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7 Easy Things You Can Do To Lose Weight When You Eat

7 Easy Things You Can Do To Lose Weight When You Eat
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 6 min read

The choices that you make when you sit down for a meal can have major implications on your weight, and you can make several small changes starting today. Many of these tips are portion control strategies, which may seem obvious but it's very easy to overlook portion control. The next time that you have a meal try some of these tips which can help you lose weight and control the number of calories that you consume regularly, and it can make a major difference, especially if you implement a few of these techniques every time that you eat.

#1 - Drink a glass of water before your meal

The simple act of drinking a glass of water before your meal can reduce the number of calories that you eat. Some of your hunger may be related to dehydration and if that is the case you'll feel less hungry when you actually go to eat. Filling your stomach with water can make you a lot less likely to overeat, and if you drink a large glass of water before every meal you might eat 100 to 200 fewer calories per day or even more. Numerous studies have found a very real weight loss effect simply by drinking water, so be sure that you start your meals with water or at least give it a shot to see if it makes a difference in how much you eat.

#2 - Get a larger serving of veggies

Do your best to make a large portion of your meals vegetables. By eating mostly vegetables during your meals you'll be less likely to fill up on fattening foods like carbohydrates, starch and sugar. Larger protein portions are also okay for weight loss, and in general you will want to eat at least two to three servings of vegetables at every meal or more. The chances are that you aren't eating enough of them if you are trying to lose weight, but they can make a significant difference because most vegetables are low in calories while being high in fiber and compounds that can suppress your appetite.

#3 - Keep your carbohydrate portions small

Another important thing to do when you are trying to lose weight is to limit your carbohydrate intake at every meal. Eating too many simple carbs or even complex carbs can result in weight gain. You will want to decrease your portions to a much smaller amount than what you normally eat. If you usually fill up half of your plate with carbs like rice or potatoes you should try reducing it by 75 percent or more. Ideally you won't be eating very many carbs from grains, rice, or starchy vegetables at all during your meals because those are a major cause of weight gain.

#4 - Start your meal with a soup

Starting off your big meals with a soup can reduce your total calorie intake by 20%, as a 2007 NIH study found [1]. So try starting your meals with a soup, but of course you'll need to be careful to use a healthy recipe for your soup, and you don't want to load it with croutons or crackers or other ingredients that can cause weight gain. Try a simple low sodium vegetable soup recipe or any soups that don't contain grains or noodles at the start of your meal and see if it helps with your appetite. Salads can have a similar effect but you need to also be careful to not add any heavy dressing, croutons or other ingredients that can cause weight gain. Also be sure to avoid eating bread or any other grains as appetizers at the start of your meal.

#5 - Don't eat when you're distracted

Eating any meal when you're distracted can result in increased calorie consumption. A review of several studies found that distracted eating can result in increased calorie consumption [2]. This means that the simple act of paying attention on what you are eating can actually help you eat less. The reasons why are not 100% clear, but it may have to do with the fact that when your attention is focused on the television or another source of entertainment that you aren't listening to the signals of your body telling you that you are full, and you may eat a lot faster than you normally would if you were focusing just on your meal. So the next time you eat shut the TV off and sit down with a friend or family member.

#6 - Use smaller plates

The simple act of using smaller plates can make a significant difference in the number of calories that you eat. A study at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that switching from 12-inch to 10-inch plates resulted in a 22% decrease in calories. If you eat around 800 calories per dinner, that can result in a decrease of 10 pounds throughout a whole year, and that's just for one meal [3]! Using plates that are a few inches smaller won't result in any noticeable difference but subconsciously you'll be more likely to overload your plate, and psychologically you'll feel like you're eating more even though you actually aren't. The effect is quite powerful and it can make it a lot easier to maintain a healthy weight.

#7 - Don't pick a plate color that matches the color of your food

It isn't just the size of your plate that matters, the color of your plate matters as well. Studies found that when you pick a plate color that matches your food, such as red pasta sauce and pasta on a red plate, you're more likely to increase your serving size. This is because the food blends into the plate and your serving doesn't appear to be as large. So keep plates that are a few different colors available; if you're eating red sauce with pasta use a white plate, and so on. It might not seem like it's significant but it actually is, and every little step that you take will add up when it comes to the total number of calories that you eat per month and year.


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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.