If you have a weight loss goal (who doesn’t?) you definitely want to watch what you eat, but not to the point where you feel deprived and start craving for those forbidden foods and end up binge eating.
The trick is to find clever ways to cut calories without sacrificing satisfaction. We constantly hear about “eating less” “eating healthy” and “portion control” to manage weight but all that is easier said than done. This is because what we eat and how much depends on a number of things such as where we eat, our appetite and our state of mind.
Question is, how to find the balance and stick to a set of guidelines? Luckily, it is in our power to exercise control and cultivate good eating habits. Here are some tips to get started, focusing on how to eat less, keep your calories in control AND be happy about it.
Easy ways to eat right
Savor each mouthful
Slow down, relax, notice what you eat. Savor each mouthful. Appreciate the texture and flavor of what you put in your mouth. Focus on each bite and eat mindfully. Chew every morsel thoroughly. This will help you eat less and cut your calories. As you eat slowly, you also become conscious of how you feel – are you hungry? Are you satisfied? Recognizing these feelings helps you stop when you have eaten enough. This way your digestion works better and you stay healthy. While starting out, you may want to time how fast you eat and then work on slowing it down consciously.
Curate your cutlery
Take a look at your dinnerware and switch to smaller cups, bowls and plates. Ever notice how we fill our plates regardless of plate size? With large plates, we often tend to serve ourselves more than we can actually eat. So ditch the big plates. Get smaller plates and small bowls so that you automatically serve and eat less.
Measure in advance
If you’ve ever grabbed a pack of chips or other snacks and delved directly into it, you will know what I mean. Don’t do it. Always open the pack and using a measuring cup, serve your share in a bowl and then enjoy it. When you go straight for the bag, you cannot keep track of how much you eat and before you know it, you’ve finished six servings – and the associated calories. Put that big bag away to stop yourself from overeating.
We all have certain favorites we just cannot resist. We know we want to stop, but just can’t seem to do it, regardless of whether we are hungry or not. Identify which foods make you feel that way. Where do you usually find them. Try to avoid those places. For example, if you tend to shop for those items, skip going down that aisle. Take a different route. You know that colleague who always offers you that bag of chips. Take a detour to avoid passing her. Be strong enough to say no when you see your favorite foods. Not saying don’t eat them, but to stay in control.
Maintain a food log
This is a great way to stay on track about your weight. When you keep a food diary helps you reflect on your food choices so you can accordingly plan your meals and make conscious choices to cut down your calorie intake and eat healthy. Just a simple list will do. When you write, remember to include everything – beverages, snacks, meals, water – everything.
Use the plate method
We tend to eat meals that are sometimes loaded with carbs with smaller servings of vegetables. This results in a calorie overload and you end up putting on weight. Instead, follow the plate method.
In the Plate Method you fill
- 1/2 of the plate with 2 servings of non-starchy vegetables.
- 1/4 of the plate with high-protein food.
- 1/4 of the plate with a starchy vegetable or whole grain serving
This helps you maintain a low calorie diet that is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy. You’ll also find yourself staying in control over consuming starches and proteins. And of course, remember to use small plates.
Don’t ignore protein
Protein helps you balance your food intake and appetite. When you include the right amount of protein in your diet, you tend to keep the extra weight off. Protein keeps you fuller as it takes more time to digest. Go for lean protein. Examples are beans, hummus, egg white, low fat dairy and lean meats.
Start your day with breakfast
Your breakfast is your most important meal of the day as it keeps your BMI in check and also prevents you from indiscriminate snacking. You are less likely to overeat and also consume fewer calories throughout the day. Even if you don’t feel hungry in the morning, make it a point to have something. When you get into the habit, you will start enjoying it.
Watch out when you eat out
Of course you eat out sometimes. And some restaurants have generous portions. What to do? Don’t feel obliged to finish it all. Just pack half of whatever you order and take it home for another meal. This is especially important while going out with friends as the conversations and fun can easily make you lose track and overeat.
Try these easy ways to eat right and control your calorie intake. And watch yourself reach your healthy weight goals faster!
Also, remember that you also need adequate sleep and exercise to continue to enjoy the results!
Live healthy, Stay healthy!
A word about food labels – if you can’t read it, don’t eat it!