- Eat slowly, chew well. That allows more time for satiety signals to reach the brain (it takes about 20 minutes), so slow eaters tend to feel more satisfied and eat less. Chewing may also stimulate satiety signals. In addition, eating more slowly makes you more aware of the smell, taste and texture of the foods, which can lead to greater satisfaction with fewer calories.
- Use your nondominant hand. This helps break the habit of eating on autopilot. Another trick is to use chopsticks if you are not proficient with them. Of course, over time, you may get used to these methods.
- If you have a snack craving, take a brisk walk. Just 15 minutes might help, suggests research from the University of Exeter in England. In one study, “chocoholics” reported reduced cravings after walking for 15 minutes, compared to after sitting quietly. In another, people who walked and then did computer work ate half as much chocolate from a bowl at hand as those who rested before the task. Brief bouts of exercise may help elevate mood, similar to the way chocolate does—but without the calories. Any kind of physical activity may do the trick.
- Keep a food diary. A 2012 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that dieters who regularly wrote down what they ate lost about six pounds more than those who didn’t. It doesn’t matter how you do it—in a notebook, on the computer or with an app on your phone or tablet—as long as you record your intake consistently and honestly (including even condiments). This simple act makes you more accountable for what you eat and helps you see patterns in your eating habits that may be contributing to weight gain.
Published March 06, 2013