TL;DR – It’s all in the mind.
We understand. It’s the end of the year. It’s a great time to party. It’s difficult to fight the temptation to feast. We know. We’ve been stuffing our faces silly too. The diet can wait. Losing weight and eating healthily can be our New Year resolution for 2017. In case you really intend to make that your resolution for 2017, we’re here to help. Don’t worry, we aren’t going to tell you to deprive yourself of all the yummy food you love. In fact, we’re going to do the opposite.
Huh? How’s that going to work? Well, according to Dr Aner Tal, depriving yourself is the surest way to end up eating more. Wait. Who’s Dr Aner Tal? He has a PhD. in consumer behaviour and is a research associate in the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University.
Dr Aner said that there are ways to trick us to eating healthier. And his tips don’t rely on any willpower. In fact, he is of the opinion that all diets are doomed to fail because they rely on willpower. So he advised that we shouldn’t depend on willpower. Instead, we should realise that most of our food decisions are not determined by rational, conscious choice. We are often just reacting to our environment. That’s why we should design our environment and life so that we won’t need to rely on willpower.
Here are his suggestions:
Put healthier food in a more visible and accessible place
You are likelier to get something that is right in front of your eyes rather than if it were not in your line of sight.
Use lighter plates
Heavier plates make it harder for you to feel the weight of food that you are piling on your plate. You end up getting more food.
Use smaller plates
With the same amount of food, a larger plate looks emptier than a smaller plate. When you use a smaller plate, it can look full with a smaller amount of food.
Cut your food into smaller pieces
Instead of letting our stomach tell us whether we should stop eating, we depend on the external environmental cues. An example of an external cue is the number of pieces of food. More pieces make you “think” you’ve eaten more, even if they are smaller pieces.
Don’t watch TV while eating
The more you are distracted, the more you will end up eating mindlessly. You’ll end up eating past a point when you should stop.
No scary movies
If you really want to eat while watching TV, don’t watch scary or action movies. Scary movies or action movies that gets you excited, you will end up eating more than if watched something that leaves you relatively calmer.
Don’t shop when you are hungry
If you shop when you are hungry, you get a higher proportion of higher-sugar, higher-calorie food. But what if you need to shop when you are hungry? Use a shopping list. And stick to it. Don’t pass the ice-cream aisle if there’s nothing you need to get from there.
Deprivation always backfires
If you are going to a party and you aren’t having that coke because you are on a diet, that creates a feeling of deprivation. Deprivation makes people break their diets or binge afterwards.
Here’s a video put together by Quartz on the tips given by Dr Aner:
Enjoy feasting, but do take care of your health!