Most people would like to lose a few pounds, but no one likes to diet. Here are some tips that I’ve been following to cut calories out of my diet without feeling deprived.
1. I eat as many fruits and non-starchy vegetables as I want. No limits.
2. I put tempting food in an inconvenient spot. Research shows that people are far more likely to eat food if it’s easily accessible. In one study, a cafeteria with an ice-cream cooler opened its glass lid on some days, and left it closed on other days. Nothing else changed — but when the lid was already open, 30% of diners bought ice cream, and when it was closed, only 14% bought ice cream. And the only difference was whether they had to open the lid!
3. I use smaller plates and utensils—sounds ridiculous, but research shows that these affect portion size. I often use the Little Girl’s plastic Cinderella plates (though I can’t say I’ve gone as far as to use her little fork and spoon).
4. When I’m filling my plate, I put all the food I plan to eat on my plate at once, and I don’t allow myself seconds. This has made a huge difference in the way I eat. My previous habit was to take three lady-like helpings that probably added up to much more than one enormous serving.
5. I used to pick off other people’s plates constantly. No more. One bite of a grilled-cheese sandwich has 68 calories. Four French fries have 42 calories. A bite here, and a bite there, and I’ve eaten more calories than if I’d ordered dessert.
These are fairly easy, mild ways to cut calories. Next Wednesday, I’m going to list the more Spartan and controversial rules I follow.
If you like this approach—eating in a way that means you don’t have to diet—there are three excellent books that together make a great eating plan: Brian Wansink’s Mindless Eating, Lisa Young’s The Portion Teller, and Rolls and Barnett’s Volumetrics.
Ririan Project is a blog with a lot of great material on “personal development.” I dislike that phrase, and every substitute I could think of, but can’t come up with anything better. Lots of numbered tip list for fans of tip lists (like me).