Motivation Monday: Trick Your Tummy by Using your Brain

If you are like most of my clients, then you probably think that if you just knew what to eat or what not to eat you would be able to lose weight. Or, you might know everything there is to know about losing weight and eating healthy, but you still have trouble getting the scale to budge in your favor. Well, no worries, because there are no food rules in the 5 things you can change today to help you achieve your weight loss goals. (Hint: it doesn’t mean changing your diet!). Many of these ideas start in your mind, but impact your waistline in the long run.

Use a smaller plate and only go back for a second helping of vegetables.

Did you know that our portions and our plate sizes have increased along with our waistlines? If you took a modern day dinner plate and tried to place it into a cupboard built in the early 1900’s, you wouldn’t be able to close the cabinet door. That’s because our plates have gotten 30% larger since the 1960’s. Thirty percent may not sound like a big difference, but if you typically consume 1800 calories each day, 30% more would be 2340 calories. That extra 500 calories each day can lead to a pound of weight gain each week. Since typically our eyes are bigger than our tummies, try filling a 9-inch plate and see if you are satisfied with what should be a normal portion versus our now 11-inch plate. If you are still hungry, go for asecond  helping of vegetables.

Breathe between each bite.
I know this may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how quickly the average busy person can consume a meal these days. Our lives are crazy and sometimes eating can seem like one more item on our “to do” list. Unfortunately, our brain has not caught up with our eating speed. It takes a full 20 minutes  to register the “full” signal from your belly. By consciously taking a full breath between each bite, we can slow down the whole meal and avoid overeating. Boost your mindfulness even more by eating only while sitting down so you can truly savor each bite!

Eat every few hours.
Have you ever wondered why eating every few hours helps you lose weight? The reason is simple: you avoid becoming ravenous.   When you are overly hungry it is impossible to eat mindfully, and therefore you can easily consume too many calories in a short amount of time. When you eat more calories than your body needs in one time your body will not be able to use all those calories right away, so they are stored in the form of fat for later use. The problem is most of us never need to use them later and they add to our overall body weight. Eating more frequently can help you avoid the “I’m so hungry I could eat my arm” syndrome.

Start your meal off with a large glass of water.
This concept comes down to simple volume. By drinking a full glass of water before you start eating, you can make your stomach feel fuller so you eat less. Another trick is starting your meal with some fruit, a small salad or a cup of broth-based soup as you will be less likely to eat your entire entree when you already have some food in your belly and have begun to feel satisfied.

Keep a food journal or dairy.
By keeping a food journal, you are essentially forcing yourself to be more mindful of what you put into your body. If you know you have to write it down, it forces you to think about what you are eating and why while also helping you see patterns to recognize what triggers you to choose less healthy food or what causes you to overeat. Once you see a pattern, you can work on correcting it. You might, for instance, see that on the days you skip breakfast but down a 20-ounce coffee you tend to crave more sugar at lunch or feel too sluggish to exercise after work. Next time you are tempted to skip breakfast you’ll be armed with a valid argument to grab a bowl of cereal with some fruit instead.

These weight loss tricks can easily be implemented into your lifestyle without feeling deprived or like you are “dieting.” Try them out today!

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Hi! I'm Heather: a body positivity, Health at Every Size dietitian. When I'm not blogging about wellness, I'm spending time with my fabulous family. Sometimes, they wear me out, so then it's time to bake, read, knit, tie myself into a yoga pose, or continue to work my first novel... stay tuned.