Most people understand they need to eat less to stop gaining weight. But, if it was that simple, no one would be overweight who didn’t want to be, right?! Today, I’m going to share 5 simple ways how to eat less so you can lose weight.
Use a Smaller Plate
A lot of us grew up being required to “clean our plates” meaning to eat all the food on our plate. And, even if we didn’t, we hate to waste food. And, let’s face it, leftovers aren’t always that great. What’s a little more food? Well, unfortunately, it can easily pack on extra calories. And, we can think of many reasons why we should eat everything on our plate.
So, a simple way to eat less food and start eating healthy is simply to use a smaller plate. You can still “fill it up” so to speak but if you’re struggling to eat smaller portions it might be because the plate is too big. Just look at the image below and notice less meat and smaller portions of the potatoes. I would argue the vegetable should take up half the plate and NOT be reduced but that’s a topic for later.
Stop When You Are Almost Full
As you’ve probably heard before, it takes approximately 20 minutes for our brains to get all of the communication from our body that we’ve eaten enough. That’s why if you eat a big meal, you feel even fuller and uncomfortable about a half-hour later and you might say “Ugh! I ate too much!”
Therefore, one way how to eat less is simply to stop eating when you are almost full and then wait 20 minutes. Even better is to stop eating until you’re “full” and only until you are “content.” That takes some getting used to since the feeling of contentment almost feels like hunger even though it isn’t. I can feel “content” for three hours or more sometimes!
Of course, this will take some practice not eating everything on your plate and if that were easy, you probably wouldn’t be reading tips on how to eat less. So, here are a few tips to stop eating before you’re full:
- Put your plate away as soon as you start feeling you’re almost done.
- Drink a glass of water and/or pop a piece of gum in your mouth.
- Set a timer – If you normally take approximately 10 minutes to eat, set a timer for 7 minutes and then stop eating.
- Cover your plate with a paper towel and go do one chore of some sort that takes about 20 minutes. For example, do something unappetizing such as clean a bathroom. Or, put a load of laundry in the washing machine. If you distract yourself, you might notice you don’t need any other food.
Practice makes perfect. This might be one of the harder things to accomplish but once you’re used to it, you can cut a lot of calories out each week this way! If you’re trying to lose the baby weight, it will come off a lot faster.
How to Eat Less By Buying Less
One of the reasons many of us are overweight these days is because there is no shortage of food we can get access to. You go to the grocery store and there are aisles upon aisles of so many types of foods we can eat!
However, our bodies eat as if there could be a famine starting tomorrow. Our innate drive is to store up fat for those long, cold winters we used to endure as a people.
Fight against that urge by simply buying less food. Who knows? You might throw less food away. Here are a few tips:
- Pre-Plan Your Junk Food – You know how I feel about cheat meals, but it’s not that I don’t eat any junk food. I simply limit it and don’t plan a certain day to eat it. However, I know that I get a sweet tooth very fast if I’m not careful. I find sugar VERY addicting! Therefore, I will buy ONE pint of ice cream for a two-week period. If you’re buying any junk food, buy ONE or TWO items. Once they’re gone, you can’t eat anymore.
- Make a Grocery List – When you go shopping, things look sooooo good, right? It’s hard to pass up. But, if you’re like me, you might end up throwing some of that food away because you bought too much. It’s a waste of money. And, if you hate waste, you might eat it even though you don’t need it. Making a grocery list can help you plan your meals ahead of time, make better choices, and eat less food each week.
- Vary Your Diet – Another thing buying less does is forces you to eat something else. If you buy one potato instead of two, it forces you to eat a different side dish for one of your meals. You might eat a side salad instead.
If you’ve downloaded our e-Book, 10 Practical Ways to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories, you know that your body is preprogrammed to get hungry every few hours no matter how many calories you’ve eaten that day.
You might want to “listen to your body” and eat every time you feel hungry. But, hunger ebbs and flows. If you don’t feed the hunger, the sensation goes away and your body uses your stored fat for energy. That’s how we lose weight: burn more calories than we consume.
Once you understand this phenomenon, you might want to ignore hunger signs at least once or twice a day if snacking is an issue for you. After all, even a medium apple has 95 calories. Don’t get me wrong, a piece of fruit is healthy for you! However, if you are still gaining weight even though you feel like you’re eating less, snacking could be part of the issue.
Eat more to eat less? Yes! Eat more veggies that is!
Vegetables have far fewer calories than any other food so you can eat way more of them without packing on the calories. Remember the picture from above? It’s actually not quite right. The protein portion should be the size of your open palm, the grain should be a fist-size, and the veggies should take up half the plate. Here’s a better plate:
Keep in mind, however, that you don’t prepare your veggies with high-calorie foods such as a lot of butter, cheese, dressings, and sauces. It’s easy to accidentally overdo it and then it defeats the purpose. You can eat a cup of broccoli for about 32 calories. Don’t like broccoli? There are over 1,000…yes ONE THOUSAND vegetables. Become adventurous and try some new recipes! How do you think Kale became so popular around 2007 to 2009? Someone branched out and recipes took off. There are over 1 billion (with a B) results when you Google “kale recipes!”
I hope this post has helped you find a way to eat less so you can stop gaining weight. In short, put your food on a smaller plate, stop eating when you’re full, and make half of the plate full of vegetables. Do just those three things alone and the weight will be melting off!