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Six tips to eat less in any season and not miss the party

Tracy Woolrich's picture
Eating less food during holidays

It is that time of the year that is full of diet busters. There will be football weekends, holiday dinners and parties to attend. That means you will be facing a lot of tempting and high calorie food choices. All is not lost however. There are ways to help you eat less and still feel you have not missed the party.

Trick your brain

This is a fun way to gain control. Most everyone has heard of using smaller plates and glasses. Smaller servings of foods and drink appear bigger this way allowing you to consume up to 20 percent less. The brain will then signal to your body that you are eating and drinking a bigger and filling amount. However, according to research out of Cornell University, choosing a plate of a contrasting color helps your brain to distinguish better helping you to curb amounts as well. In one study, participants who had low contrast between their food and their plates, for example pasta with tomato sauce on a red plate, served themselves 22% more pasta than participants with high contrast between their food and the plate.

Setting a mood

When you are throwing your own party, you have complete control of plate size and ambience. Bet you did not think about how the lighting and music can affect your appetite. Again out of Cornell University, it was discovered that the choice of music and lighting, can lead to increased satisfaction and reduced calorie intake. "When we did a makeover of a fast-food restaurant, we found that softer music and lighting led diners to eat 175 fewer calories and enjoy it more," said the study's lead author, Brian Wansink, professor of marketing and director of Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab.

Take your time

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When eating a meal take your time. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is full. When you feel comfortable stop eating. This will also prolong your enjoyment of the meal, since feeling the flavors for longer will satisfy you even with smaller portions. In addition, this will aid with metabolizing the food through an easier digestion.

Time to veg out
When you are eating at a buffet type situation, fill at least half of your plate with vegetables. This is an easy way to reduce the plate space for higher calorie laden goodies. Vegetables are complex carbohydrates, so they do not get converted into fat as easily. Vegetables have almost no cholesterol and have a low sodium content which means less water retention. In addition, many vegetables have what is sometimes known as negative calories, which means you burn more calories digesting them than you get by eating them.

Be mindful

This sounds ridiculous however it is true. Think about what, why and how much you are eating. You will find yourself eating less calories and feeling more satisfied. This is essentially what self hypnosis does. If you allow yourself to be in the NOW moment and aware of what and why you are eating you will be less likely to binge.

Quench that hunger

Make sure to drink water throughout the day and have at least two 8-ounce glasses of water before eating. Research shows this will make you less likely to overeat. According to a study presented to the American Chemical Society, obese dieters who drank two 8-ounce glasses of water before meals lost five pounds more than dieters who didn't increase their water intake. Those who drank more water also kept more of the weight off after a year. The study included only middle-aged and older adults between the ages of 55 and 75. Half of the people were told to drink 16 ounces of water before every meal. After three months, the dieters who drank water had lost an average of about 15.5 pounds, while those who didn't lost just 11 pounds.

Take away message: Find your own ways to help curb your appetite. Some find brushing their teeth, chewing on gum or sucking on a mint after meals helps. Perhaps for you, sipping on a cup of hot tea after eating may help. Sometimes the simplest of ideas work the best.

Cornell University (2012, August 28). Softer fast food restaurant lighting and music can cut calorie intake 18 percent. ScienceDaily.
American Chemical Society



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