12 Pain-Free Ways to Stop Eating SO Much Food

Article posted in: Lifestyle
stop eating so much

With Facebook feeds full of tantalizing foodie videos, food photography on Instagram and every kind of recipe you can imagine on Pinterest, modern life is a minefield of temptations that can lead us to wonder, how on earth can we learn how to stop eating so much?

Fortunately, there are dozens of scientifically vetted ways to make your way safely through without packing on pounds. Here are some of our favorite strategies to stop eating so much food:

strop eating so much

1. Make yourself work for it.

Foods that require a little bit of manual labor on your part—like shelling or peeling—can help you eat less and still feel satisfied. In a 2011 study, published in the journal Appetite, students who were given a bowl of in-shell pistachios ate 41 percent fewer calories during class than those students who were given pre-shelled pistachios. But the students in both groups felt just as full and satisfied.

2. Opt for smaller plates.

If it’s smaller, you’ll feel more satisfied with the same amount of food, and you’ll stop eating so much more than you need to. In a Cornell University study, researchers found that people who ate hamburgers served on small plates thought they were eating 18 percent more calories than they really were. Larger plates both in restaurants and at home have changed how we look at portion sizes, says Brian Wansink, PhD, a Cornell University researcher and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. In his studies of eating behavior, people feel just as full when they clean a 9.5 inch plate as they do when they finish a meal on a 12-inch plate and yet they eat about 22 percent less. It’s a mind trick that you can use to help you learn how to stop eating so much. And it works with serving utensils, too: Another study from Cornell found that diners who were given a three-ounce serving spoon scooped out 15 percent more food than those who used a two-ounce serving spoon.

3. Add oil to your morning meal.

Researchers in Germany and Austria both found that olive oil improved dieters’ feelings of fullness compared to butter, lard and canola oil. In the German study, dieters were given yogurt with one of these fats every day as a supplement to their normal diet. Those eating the olive oil infused yogurt felt the fullest, and none of them gained weight or body fat despite eating the yogurt as extra calories. You can try this experiment on yourself: Add a teaspoon of the oil to morning yogurt and you could feel fuller until lunch.

4. Choose skinnier glasses.

Just like your plates, glassware matters. According to the Journal of Consumer Research, people pour about 19 percent more beverage into short, squat glasses than they do into tall ones. So if you’re drinking your calories for a treat or to wind down, opt for a tall drink of whatever… and you’ll be one, too. (See what we did there?)

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5. Pre-load with water.

Drinking two tall glasses of water before a meal is a great strategy to stop eating so much food. In a Virginia Tech study, dieters who downed two, eight-ounce glasses before meals lost 36 percent more weight over 12 weeks than those who didn’t do the pre-meal drinking.

6. Turn off the tube.

If you’re distracted, you’ll require more taste sensations—sweetness, saltiness, sourness, crunchiness—to feel satisfied with your portions. In a study from the Netherlands, dieters who were asked to evaluate the sweetness of a beverage had a harder time doing so when they were asked to concentrate on a mental task. A study from the UK confirmed this and more—not only did eating without distractions mean dieters ate less at that meal, they also ate less later in the day. So clicking off the TV while you lunch could mean you’re more likely to stop eating so much food later in the day.

7. Fill up on fiber.

Studies have shown that foods high in fiber can help curb the urge to overeat. One reason: These foods take so long to eat—you have to chew fibrous foods much longer than a bar of chocolate to break them into digestible pieces. Another: Like sponges, they expand in your stomach, making you feel full. One study, published in the journal Nutrition Reviews, found that by adding 14 grams of fiber to your diet plan, you can cut your calorie intake by 10 percent. Study participants who did this lost four pounds in fewer than four months—without even trying.

8. Slow down.

You’ve heard it before and a study from the Texas Christian University confirms it: Taking your time to eat and chew can result in greater feelings of fullness before you even finish your meal. In this study, people were asked to take small bites, chew thoroughly, pause and put their utensils down between bites. Those who did ate 58-88 fewer calories per meal than they did when they ate more quickly. One behavior that slow eating triggered interested the researchers: When they ate at a leisurely pace, the participants drank more water, which may have also contributed to curbing their appetite.

9. Try your hand at chopsticks.

Chopsticks help you eat slower, say researchers at Cornell University’s Food & Brand Lab. This is especially important if you’re eating at a Chinese restaurant buffet where the temptation to not only load your plate but to go back for more is nearly irresistible. The delay can help you notice the feelings of fullness that don’t usually kick in till about 20 minutes after you’ve started eating.

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10. Prioritize protein.

Protein not only curbs your appetite, it can help change your body composition (in a good way), according to a review study in the Annual Review of Nutrition. For one thing, the researchers point out, people feel more satisfied on smaller amounts of protein than they do when eating carbohydrates. Your body also expends more energy burning and storing protein calories than it does with carbs. Eating protein also helps you maintain lean muscle while exercising and losing weight. Those muscles also help burn more calories. It’s time to make your diet program a low carb diet.

11. Don’t forget fats.

A study, published in Nutrition Journal, found that people who consumed half an avocado at lunch time were 40 percent less likely to want to eat for several hours afterwards. Avocados, like nuts and olive oil, contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats perfect for easy weight loss.

12. Do something else.

The fact is, just imagining something pleasant as vividly as you can may help you beat food cravings that can lead you to overeat, says a 2011 study by researchers at McGill University in Canada. They found that even when they tempted participants with images of food—proven to make us hungry, something all food retailers know—those who thought about their favorite activities were able to fight the feeling. So if you want to learn how to stop eating so much at mealtime, call a friend, head out for a walk, strum your guitar—whatever makes you feel great. Failing that, spend some time imagining some of your favorite things. Any of these options should help you to stop eating so much food.