Saturday, February 27, 2010

Help Yourself by Not Helping Yourself!

Time to reminisce about being a kid! I want you to think about dinnertime in your home when you were growing up. Did your mom or dad make you force down all of your dinner before they let you have dessert or leave the table? If so, you're probably a member of the "clean plate club"! That is, your childhood mealtime experiences trained you to be most satisfied after dinner — and other meals too — when you clean your plate and don't leave anything over. Does that sound about right to you?

If it does, this could be what is standing in the way of successful weight loss for you. You're using a visual cue — an empty plate — to decide when you should stop eating, rather than relying on the internal cue of your tummy and how full it is. But don't feel bad! Many of us do this. And now researchers have figured out a way around it. Here's the science: Serve yourself less! Researchers have figured out that you can eat up to 20 percent less and feel just as satisfied. So when you're serving yourself dinner — or any meal — put about 20 percent less on your plate than you think you'll eat. Put away the rest of the food and only then sit down to eat. Most likely, when you clean up that plate, you won't be hungry for any more food.

Here's another trick: When you take a smaller portion of the main course, load the rest of your plate with lots of vegetables. Your eyes still see a full plate, even though there will be fewer calories on it, so you will still feel satisfied. Also, try switching to a smaller dinner plate. This easy change will save you calories and fat grams every day — which add up to pounds lost!

Let's put this trick-your-eyes plan into effect in the coming week. Think you can do it for at least five dinners? I know you can. Give it a shot and see how you feel!

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