If losing weight is your goal, hear this: you will not do it through starvation, obsessively counting calories or just wishing that magically a few kilos might fall off. You know the drill: move more, eat well, sleep 8 hours and repeat.
While it can be frustrating to look at it as a sustainable lifestyle change rather than a quick-fix diet or exercise plan, there are a few small tricks than can help along the way. The little one-percenters that can really start to add up over the course of a week.
I’m not inhuman – like everyone I’ve been guilty of mindless eating. I get bored, I reach for a snack. I get sad, I reach for a snack. I turn on the TV, I reach for a snack. I’m anxious, I reach for….well, you get it. Mindless snacking can be surprisingly detrimental to your weight loss (or maintenance) goals, so over the past 6 months I’ve been learning to deal with this stuff in other ways – like reading a book, walking, or getting lost on Pinterest. Sometimes though, distraction just isn’t enough. I’ve listed a few tips below that have had the biggest impact on my mindless snacking.
1. Don’t keep food out on counters
Food within eye sight or easy reach will just prompt you to question whether you fancy some. Your body will tell you when it’s good and ready for more food, so why leave it on display? You won’t forget to eat, I promise.
2. Don’t hang out in the kitchen
For many the kitchen is the heart of the home, but that doesn’t mean you need to be in there all the time. Enjoy the space for prepping and enjoying your food, and then move to other parts of the house. You don’t need a TV in the kitchen, or your laptop, or anything else that’s going to make it more appealing to be in there longer than you need to be.
3. Wrap up leftovers
Don’t leave food open to the elements (and your hands). Wrapping it up in foil or cling wrap will mean you have to consciously unwrap it to eat it – a little deterrent for wandering hands.
4. Downsize your plates
It’s not rocket science – if you have big bowls and plates, you’re more likely to serve bigger portions. Opt for smaller dishes and save yourself the stomach ache.
5. Clean up your pantry
While I’m a total advocate of treating yourself to something you love every once in a while that may not be so healthy, it’s not something you need constant access to. Buy ‘treat’ food on the day you plan to enjoy it, and keep it out of the house at other times. Don’t mess with temptation – it’s tiring and always seems to win.
6. Present food on plates, not from serving bowls
This is great tip if you’re prone to second helpings. Portion on the food on your plate, and leave it at that. Having bowls of leftovers in front of you while you’re waiting for your first helping to hit your stomach is a bad idea. Give yourself 20 minutes after your first serving before deciding if you really need more food. Chances are, you won’t.
7. Get rid of devices at meal times
We are all guilty of scrolling through Instagram whilst eating breakfast, eating our lunch at our desks and munching on dinner with the TV on. We often forget that digestion and eating involves more than just chewing and stomach churning, having all of your attention on your food can not only help with digestion (goodbye bloating) it can also mean that you don’t still feel hangry after smashing that acai bowl.
Do you have any tricks that have helped you keep your hand out of the cookie jar? I’d love to hear them!
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