This is not your usual blog about dieting.
I'm not going to tell you to "eat more protein" or "fill your plate up with veg", or the absolute worst one of all....
"swap chocolate for fruit"
Instead I'm going to give you 5 strategies for helping reduce your overall consumption of calories WITHOUT actually thinking about food at all.
So let's begin.
Perform a kitchen MOT
You know how your car needs to go in for a check-up every year?
Well so does your kitchen, and preferably every few months instead of just annually.
Walk round the kitchen with a pen and notepad and make note of the following things:
What foods/drinks are in sight?
What foods/drinks do you see first when you open the fridge/freezer?
What's the first thing you see when you open your cupboards?
How easy is it to access the 'treat' foods you know you should eat in moderation?
Then ask yourself...
What can I do to change these things to make it a little easier to reduce the chances of me over-consuming or adding extra non-intended calories into my day?
It might be by putting the biscuit jar away at the back of a cupboard, or putting the ice cream to the back of the bottom of the freezer behind all the miscellaneous stuff you never touch but has made itself a comfy arctic home.
Perhaps it's by trying to encourage 'inclusion' of certain foods you know help like having fresh fruit you really like at eye height at the front of the fridge or leaving a water jug filled with cold squash out on the table where you work.
The key is that all of these things are intended to make the diet-life easier without much thought or willpower.
Use smaller plates, spoons and bowls
If you wanted a car that was cheaper to fill up full of petrol you'd buy a smaller engine.
The same goes for food intake.
If you want to reduce the amount of food you eat then you can take the decision out of your own hands by simply using smaller plates and bowls that hold less food.
The spoon thing?
Whilst the research into eating with smaller cutlery is sparse but mainly positive, from an anecdotal perspective I can tell you that since I started eating most of my meals with a teaspoon in 2017 I take longer to eat, savour my meals more and most importantly, notice feelings of fullness increase hugely towards the tail end of the meal.
Give it a try alongside the smaller plate/bowl at your next main meal and let me know what you noticed!
Drink a glass of water before a meal
Not because "you might be mistaking thirst for hunger", but more because having a belly full of water is likely going to have you feeling fuller already before you start eating.
Combine that with the fact you are now using smaller plates/bowls and you may find yourself eating less calories without really feeling like that is the case immediately after the meal.
Eat in a room without screens
Last year I was sat on the train (pre-covid of course), and of the perhaps 20 people I could see there was only ONE person who wasn't on their phone.
That was me.....and only because I was looking at everyone else, my phone was still in my hand OBVS.
It didn't matter if they were eating.
It didn't matter if they were talking to their friend.
It also didn't matter if someone was trying to step over them to make their way down the carriage.
We go blind to all thoughts and feelings when we're glued to that little 5 inch screen.
Unaware of our surroundings, and more importantly when we are eating, unaware of our sensations of taste, texture, smell and fullness.
If you currently eat in front of a TV or with your phone in your hand then try to turn those off during a meal and really get lost in the richness of your senses when eating.
Food is to be enjoyed, so take the time to luxuriate in it a few times a day.
Use the HALT method
This is one for those cold, dark evenings stuck indoors (thanks Covid).
And all of a sudden you're remembering that OMG there is a half bar of Dairy Milk left in the cupboard that has been looking at you all day because you haven't done your Kitchen MOT yet...
But, but, but it's not on your intended food intake for the day...
So try the HALT method first before deciding whether you still fancy it or not.
H - Am I hungry?
A - Am I angry? (you could substitute this for stressed but HSLT isn't as catchy)
L - Am I lonely?
T - Am I tired?
Now there are many things that can be used to help relieve A, L and T just as powerfully as food:
And H could be perhaps solved better with a different choice.
If you do ask yourself those questions, and still decide to go for the chocolate bar then do so with absolutely NO guilt, NO shame and NO judgement and bloody well enjoy it.
It was the right decision for you at that time, but at least you explored other options that you may decide will work better in the future.
Found that helpful?
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