For most people, calorie restriction is the hardest part of any weight loss plan. It can be hard to cut back, when you’re accustomed to much larger portion sizes at meals or you have a serious snacking habit. If you find yourself overeating at meal time, try these seven tactics to keep portions under control.
Don’t wait until you’re starving. Part of any successful weight loss plan will involve learning to identify and respond to your body’s cues. That way, you’re eating to live, rather than living to eat! But you should remember to eat when you start to feel hungry, rather than pushing yourself to the starvation point. When you wait too long to eat, it’s easy to devour everything in sight.
Rate your hunger level before each meal or snack. This is a handy psychological trick that will help you recognize your body’s true needs. Before each meal or snack, pause to rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10. You can identify times that you’re eating without being truly hungry, but also recognize the times you have waited too long to eat. It’s better to snack on fruit throughout the day, when you’re at a 3 or 4 on the hunger scale, than wait until you’re at a 10 and can easily put away a whole pizza. If you do rate yourself high on the scale before a meal, slow down and try to be more conscious of your choices as you eat.
Drink a full glass of water before you get started. Often we mix up thirst and hunger signals, and you don’t want to overeat simply because you were thirsty. Drinking a glass of water also helps you to feel a bit more full before you get started eating, and aids in digestion.
Pause during meals. Sometimes, because we’re distracted during meal times, we continue to eat after we’re actually full. At several times during your meals, put your fork down for a minute or two. Engage in conversation, drink half a glass of water, and give your stomach a few minutes to send fullness signals to your brain.
Remove distractions. When you eat in front of the TV or computer, you aren’t paying attention to how much food you’re really putting into your mouth. Don’t eat while you’re distracted.
Stop eating before you think you’re full. Have you ever eaten until you felt “full”, only to realize about ten minutes later that you’re actually stuffed? This is because your stomach takes a few minutes to recognize that it’s full. If you keep eating in the meantime, you end up uncomfortable from consuming more food than you needed. Stop eating when you have finished a reasonable portion of food, and give yourself five or ten minutes to recognize fullness.
Use an appetite suppressant. Sometimes we all need a little help getting our habits under control. If you really struggle with your appetite, one of our FDA-approved appetite suppressants might be right for you. Call our office to schedule an appointment, and we can help you get started on a safe, effective weight loss plan.