“Just eat less, duh.”
We’ve all heard this obtusely simple piece of advice when soliciting others for tips on how to lose a few pounds, but as flawed human beings, it can be very tough to simply will yourself to a healthier diet.
Thankfully, there are all kinds of subtle, easy, and even fun psychological and logistical tricks you can use on yourself to eat less without even feeling like you’re on a diet—here we go!
1. Try These More Filling (But Still Healthy) Foods
No, that “gut feeling” isn’t just you—some foods really are more filling than others.
Nutrition science experts have even numerically expressed the “satiety” level of dozens of foods so you can compare how filling they are, compiling the results in what they call the Satiety Index List.
Of course, more filling foods often have more calories, but there are also plenty of opportunities to find a healthier and lower-calorie option that is more filling. If you wish to calculate your calorie intake check it here.
Example: Grapes are set at a satiety value of 162%, where cookies have a satiety value of 120% (100% standard = white bread).
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Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found naturally in the hemp plant, has been shown by this study and others to safely and effectively suppress the release of appetite-increasing hormones.
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3. The “Big Bag” Rule
If you’ve got a big old bag of chips, pretzels, or cookies, it’s vital before you begin snacking that you set aside a predetermined amount in a bowl.
Just as importantly, after you have rationed your daily chip allotment, tie off the bag and return it to the shelf.
4. Smaller Plate, Smaller Meal
It doesn’t feel like dieting if your plate is still full.
Smaller plates, cups, and even silverware will help you to naturally decrease your calorie intake without being constantly reminded “Hey, you’re on a diet.”
Try it out, and while you’re at it, you can add some new flare to your kitchen.
5. Water First
Having water before a meal is a triple win.
You’ll reap the vital benefits of proper hydration, naturally decrease your calorie intake, and do so with virtually no added cost.
6. “Clean Your Plate” De-Programming
Dear old mom and dad just wanted the best for you, but the “clean your plate” standard imposed on you as a child can have some troubling implications when you become an adult who can buy as many cheeseburgers as they want.
If you’re full, be full—leftovers tomorrow.
7. Slow Down
Our stomachs have “sensors,” or specialized nerves that can sense when the stomach is stretching in response to eating, that signal the decrease of hunger hormones and the sensation of fullness.
Here’s the rub: it takes about twenty minutes after you begin eating for this feedback to be sent to the brain.
As such, without changing what you’re eating, simply slowing down can make you feel fuller sooner.
8. Ditch The Pop
The lab coats are still debating over how exactly this works, but they have confidently connected soda (especially diet soda) consumption with increased calorie intake.
Ironically, diet soda makes you hungrier.
9. Stop Underestimating Sauces
Believe it or not, a single ounce of ranch dressing provides around 140 calories, which is just ridiculous.
Olive oil and vinegar is an excellent substitute that pairs well with a huge variety of dishes.
10. The Fork Flip
Yes, it seems super trivial, but just try it.
Instead of scooping up mound after mound of food with that fork, flip it over and force yourself to actually poke your food.
You’ll slow down (satiety signaling, remember?) and, most likely, eat less.
A Final Tip
Don’t give yourself an “out” and regress back to old ways just because you fail one time.
Enter this effort with the understanding that you’re going to fail often, but as long as you never give up, incorporating as many of these tips as possible should help you achieve the weight that feels best for you.