When you're trying to lose weight, the last thing you want to think about are all the delicious foods you're trying to cut back on. Give yourself a break with calorie-slashing tricks that require little thought or effort.
Change the Way You Eat and Drink
- Spread out your daily protein. Foods high in protein curb your appetite better than fats or carbohydrates. That way you'll feel satisfied on fewer calories. Eat yogurt at breakfast and fish at lunch rather than saving all your protein for dinner.
- Drink more water. Fill up on water so there's little room left for cheesecake. Have a glass before every meal and snack. Put a pitcher on the table for easy refills.
- Eat more fiber. Fiber is good for your heart and waistline. All that chewing makes you feel like you've had enough. Good choices include apples, beans, and broccoli.
- Start with soup. Serve soup for your first course. It forces you to eat slowly. Choose a clear broth or slim down creamy recipes by substituting low-fat milk for cream.
- Use smaller plates. Tiny dishes make the contents look more abundant. Buy a pretty set of dessert plates that will make the most of a skinny slice of pie.
- Put your fork down. Set your silverware down between bites. It's one of the easiest ways to pace yourself and give your brain time to realize that it's full.
- Limit the side dishes. One look at a buffet line proves that variety leads to overeating. Plan your menus around one main course and a salad.
- Eat before shopping. It's easier to bypass the cookies right after you've had a bowl of minestrone with some whole wheat bread. Bring home more produce and fish.
- Clear out your pantry. What about the junk food that's already on hand? Drop it off in your office or church kitchen for others to enjoy. If you decide to hold onto your corn chips, store them out of sight so they're less convenient to get to.
- Choose healthier restaurants. Dining out can be challenging. Skip the fast food places and try a new Indian restaurant that serves lots of low calorie vegetable dishes.
Other Lifestyle Changes
- Take a walk. Aerobic exercise tends to suppress appetite temporarily. Hit the treadmill or stroll around the neighborhood after dinner instead of taking a second helping of potatoes.
- Dine alone. Studies show we eat more when we sit down with others. Instead of your usual Sunday brunch, you may want to eat a healthy breakfast and then go bicycling with friends.
- Make new friends. Socializing can also be a positive influence. Keep your old buddies, but reach out to that coworker who loves yoga and green salads. You may pick up her habits if you spend more time together.
- Get a good night's sleep. Lots of people give their bodies more food when better sleep is what they really need. Go to bed an hour earlier on work nights. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet so you'll sleep more soundly.
- Indulge in calorie-free pleasures. Overeating is often closely tied to our emotions. Reward yourself with a new book rather than a candy bar. When you've had a rough day at work, walk right past the pizza parlor and call a friend to talk things over.
Making small changes in your diet and lifestyle can add up to big declines in your weight. Best of all, these tips are so easy to use that you'll be able to stick to them and keep the extra pounds from ever coming back.