Most of us would agree that we should eat healthy, nutritious foods and exercise regularly just because it’s the right thing to do for bodies and minds. Some of us can actually do that and do it well.
Others of us ::pause to adjust mirror:: have to come up with gimmicks and mind games to help us along when we’re tempted to stray. This used to bug me about myself, but I finally figured out that a) it wasn’t a character flaw, b) trickery and deception can be fun, and c) for me, these tricks are often effective! (Note: I do not consider this a character flaw.)
In the event you, too, would like to practice the fine art (with perhaps a little science thrown in) of mind games for weight loss help, I’ll highlight a few for your consideration and experimentation.
Mind Tricks for Weight Loss
- Use a smaller plate. This oldie-but-goodie tip is based on the idea that our smaller portions don’t look as small when there’s not a gaping space between the servings. Our eyes signal our brain, which then sends a tweet to our bellies, that we’re eating an entire plate of food. Long-time readers know that this tip does not work for me, but only because I’m hopelessly neurotic about foods touching. It does work for many people.
- Put down your fork between bites. You’ll eat more slowly, which will help your body recognize satiety when it sees it.
- Eat with your non-dominant hand. The intent, I think, is to improve your mindfulness of the eating process by requiring greater concentration. Speaking only for myself, it also requires a dishcloth bib.
- Brush your teeth after eating. We should do this anyway, for good oral hygiene, but it can also signal the brain that our meal has ended.
- Serve snacks from small containers. I have some custard bowls that are perfect for measuring out 1/2-cup portions. Or if I don’t want that much, I’ll use a small food-prep cup or even a half-sheet paper towel. I can honestly report that I have never over-snacked when I doled out the portion first. When I’ve snacked straight from the source, however, the results haven’t always been pretty.
- Store snacky items in opaque, closed containers. If you can’t see them, they’re less tempting, right? Unless, of course, they’re Nutter Butters, which will wake you from a sound sleep and remind you that they’re there. Waiting, in all their peanut buttery goodness. (This is precisely why no Nutter Butters have crossed my threshold in five+ years.)(I just eat them in my car. Kidding, kidding!)
- Pretend you’re being filmed. This is so silly and so…me. I confess, though, that it has pulled me back from the brink a few times. When nothing else will work, just the thought of my mismatched-flannel wearing self exposed as a tippy-toeing fraud via a fuzzy undercover video on 60 Minutes is enough to keep me out of the kitchen when I don’t need to be in there.
One last new-to-me-tip. Last week I had the pleasure of email-meeting James Clear, of The Worldwide Wellness Project, who shared this tip that just might work:
- Change the color of your plate. James blogged about it in Feeling Fat? Use These Two Painless Strategies to Lose Weight. Here’s an excerpt:
[Researchers] discovered that when the color of a participant’s plate matched the color of their food, they served themselves almost 30% more. In other words, if you ate pasta with red tomato sauce on a dark red plate, you ate almost 30% more than you would if you had used a white plate. The same was true for eating pasta with a white Alfredo sauce on a white plate compared to a dark red plate.
Check out James’s post for all the nitty gritty, but as someone who has eats a lot of beige food, I can see how this might work. As someone who generally cooks meals from previously portioned containers, it’s not going to make a huge difference in the day-to-day. But it will be handy to remember and be mindful of when dining elsewhere! Thanks, James!
Those are just a few tricks that you might or might not find useful. Or maybe you have some tricks of your own up your sleeve? Share! Share!