Eating too much food leads to unwanted weight gain, so why are most of us doing it and how can we eat less?
The amount of food we eat is affected by so many different factors that simply putting 1 tool into place isn’t likely to make a big difference in the long run. Emotions, sleep, diet pattern, stress, eating habits and mindfulness all play a part. Have a read of my top tips and I bet you will eat less this weekend.
- Control your monkey. No this is not an innuendo but instead a reference to Professor Steve Peter’s Chimp Paradox. The prof talks about how each of us has a chimp in our brain and in certain situations it takes over and prevents us from having control. By taking a moment to control your chimp you regain control over your body – ever thought ‘I know I shouldn’t be eating this so why am I?’[spacer height=”20px”]
- Eat regularly. Weekends are especially bad for skipping meals and eating late. By doing this you end up eating more because you are starving when you get to a meal. So try to stick to that all important 3 meals each day – even if this means pushing your lunch and evening meal back a bit to allow for that lay in and late breakfast.[spacer height=”20px”]
- Get enough sleep. A recent study showed that sleep deprivation can lead to an extra 385kcals a day being eaten. That will lead to approximately 1-2 lb weight gain every 9 days.[spacer height=”20px”]
- A rule of quarters. When plating up any meal, make sure you have 2/4 plate of vegetables 1/4 plate protein and 1/4 plate starchy foods. This means you won’t eat too much protein and starchy foods which are higher in calories than vegetables.[spacer height=”20px”]
- Eat enough calories. I have clients who choose these low calorie salads in coffee shops – around 250 calories – then get home later and end up binge eating because they are starving. What is the point? Best go for a lunch around 500 calories which will fill you up until your next meal.[spacer height=”20px”]
- Hydrate. Dehydration can be read as hunger in the brain and end up causing you to have food cravings. Ideally you need to be drinking 2L of non-alcoholic fluid each day. In those who are overweight then 3L each day is needed.[spacer height=”20px”]
- Be tactical with your groceries. Often when we eat sugary/fatty foods it isn’t because we are hungry but because they are there. So simply do not buy them for the house and keep as a treat when out and about. Also, a further tip here would be to buy single bags and smaller packets of food. For instance, instead of buying large bags of crisps – buy the individual ones as you won’t be as tempted to keep eating when this involves opening another packet.[spacer height=”20px”]
- Portion control. You must weigh out your portions as per the packet. It takes us 15-20 minutes to realise we are full and most people have eaten their entire dinner by this point. Typical mistakes include microwave rice (most sachets are 2 portions not 1), pasta & rice (it looks tiny before being cooked) and potatoes.[spacer height=”20px”]
- When eating out. Restaurants always serve huge portions and as it takes so long to realise you are full, chances are you will overeat. To make life little easier – have a snack before you go out so that you don’t arrive starving and wolf down all your food.[spacer height=”20px”]
- Table manners. Taking time out to eat at the dinner table – whether it is breakfast, lunch or evening meal is a perfect way to be more mindful about what you are eating.[spacer height=”20px”]
- Keep track. One of the proven ways of eating less is to keep track of your intake. One of the best ways to do this is via a phone app such as My Fitness Pal. Again this makes eating that little bit more mindful.
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