5 Ways To Trick Yourself Into Eating Less

Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 11:10 pm
Five Ways To Trick Yourself Into Eating Less
Smaller plates and savvier calorie counting: how to avoid consuming more than you mean to.

Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell UniversityFood and Brand Lab, has spent years studying the unconscious thought processes that lead to our sometimes unfortunate eating habits. Among his findings, published in "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think" (Bantam, 2007) we're bound to think food tastes better if it's described with more flowery adjectives; we eat less when it's warm; and if food is left in front of us, no matter how bad it tastes, there's a good chance we'll keep picking at it as long as we're just sitting there. But fear not, Wansink has also come up with some easy strategies to for us to trick ourselves into thinking we're eating more than we are.

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Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 11:16 pm
@Robert Gentel,
The hot wings example does not apply to me. I have a sensitivity to hot spices and I would not have consumed any of them. And I almost never have chips and cookies. Maybe that's why I'm not fat!
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Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 04:15 am
He has some good ideas. Here are a few more.
  1. Drink water, particularly before you start. It will help to give you a feeling of fullness and it has no calories. Plus, what we often think of as hunger is actually thirst. It does not mean that you never, ever eat. If it's been some 3 - 6 hours since your last meal, it's time to eat again. But if you're hungry in between, try the water trick instead.
  2. Soup at the start of a meal, so long as it isn't cream-based. Again, this is to promote a feeling of fullness, but watch the sodium.
  3. Eat slowly. Give your body about twenty minutes to start to register fullness.
  4. To go along with #3, eat lighter fare to start (e. g. salad or soup) and then heavier stuff at the end of the meal. By the time you get to the heavier stuff, you may find that you're too full to have it.
  5. Don't drink your calories. Not just in terms of alcoholic beverages but also in terms of sodas. If you drink no or nearly no calories, that can save a lot if you've had a habit of drinking sodas, OJ, whole milk, etc.
  6. Know serving sizes and follow them. The author is correct when he says that people grossly underestimate what they eat. It's very true. One way to avoid this is to measure out your food while preparing or plating it. If you've made a pound of beef and the serving size is 4 oz., be prepared to either freeze the remaining 12 oz. or give them to someone (preferably three someones) else.
  7. To go along with #6, try to buy portions in a controlled manner, too. A lot of foods (fish, meat, lots of produce) are sold by weight. So buy them by weight. If your family only eats 12 oz. of beef, then, if you can, only buy that amount and no more, or make sure that the butcher separates it. It can be tough to get personalized service like that so make friends with people like the fishmonger.
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 04:25 am
U can go to a good restaurant without your credit cards,
and with very limited cash.

This has never been tested,
but, in theory, it shoud work
(if u accept the questionable premise of eating less).

Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 07:08 am
The best exercise for losing weight is the "push back from the table."
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Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 08:07 am
@Robert Gentel,
I like the one about serving on a smaller plate. I have been using luncheon size plates for dinner for years!
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Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 08:15 am
@Robert Gentel,
Noddy started a topic on this a couple years ago....

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Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 08:52 am
How many dishes do I have to wash?
"To trick...." Oral satisfaction. Chewing. Large salads. Mouthfuls. An occassional small portion of chicken, or steak added.
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Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 11:21 am
Article re new book by Marlene Spieler, cookbook author who has lost 150 pounds in the last year and a half without exactly dieting..


She has a different than usual emphasis - on food pleasure - but does have some of the recent tricks mentioned like small plates, and gives a whole lot of healthy food suggestions, for example, many suggested snacks and salads, plus some recipes.
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 01:04 pm
That is how I have served our dinner for years. If I put a normal helping of what we eat on my dinner plates it looks scanty...food has as much pleasure for me in the look as the taste. I love colors and I like a plate to look proportioned to the portions given. Smaller plates just make better sense.
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Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 01:07 pm
Osso - that is a BRILLIANT article. loved it - thanks
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 01:15 pm
Smaller flatware slows you down too - i.e. using a dessert fork or using a regular teaspoon instead of a soup spoon.
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Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 02:08 pm
3. No Bagging It: Eating straight out of a bag of snack food is dangerous because you don't get a sense of how much you're consuming. For example, Wansink's team gave two groups of adults half-pound and one-pound bags of M&Ms, then had them eat as much as they wanted while watching a video. The people holding the half-pound bags ate 71 M&Ms, on average; in the same amount of time, the people eating the pound bags ate 137 M&Ms, almost twice as much. So, to avoid mindless consumption, don't grab a bag of chips and settle in for your favorite show. Instead, serve all your snacks on a tray or in a bowl.

This one hits home with me. Last night I settled in to watch my BoSox take
on the Halos in the ALDS. I had a big bag of chips and a large can of honey-
roasted peanuts open on the table. I was gnawing at them constantly. I'd
have been much better off just filling a couple of small bowls. (Well, really,
I'd have been better off not eating anything, but that wasn't gonna
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Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 02:14 pm
I never did get the giant plate with the little delicacy thing that was popular in stylish restaurants for a while..

On the article, Spieler's a terrific food writer - I've one of her books but not this present one. She's always been, ah, hefty.
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