There is no denying that overeating is more than just a matter of willpower. “We overeat because there are signals and cues around us that tell us to eat,” says Brian Wansink, Ph.D. author of Mindless Eating, who has devoted his life to figuring out why people eat the way they do.
Luckily, if you know what to look for, you can overcome the top food persuaders in your life and gladly stop before you have overindulged. Here are some of the top tricks to stop overeating:
Trick #1: Downsize your dishware
The bigger the dishes the more you will eat and the bigger you become. Fortunately this also plays true the other way around – the smaller the dishes the less you will eat and the smaller you become. Most of us have learned to eat until the plate is clean, no matter what size. Wansink states that people tend to underestimate the amount of calories on larger plates and by switching to smaller plates, bowls, glasses, and silverware you will eat 20 to 30 percent fewer calories without feeling deprived.
Trick #2: Pre-plate all your food
My good friend Dawn Jackson Blatner calls this the table, chair, and plate rule – only eat at a table, sitting down, with food on your plate. This means no eating standing over your counter mindlessly grabbing out of the bottomless bag of chips. Why? Because you eat more this way and the majority of the time you don’t even remember the food. So do yourself a favor and pre-plate all your food all the time, no exceptions. You deserve to eat from actual dishes and will eat less and be leaner in the process.
Trick #3: Turn off the TV
Watching TV and eating seem to go hand and hand. The more time people spend in front of the tube the more weight they pack on. Not only because this time could be used to do something a little more valuable, like exercising, but because we tend to mindlessly munch while watching TV. Wasnick found that as long as the TV is on people will eat, hungry or not. TV isn’t your best friend when it comes to losing weight but if you insist on tuning into your favorite show then follow trick #2 and pre-plate before you sit down. Or better yet make your life a little easier and keep your minimal TV viewing and eating separate.
The more we can understand the triggers that cause overeating, the easier they are to overcome. I highly recommend checking out Brian Wasnick’s book for more tips and tricks to eat more mindfully.