Eating habits are mostly psychological which is good and bad. It's good because you can definitely change your eating habits with a bit of effort, but it's bad because bad habits are hard to break. When you find that you are eating too much and too often and gaining weight, it is likely the combination of several psychological factors. Learning how to eat less involves knowing yourself and your own weaknesses, and coming up with your own strategy that will work for you specifically. These are some strategies that you might want to try incorporating if you have found that you are eating too often and are having difficulty changing your eating habits. Trying a round of the HCG diet can be very effective at helping you get back on track to a healthy lifestyle because it can help "reset" your natural appetites, but you can also try these methods to trick your brain to eat less and see if they help at all with helping you eat less.
Method #1 to trick your brain to eat less - Eat with fewer distractions
Eating with fewer distractions is proven to be an effective way to eat less per meal. In several studies, people who eat with distractions have been found to eat more per meal that those who focus on their meals. An example of this is eating while watching the television, and studies have found that people who watch television when eating are more likely to overeat. Distracted eat also often results in hurried eating, which is also proven to be bad if you are trying to stay thin. Don't watch television if you have struggled with overeating; get into the habit of eating without needing to be distracted if you can, or simply eat with friends and family. By focusing on your meal you will be less likely to eat too much and you are more likely to eat slowly.
Method #2 - Eat slowly and savor your meals
Several studies have found that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to recognize that you have started to eat, due to the delay in satiety hormones. During this initial 20 minutes it can be very easy to eat way too much, and that's why many nutritionists recommend that you slow down during your meals. Studies have found that people who eat more slowly are less likely to overeat. When you slow down the pace of eating, you give your brain the time to get the signal that you are full and you are less likely to gorge during that first 20 minutes. You need to slow down during your meals as much as possible and drink plenty of water to help avoid overeating during that crucial initial 20 minutes, and you are less likely to eat too much.
Method #3 - Keep junk foods out of sight
If you read this blog often you probably know that we recommend getting rid of most if not all of the junk food in your home as one of the best tricks to help you avoid overeating. This method really does work, and if you don't see the option to eat junk food you are less likely to actually do it. Keeping junk food out of your home or at least out of sight will help you control your appetite for it. It's not that you won't ever crave it if you've been eating it regularly, but your cravings are less likely to trigger when you can't see the food. By keeping junk food away from you, you are less likely to trigger your hunger, and if you keep mostly healthy food around you'll be satisfying your hunger with something nutritious.
Method #4 - Make a list of healthy foods that you enjoy
You're less likely to stick to a healthy diet in the long term if you "force" yourself to eat healthy food rather than having a natural inclination to eat it. Eating healthy should never be that difficult, and if you stock up foods that you truly enjoy it will be a lot easier to stick to a healthy diet. Make a list of the healthy options that you enjoy and stick to eating mostly from that list, and your dieting will be almost effortless. Diets become hard if not impossible when you eat foods that you really don't enjoy. Always have the healthy food options that you actually enjoy eating available in your home so that you don't have to resort to eating out or eating junk food. Experiment with new healthy foods as well and try new recipes of foods that you otherwise might not enjoy eating.
Method #5 - Avoid emotional triggers that cause you to eat
Emotional eating can be a complicated habit to deal with, but there are certain triggers that drive every individual to eat. Some people are triggered by stress, others are triggered by emotions. If you struggle with emotional eating, one of the most important things to do is to figure out what your triggers are and then do whatever you can to avoid them or diffuse them when you are triggered. Meditation, yoga and exercise are all great ways to reduce your sensitivity to emotional triggers that can compel you to eat. This method is a bit tricky because it requires some introspection and self-awareness, but once you pinpoint the specific the thoughts and circumstances that trigger you to eat, you can start working on techniques to control those impulses and avoid emotional eating.
Method #6 - Use smaller plates
Smaller plates are proven to be a helpful way to eat less because you are less likely to pile on a huge heaping serving. Small plates can be a great way to control portion sizes. Several studies have found that people who use smaller plates eat fewer calories per meal, however the feeling of satiety doesn't change much. Also use smaller utensils when possible because several studies have also shown that people are less likely to overeat when using small utensils. It goes back to the idea that eating slowly is beneficial and during those initial 20 minutes if you can slow down the amount that you eat in any way, whether it is slowing down the pace or using smaller portion sizes, you are less likely to eat more calories than you need to.
Method #7 - Keep a food journal
If you have found that you eat a wide range of different foods and start to lose track of your calories, you can try keeping a food journal. A food journal can help you keep track of exactly what you're eating, and you can start to pinpoint the problem areas in your diet. You don't have to do it for longer than one week; all you need to do is keep track of every food, condiment, drink that you eat during the day for a week. Once you have a week's worth of data you can go back and pick out the problem foods that you need to get rid of. Check the calorie and carbohydrate content of each food, and look for replacement for unhealthy options. You might be surprised to find out that you're drinking a lot more soda or other unhealthy foods than you thought you were, and this can help you pinpoint the biggest problem spots and take action.
Method #8 - Portion your meals out ahead of time
Portioning is absolutely essential to maintaining a healthy weight, and if you portion your meals out ahead of time it can be very beneficial. Try to anticipate the specific number of portions that you'll need and don't cook more than you need to, especially if you have struggled with portion control. Portioning out your dinner or lunch can be effective because you know exactly how many calories you are eating during each meal, and if you happen to still be hungry after your meal you can add a healthy snack like fruit rather than having a second portion. Do whatever it takes to avoid eating too much, even if it means that you have to spend a few extra minutes calculating portion sizes and adjusting your recipes.
If you don't know where to start, you might try a round of the HCG diet since portioning is a fundamental aspect of the diet, and the protocol is nicely organized and easy to follow. Contact a medical provider at Nu Image Medical for more information about the HCG diet and how it can help you change your eating habits, or to ask any questions that you may have at all.