eat less

How to eat less without feeling like you’re eating less

Eat Less Button

Over on Lifehacker they have a great post called Simple Ways to Eat Less Without Noticing by scientist, nutrition expert, and self-admitted geek Darya Pino:

[T]here are some tricks you can use to slightly reduce the amount of food you eat without feeling deprived, or even really noticing.

Your brain is easily fooled by shifts in perspective. It’s also more responsive to external cues like an empty plate, than internal cues like a full stomach. Understanding these influences can show you how to tilt them in your favor.

Many of the techniques she suggests are part of the Weight Hacking system that helped me lose 65lbs, and Darya even did a great interview for my upcoming book. Some highlights of her post include:

  • Using smaller plates to trick your brain into thinking the portion of food you’re eating is larger.
  • Using taller, skinnier glasses, which appear to contain more liquid than shorter, thicker ones.
  • Eating a protein for breakfast so you’ll feel more full throughout the day.
  • Ignoring health claims on packaging, which are primarily used to make heavily processed food seem good for you even when it isn’t.

I’ll let you read the rest of her post, but suffice it to say there’s a lot of great stuff there.

Posted October 18, 2012 @ 10:43 am | Tags: ,

How paying more attention to your food can help you eat less

Pay Attention

If you’re trying to eat less food to lose weight but are having a hard time feeling satisfied, a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research has some simple advice for you:  pay attention to what you’re eating. According to Science Daily:

In a series of studies, the authors (Joseph P. Redden and Kelly L. Haws) found that consumers who successfully control their diets eat fewer unhealthy foods because they are satisfied sooner. They also found that many consumers with poor self-control were able to establish greater control when they paid close attention to the quantities of unhealthy foods they consumed because simply paying attention made them more quickly satisfied.

In one interesting study, a group of consumers were asked to eat either a healthy or an unhealthy snack. Some of the consumers were asked to count how many times they swallowed while eating the snack. Consumers who counted the number of times they swallowed were satisfied more quickly even if they otherwise had a low level of self-control. Monitoring how much they ate made consumers with low self-control behave like those with high self-control.

Another intriguing finding of the study was that you don’t have to pay attention to how much healthy food you’re eating, which could inadvertently end up making you eat less of the good stuff you’re trying to get into your diet. (And by good stuff I don’t mean things like low-fat cookies, which are still a junk food, but rather things like fruits, greens and other healthy whole foods.)

Posted September 13, 2012 @ 9:00 am | Tags: ,,

Trick yourself into eating less by cutting up food into smaller pieces

Cutting your food into smaller pieces can trick you into eating less while making you feel more full, according to researchers at Arizona State University. In separate studies with rats and humans they found that “multiple pieces of food are more rewarding than an equicaloric single piece of food in both animals and humans.” Here’s what they think is going on:

Both humans and animals use number as a cue to judge quantities of food, with larger numbers usually associated with larger quantities. Therefore, a food portion cut into multiple, bite-sized pieces may perceptually look [like] more and therefore elicit greater satiation than the same portion presented as a single, large piece.

In the study involving humans, researchers gave 301 college students a bagel weighing 82g. Half of the students were given a solid bagel while the other half were given a bagel that had been cut into quarters. Twenty minutes after eating their bagels, both sets of students were then given a complimentary lunch and allowed to eat as much as they wanted.

Not only did the students who received the whole bagel consume more lunch calories than the other students, they also ate more of the bagel than their counterparts did. Devina Wadhera, the lead author of the study, concludes that “cutting up energy-dense meal foods into smaller pieces may be beneficial to dieters who wish to make their meal more satiating while also maintaining portion control.”

Posted August 21, 2012 @ 10:30 am | Tags: ,,

A ‘Move More, Eat Smarter’ balance may be the key to losing weight

Fundamentally, being overweight is the result of an energy imbalance in your system. When your body takes in energy by eating, it can only do two things with it: 1) Burn it as fuel 2) Store it as fat. So if you take in more energy than you burn off, you’ll increase the amount of fat you store.

Most people typically talk about taking in less energy when they want to lose weight (i.e. eating less), which makes sense. To burn off all the excess fat, you have to put your body into an energy deficit, either by cutting back on food, increasing the amount you move (i.e. exercise) or a combination of both.

Researcher James O. Hill, PhD. at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center suggests we’ve overemphasized the “eating less” part and need to make sure we’re attacking weight loss in a balanced manner if we want to succeed:

“A healthy body weight is best maintained with a higher level of physical activity than is typical today and with an energy intake that matches. We are not going to reduce obesity by focusing only on reducing food intake. Without increasing physical activity in the population we are simply promoting unsustainable levels of food restriction. This strategy hasn’t worked so far and it is not likely to work in the future. What we are really talking about is changing the message from ‘Eat Less, Move More’ to ‘Move More, Eat Smarter.'”

According to Medical News Today:

People who have a low level of physical activity have trouble achieving energy balance because they must constantly use food restriction to match energy intake to a low level of energy expenditure. Constant food restriction is difficult to maintain long-term and when it cannot be maintained, the result is positive energy balance (when the calories consumed are greater than the calories expended) and an increase in body mass, of which 60 percent to 80 percent is usually body fat. The increasing body mass elevates energy expenditure and helps reestablish energy balance. In fact, the researchers speculate that becoming obese may be the only way to achieve energy balance when living a sedentary lifestyle in a food-abundant environment.

As a weighthacker I know that moving more is an integral part of losing weight, which is why I’ve done things like switching to a treadmill desk so I can get my body moving while still doing the things I love, like surfing the Web and blogging.

Posted July 10, 2012 @ 11:15 am | Tags: ,,,,

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