rather than fried or sautéed entrées.
- Order smaller meals at restaurants. If you cannot avoid getting a larger meal, divide it up when it first comes to the table. Cut your steak into a much smaller portion. Give your friend your excess or take it home for later.
- Drink more fluids. You should drink 11 to 15 cups of water a day, according to the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine. Generally, if you drink enough water so you’re rarely thirsty and your urine is mostly colorless, you’re probably consuming the right amount of water. Water is best, but coffee, tea, and diet drinks are acceptable alternatives. Skim milk is fine, but keep in mind it has around 100 calories per serving. Avoid most juices or other sugary drinks, because they only empty calories.
- One trick that Brenda Davy — a professor at Virginia Tech — suggests is to drink two cups of water right before eating a meal. She argues that water suppresses the feeling of hunger by making the body feel full, which reduces the individual’s need to eat more.
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