Finding yourself in a serious food coma at the end of every meal gets old real quick. But luckily, according to new research, eliminating all "off-limits" from your diet might not be the recipe for long-term success. Instead, playing with the portions of good-for-you and not-so-good-for-you foods is a more sustainable technique that can also help curb cravings, like taking a smaller portion of chips to pair with a larger serving of salad or fruit.
If you've struggled with overeating indulgent foods and portion control in general, it's time to rethink old habits and redesign your relationship with meals. Take these 11 straightforward tips to heart for guidance.
- Know your needs: When your diet doesn't feel like a guessing game, you're more likely to stick with the plan at meals. Check out this Mayo Clinic calorie calculator and RDA protein chart to learn your numbers and make educated decisions about what you're eating.
- Measure things out: You can't be exactly sure of what you're eating unless you measure out portions properly. Instead of eyeballing everything, pick up some portion-control products so you can be precise.
- Never show up too hungry: When you arrive at a meal famished, you're much more likely to overdo it. Enjoy quality snacks during the day to keep your hunger in check for meals.
- Cook one serving: Take temptation out of the picture by cooking single-size servings of your favorite foods. This way, you won't have to struggle with saying no to the extras lurking in your fridge.
- Choose smaller plates: Serve your meal on a salad or a dessert plate. Studies have proven that using a smaller plate helps with weight loss and portion control.
- Sit down to eat: Turn off outside distractions, sit at the table, and focus on your food. You'll be able to slow down, enjoy your meal, and feel more satisfied with what's on your plate.
- Check in with your breath: Is your breathing quick and tense? Is your heart racing? Take three deep breaths before you even think about eating. Going into a meal with an anxious mind makes you more likely abandon portion-control plans.
- Cut your food: A study found that cutting up your food may help trick your brain into thinking there's more on the plate, which can translate into eating less while still feeling satisfied.
- Leave the table: If you feel yourself eating too fast or unable to drop your fork, excuse yourself from the table, and step outside for some fresh air. You'll come back with a refreshed perspective.
- Pack up leftovers: As soon as your meal is ready, serve yourself a portion and pack up the rest. When the leftovers aren't out in the open, it's easier to say no.
- Sip on tea: Once you've finished the serving you've set out for yourself, boil for some water for a hot cup of calming tea. Once you've had a few minutes to relax after your meal, chances are you won't be hungry for seconds.