Would you like to lose weight but struggle with diets that just make you quit after a few weeks? You’re not alone. Many of us have become experts in “yo-yo dieting” and I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say I’ve been there a little bit myself.
Especially after getting a shiny new desk job and putting on a few extra pounds that have been difficult to eliminate. I can’t be the only one experiencing this.
When adopted these 7 easy techniques for more mindful, healthy eating, I was amazed at how quickly I saw results not only in my enjoyment of my meals, but also in the number on the scale.
Remember, it’s the small and simple things practiced over time that have the largest impact in our lives.
1. Throw Out Your Bigger Plates & Use Smaller Plates
Did you know that the average plate size in America is getting larger?
Most likely, you are an unfortunate victim of this unhealthy trend. Don’t worry, it’s not your fault so you can stop blaming yourself right now! We’re all in this together after the same goal of healthy eating.
When you reduce your plate size the chances that you will eat less significantly improve.
Even the color of your plate has been shown to make a difference in your eating habits, with red and yellow plates being the colors that make you tend to overeat. Are any golden arches coming to mind as I mention this?
When you improve the odds that you’ll eat less, your chances of losing weight and feeling better about what you’re eating also improve.
2. No Devices-Including TV!
Over a decade ago I remember discovering a study which observed that making a cereal box an interesting activity for kids distracted them from the activity of eating and made them eat more cereal.
I’ve never looked at a box of cereal the same again. Although I have looked at them, unfortunately.
Any meal with such distractions negatively affects our ability to enjoy eating. Whether it’s the TV, your phone, or even a book, you are more likely to eat more, and still be less satisfied, if you are trying to multitask while eating.
3. Eat With Other People
Wait, but didn’t you just say to avoid distractions? Well, this distraction is the kind that will actually help because the people you’re eating with are also eating. Every time you see them you get a constant reminder that you are eating as well.
Switch out those devices for something that actually makes a difference in life and in health-the people you love the most!
Conversing with people helps us pause between bites and eat more slowly, enjoying what we eat, and understanding how the food we eat affects our bodies and how we feel. When we experience that enjoyment and the feeling of how different foods affect us, it helps us make better decisions with regards to what we’re eating.
4. Fruit & Veggies HALF Your Plate, Eat Them FIRST
I know this may sound like your mother, but eating your fruits and veggies has been shown to make a significant impact on physical health and mental health.
Fruits and veggies are naturally filled with all of the nutrients our bodies need to survive and thrive. By eating them first, you’re filling up on the healthy stuff your body actually needs and uses.
They aren’t just food for the body, they’re brain food. And you don’t have time to eat things that negatively affect your brain’s capacity to concentrate and perform. You’d rather have the focus and attention that come from feeding your mind.
All of the processed foods we eat starve our bodies and minds of the nutrition we require to perform well mentally and physically. When we begin with the best food for us, we allow ourselves to become more full with what’s good and put less of what’s less bad for us into our bodies.
5. Put Your Fork Down Between Bites and SLOW DOWN!
Pause between bites.
Enjoy your food.
I’ve found that by doing this I have a much better time eating. I don’t have to try as hard to think of what I’m eating so the enjoyment naturally follows.
6. Drink Only Water or Milk
Soda is killing you and you should stop drinking it right now.
For those of you who may think “but you gotta live a little!” actually, you don’t. A lot of the negative side effects of soda are linked with shorter life spans. So the next time you think about telling me I gotta live a little when I say I’d rather not drink soda, think again.
Water has zero calories and is necessary for your body. Milk has calories but is also very high in vitamins.
Why waste calories on something that doesn’t serve you and your goals?
7. Eat Until Your Only 80% Full
I’ll admit, this one is a little different and takes some practice.
It will mean that you are likely to be a little hungry after some meals, and a little too full still after others. That’s perfectly okay.
The science behind this is that your body’s hunger communicators, also known as leptin, have a slight delay in their message to the brain about how full you are. If you eat until your brain thinks it’s 80% full, it’s more than likely that the food that you just barely ate has yet to be acknowledged by these hunger communicators.
This explains why we so often feel over-full after many meals. We eat until we’re completely full (and then some, in some cases) and our leptin just hasn’t caught up yet. When the leptin does catch up we’ve already eaten too much.
Again, this one takes practice, but if you’re willing to try it you can see great results.
One Final Note… Card
When I first learned of some of these techniques one of my favorite new habits kicked in.
I’ve developed this habit of writing down any important principle I come across on a 3x5 card and carrying it around with me in my back pocket to refer to over the next few weeks. It’s helped me memorize a great deal of important principles that have helped guide my life in critical moments.
So I wrote these all down on a single 3x5 card and at nearly every meal would whip it out and just set it on the table. I’d glance at maybe one or two and try it for that meal. In the end, I’d improved in all of them.
I have significantly improved my enjoyment of eating while losing some weight in the process.
By following these simple ideas, practicing them, and making them habits, you too can enjoy greater enjoyment from your meals, and you’ll even lose weight, too.