Dr. Scott Sanderson
Pick one or two of these tips each week and practice them until they become habits.
Do not try to institute all of these changes at once. Pick one or two each week and practice them until they become habits then add more. Go easy on yourself when you slip up, we all do, the key is to just move on and get back on track. You haven’t failed until you’ve quit.
1. Modify your environment – place healthy foods on shelves at eye level, put unhealthy foods in the back of your lowest shelves. This is the same strategy that stores use to get you to buy certain products. You are much more likely to reach for the product that is within reach and easy to find.2. Don’t count calories, just avoid 6 things – If you do your best to avoid high carbohydrate, nutrient sparse foods then you really don’t need to count calories. Avoid to the greatest extent possible sugar, pasta, rice, potatoes, bread and other processed carbohydrates such as tortillas.3. Plan your meals for the week – sit down on a chosen day (I do this on Wednesday evening because I grocery shop on Thursday) and plan what you will be eating for breakfast, lunch and even dinner for the week. It will help you eat healthier and help you avoid decision fatigue during the week. I often leave weekends more open because I don’t know what the family will be up to. When you plan ahead, its 3 less decisions that you have to make each day. You will also spend much less time and money at the grocery store because you know exactly what you need for the week.
4. Make your mornings easy – If you don’t plan your meals for the week at least take 5 minutes the night before to plan your meals for the next day. Planning ahead again limits decisions and helps you eat better. Buy a lunch box and Tupperware (some people prefer glass to avoid heating their food in plastic containers). Pack your lunch and snacks the night before. When you plan your calories for the day you stop just bringing in calories throughout the day mindlessly.
5. Slow down and focus – It takes about 20 minutes for satiety signals from your stomach to reach your brain so eat more slowly and you will feel full from less. Do not watch TV when eating. Studies show that distracted eating leads to increased calorie consumption. Distracted people have also been shown to be more likely to give into temptation. Be mindful of your eating and your feeling of fullness. Pay attention to these signals and stop when you feel satisfied, not gorged.
6. Don’t go hungry – eat before you go to the grocery store. When you’re nice and full at the store you will be much less likely to make impulsive buying decisions. Make a list and stick to it. When you’re full and following a list you will be less likely to bring things into your home that will tempt you later. Make your home a relaxing place that is free from temptation. You face enough pressure and temptation everywhere else in your life.
7. You’re not at a buffet – people will always eat more at a buffet because the food is there for you too look at and to tempt you. Do not serve your meals buffet style at home. Dish up in the kitchen and then put the food into containers and then into the refrigerator. You’ll be able to relax after dinner and you won’t be tempted to grab seconds. If you immediately pack the leftovers into small individual containers, you’ll already have your lunch ready for the next day.
8. Use smaller plates – studies show that people given larger plates will serve themselves larger portions. It might sound like a psychological trick you’re pulling on yourself but using smaller plates will lead you to eat smaller, more reasonable portions.
9. Hydrate – drink a full glass of water before you dish yourself up. If you’re having a salad, eat it before you serve yourself as well. Then drink a full glass of water with your meal as well. You’ll serve yourself more reasonable portions and you will feel much more satisfied.
10. Make your dentist smile – brush your teeth immediately after dinner. Once you’ve made this effort, you will be much less likely to eat again because you know you’ll have to brush your teeth again. Also, not many things taste as good when you’ve just brushed your teeth.