Here are a couple of tips that can give you the upper hand!
Having a glass of water before your meal will not only aide in keeping you hydrated, but it can also fill your stomach which can help to prevent over eating. A lot of times those feelings of hunger may simply be your body telling you that you're thirsty and drinking a glass of water may ward off those hunger pangs altogether!
A couple alternatives to water:
- Drink a protein shake before your meal. If strength training is part of your program this is a great way to ensure you are getting enough protein to maintain and repair your muscles while helping to control how much you're eating.
- Have a bowl of soup as your first course. A healthy broth based soup heavy on the veggies can be a great way to start a meal and help reduce your overall calorie intake.
2. Use Smaller Dinnerware
Chances are pretty good that you don't measure and weigh every meal. The larger your plates and bowls and serving utensils, the more likely you are to overeat. By switching to smaller dinnerware and serving utensils you limit the amount of space for food and the inclination to serve yourself too much. Just remember... Don't go back for seconds!
3. Eat Mindfully
Make your meal the center of attention! Avoid eating on the go or while sitting on the couch. Sit down at the table. Limit distractions such as having the TV on or multi-tasking. Give yourself time to eat and eat slowly. Setting down your utensil between bites and chewing thoroughly allows your body to recognize satiety. It takes around 20 minutes for your body to perceive that it is full. If you eat too quickly you will have overeaten before you realize that you are satisfied. Be in the moment, enjoy the flavor and scent of your food and stop eating when you feel 80% full.
4. Do Not Eat From the Bag or Box
When was the last time you measured out your snacks? Far too often people end up 50% more than the recommended serving size as they are unable to visualize an accurate serving size. When you bring home a bag of chips, pretzels, nuts or trail mix, divide it up immediately into individual servings using snack bags to ensure you're sticking to serving size!
5. Fill Up on Fruits and Veggies
Make fresh fruits and vegetables the star of your meal. If you're looking to cut calories without cutting the volume of your food be sure load your dishes with plenty of produce! Add apples, bananas, or fresh fruit to your oatmeal or Greek yogurt. Pile on spinach, onions, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc to beef up your sandwich. Substitute half of the meat in your next stir fry or tacos with portabella mushrooms. Load up your plate with vegetables before adding protein, and carbs. I like to use a 50/30/20 rule. 50% veggies, 40% protein, 20% carbs.
These are just a few of the many ways you can control your caloric intake. Try them out to see which works best for you!