I am an expert dieter. You can tell this by looking at my bookshelves: I’ve got just about every book on dieting you could think of as well as a number of others that you might not know about. Over my many years of dieting I’ve always found it’s a lot easier to buy a book about dieting than to make radical changes to my eating and exercise regimes.
The diet books I especially like are those which give you advice on losing weight without focusing solely on what goes in your mouth. Of course l know that the best way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than I eat. That means I need to do more exercise and be very careful about what I swallow. Unfortunately, though, none of that addresses my weighty issues of human weakness in lacking both motivation and the strength to resist temptation.
This is where all the books I’ve read have provided assistance. (Not that reading uses huge amounts of calories…) Here are some things which apparently can help. Each of these recommendations is backed up by scientific research, so you can be sure that it works:
• Put food on smaller plates and dishes.
• Eat food sitting at the table, chewing it slowly and not doing anything else (for example, reading, watching TV) at the same time. Concentrate on what you’re eating and enjoy the flavours.
• Plan meals and buy only the food you will need.
• Don’t shop for food when you’re feeling hungry.
• “Out of sight is out of mind.” Don’t leave food where you will be constantly tempted to eat it.
• Drink more water. If you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first, to see whether this helps stave off the hunger pangs.
• Don’t visualise food mentally. If thoughts of tempting food come into your head, consciously switch your thoughts to something else. Prepare beforehand so you know what you will switch your thoughts to – something that makes you happy that isn’t food.
• When you feel tempted to eat food you don’t need, walk away and do something else for twenty minutes. After that time, the craving may have gone away.
• Tell yourself that just as cravings can pop into your head, they can also pop out again!
• Try eating from red plates or dishes.
• Drink wine only from tall thin glasses, not short wide ones.
• Always leave a little on your plate at the end of a meal.
• Avoid spending every evening watching TV. People who watch more TV also eat more!
• Study your naturally thin friends and family members and notice their approach to food. See whether you can adopt some of the same practices and habits.
• When you eat with others, try to be the last person to start eating. Notice who the slow eaters are and follow their pace.
• Recognise that if you’re feeling unhappy you’re more likely to eat unhealthy food.
• Think about changing your habits. For instance, do you always eat or drink the same thing at the same time or in the same situation? Work out how you can establish different healthier habits.
As I said, all the above suggestions are backed up by scientific research so there’s no need to doubt any of it. I would add, though, that I’m still overweight…….
So what works for you? Comments below, please.