Got a favorite meal? Picture it right now. Apparently pondering on a past meal can make people eat less instead of salivating for it all over again, according to a recent Psychology Today post. Amnesic patients went as far as eating the same meal twice simply because they forgot that they had eaten lunch already, leading them to eat another meal 10 to 20 minutes later. Trying to combat those hunger pangs? Here are 10 tips to beat the odds.
1. Imagine the meal eaten earlier in the day. Psychology Today reports that that can make people less likely to grab snacks. The time of day matters, too. People were more likely to want to eat when recalling a meal from yesterday than they were from earlier the same day.
2. While exercise helps to increase muscle and burn fat, being health conscious doesn’t mean mindless snacking will stop. It turns out that people who imagined a meal that they’d have at a future date (including the taste, the location, the wine to order on top of the meal) didn’t change their snacking habits if the memory trick was performed when it comes to working out. No matter how picturesque that workout session was, the snacking habits stayed the same.
3. Keep a nutrition journal with notes about when unhealthy eating habits most commonly occur. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, keeping this journal may help uncover a pattern of just what time of day, which days and what people affect the way a person eats.
4. Sit down. Although standing desks may be the new fad at the home or corporate office, to try to lose weight or to maintain weight, it turns out that the CDC isn’t thrilled about the idea of standing while eating either. Standing while eating is also linked to eating too fast or mindless eating.
5. Clean your plate in the sink, not with your mouth. By now most kids have heard the saying about “eat everything on your plate.” Depending on what parent says it, this may be a coded term for “eat your vegetables” or “be grateful you have a meal at all and don’t waste anything.” The problem with the latter belief is sometimes people will eat food that they don’t even want simply because it’s on the plate.
6. Ditch the coffee for green tea. Not only does green tea have the ability to stop a cold from replicating from one person to another, but certain brands are also reportedly linked to increasing metabolism and reducing body fat.
7. Ignore the drive-thru windows. Avoid getting into the habit of always picking up breakfast, lunch or dinner at certain places, especially if they’re restaurants that are close to home. The more you pass by these places and order each time, the more likely you’ll turn this into a ritual instead of a treat.
8. Set a budget for takeout and delivery meals. The convenience of having food delivery websites is people then don’t have to make that trek to pick up the food. With online delivery companies that include a surplus of restaurants that will deliver, this can became seriously overwhelming for the person trying to diet. Create a budget ahead of time each month for how much can be spent on these websites. That way, once the limit is reached, consumers know they’ll have to wait until next month to start all over again.
9. Turn away from the vending machines. The more opportunity people have to go to vending machines, the more they may be tempted to do so. However, sitting with your back turned to the vending machine to avoid being tempted about what’s inside or sitting somewhere else altogether may help. If the work or school cafeteria is filled with vending machines, find a lobby area where it’s OK to eat. Go outside. Or, just bring substitute snacks that are healthier than what’s behind the glass.
10. Be honest with the company cook. There’s always that co-worker or friend who despises fruit but can’t wait to order donuts or bring in desserts. Even if the thoughtful person has a meal “just for you,” be polite and honest with this person about eating better. Maybe the company cook will bring in healthier treats for you, too. Although this may not be the most thrilling for the group, consider asking co-workers or peers to have a “healthy pot luck” where they all have to show off their latest healthy treats. Give donuts and cookies a day off at least once.