From changing diets to going on quirky exercise regimes, if you’ve tried to stay in shape and keep your weight in check, you’ve most likely tried them all. These methods have had varying degrees of success (or failure) but at the end they haven’t stuck around for long.
But what if the only thing you needed to change was how you think about food to stay in shape. According to studies conducted by Cornell researcher Brian Wansink proves exactly this, through two of his books Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think and Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life.
Here are the 6 tricks Brian Wansink recommends to help stay in shape by simply changing the way you think:
1. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
One of the first tricks is to remove all enticing foods from view. Packing them away towards the back of the fridge will prevent you getting seduced by the allure of your favourite quick bites.
This also applies when you’re eating out, especially at buffets. If you face away from food, you are more likely to eat less than if you face food. The less you see other people going for seconds, the less likely it will be for you to do the same.
2. Make it a Hassle
As people, we hate making an effort and that is the idea behind this next trick. If eating more is made a hassle, like actually requiring you to cross the room to get more food, normal human behaviour would forego the food in favour of the present comfort.
If distance is not a deterrent, making access to food cumbersome by employing containers (hard-to-open ones will be better) to prevent yourself getting your mitts on those snacks.
3. Think before you Eat
Keeping a clear head is crucial to making sure you eat right. Thinking before you eat doesn’t necessarily mean keeping exact tabs on what you’re eating but what you’re doing while eating. Eating while distracted, such as while watching a movie, leads to unconscious eating even if you’re not hungry.
Similarly, shopping for food while hungry will most likely end with you buying more comfort foods that will satisfy your cravings at that moment. While you’re shopping for your cravings, you’re ignoring the healthy foods you actually wanted to buy.
4. Take it Slow
For an average human being, it takes an average time of 20 minutes before feeling full. It’s better to eat slowly to derive the maximum satisfaction out of your meal rather than rushing through it. Eating quickly makes you feel like you haven’t eaten enough, causing you to unnecessarily eat more. Eat at a moderate pace and enjoy your meal. Rushing will only make you gain weight.
5. Keep Variety Low to Keep Weight Low
Everyone is familiar with the scenario at any Indian wedding. Food sourced from every cuisine just calling out to be tasted. Turns out the variety of a wedding buffet is your weight’s worst enemy.
When presented with an assortment of delicious food, there is a tendency to eat more simply because we want to try them all. Restricting yourself to just a few dishes at a time is a good way to keep how much you eat in check and you’ll be full well before you think of going back to the buffet line to take try out the Chinese dishes. There will always be other weddings and many more buffets, so you can maintain your weight and try out all the different cuisines.
6. Eat with the Right Company
According to the studies conducted by Wansink, overeating was directly tied to the company a person had while eating. Eating with friends often led to overeating mostly because you don’t realize you’re eating more while in the company of your friends. However, more subtle cues such as friends who eat more also control how much you eat. In this case your surroundings influence how much you eat. Eat with the right group to make sure you don’t let yourself go.
Eating healthy is never easy and keeping control over what we eat is even harder. But if we just control how and why we eat, there are significant gains to be had. The best part about these tricks is that they don’t require you to sacrifice all the foods you love. You can continue eating what you love and just by simply changing how you think about food, you can reap significant gains in your effort to keep your weight in check.