It takes about 20 minutes for satiety signals to reach the brain, so don't scarf down that burger in 15 minutes flat. Chew slowly to give yourself a chance to feel full and help move food through the digestion process. Plus, it's been said that the most satisfying bites of a meal are the first few. Having a hard time slowing down? Sip water between bites.
We all have a few pairs of skinny jeans that only button when we lay down. Get these in your regular rotation as a reminder to eat right. If you have to release a button by the end of the day, you know you need to improve your meal plan.
Instead of using large dinner plates for entrees of pasta and steak, serve calorie-rich foods on smaller salad plates and save the extra real estate for healthy veggies instead (and gobble them up first). Experts agree, the larger the plate, the more we eat so fill up on low-calorie foods first.
According to a study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, people who drank three extra cups of water per day ate an average of 205 fewer calories than people who drank the standard 4.2 cups of water per day. The guzzlers also consumed less sugar, fat, sodium and cholesterol.
Staring at your own reflection might just be what you need to help cut calories. According to a study from Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, the presence of a mirror in the dining room makes you think differently about consuming extra calories, reducing "the perceived tastiness of unhealthy food, which consequently reduces its consumption." There you have it: A decorating and weight-loss tip in one.
Everyone loves dinner and a movie, but parking it in front of the tube for a meal can lead to overeating. A report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports this claim and researchers at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. found that, on average, distracted eating can increase the amount eaten by about 10 percent.
Put that fork in your non-dominant hand and you're likely to eat more slowly—which could also result in eating less.
Variety isn't always the spice of life when trying to lose weight. Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a Chicago dietitian and author of The Flexitarian Diet, says variety could actually make you eat more. Blatner's advice is backed by published studies, including one in France that found participants ate more fries when they were offered ketchup and mayonnaise along side for dipping. Other research has found that eating a diet with limited variety can help maintain weight loss.
Keep your thermostat at about 61 to 63 degrees Fahrenheit and you may encourage fat burning. Numerous studies support this research, including one published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation showing people who spent two hours a day for six weeks in a 63-degree room burned more energy than those who spent time in warmer temps. According to research in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, spending time in chilly temperatures can boost calorie burn by 30 percent.
Sometimes we open the fridge looking for answers and end up consuming unnecessary calories. Before heading for the cooler, decide what you're going to retrieve and stick to it. If nothing comes to mind, you probably aren't hungry, just bored, so find another activity to entertain you.
Scarfing down a meal in three huge bites quickly relieves hunger, but it might also cause you to eat more. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who took large bites of food consumed 52 percent more calories in one sitting than those who took small bites. Cut your food into smaller pieces and use a smaller utensil to prevent become victim to this overeating trap.
You are what you eat, and whom you hang out with. Make lunch dates with friends that have healthy eating habits or plan get-togethers around activities that don't involve food or alcohol, like going for a hike or taking an exercise class. You'll look forward to your workouts and be more accountable.
The amount of light in your dining room might have an effect on how much you eat. In a Cornell University study, researchers found that people who ate a meal under soft, warm lighting consumed 175 fewer calories than those who munched in brightly lit environments. So skip the harsh fluorescent lights of fast food joints and opt for a romantic candlelit affair instead.
England's University of Leeds found that people eat fewer calories (and make better choices) after seeing shots of nutritious food. Fill your Instagram feed with images of wholesome salads, fruits and heart-healthy meals and scroll through regularly to program your cravings towards nourishing nibbles.
Put unhealthy snacks out of reach and don't leave second helpings at the table. The slight inconvenience will make you think twice about grabbing a handful of chips as you pass the pantry or helping yourself to a second serving of dinner during a post-meal chat. This trick is supported by a Cornell University study where researchers found that when office assistants had a jar of chocolates on their desks they ate nine per day and when the jar was moved out of reach, they only ate four.
The best way to control what goes into your body is making the food yourself. Eating out is convenient, not to mention sometimes better tasting, but putting your nutrition in another chef's hands often leads to more added fat, salt and calories. Sit down on Sunday and meal plan for the week so you have all the ingredients you need for your healthy meals and won't be tempted by take-out.
Nobody likes to step on a scale and anticipate the number staring back, but doing this a few times a week may help you reach your magic number. According to a Cornell University study, frequent self-weighing and tracking results can help people lose weight and keep it off. All you need is a bathroom scale and an Excel spreadsheet or piece of graph paper, according to David Levitsky, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell and the paper's senior author.
Studies show that big breakfast eaters are more likely to lose weight and reduce their waistline circumference than those who eat a large dinner. "The benefits go beyond pounds and inches. People who eat like a king in the morning have better blood sugar control, healthier hunger hormone regulation, more energy for work and workouts, and sharper cognitive function," says food and nutrition expert Jennifer McDaniel, RDN, who advises planning ahead for busy mornings with grab-and-go breakfast staples and make-ahead recipes like overnight oatmeal.
A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, showed that eating within a 12-hour time frame (i.e. 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.) benefitted weight loss, blood cholesterol levels and blood sugar control. "The other interesting fact was that these health benefits were noted despite the diet type (high fat or high sugar)," McDaniel says. "Restricting intake to 12 hours might be related to circadian rhythms and better efficiency of food metabolism."
Women who write down what they consume, including beverages, portion size and preparation details, are more likely to lose weight, regardless of what diet they're on, according to researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Results from their study, published online in the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found that participants (overweight and obese postmenopausal women) who noted everything they ate lost about 6 pounds more than ladies who didn't.
Note: These tips are intended to be minor changes to an otherwise healthy, balanced diet. This article is not intended to replace a consultation with a qualified medical professional.