Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Want to drop pounds? Changing your environment-not necessarily your diet-may be the answer. Try these low- and no-cost tweaks.
Put produce up front. The more prominently a food is placed, the more likely you are to choose it. Dieters lost nearly a pound in a month simply by storing their fruit and vegetables on the middle shelf. Try it with easy to eat carrots and berries.
You skipped that last slice of pizza to save calories, but every time you open the fridge, it calls your name. Stash it in a fridge drawer or wrap it in foil to help you resist it until it's mealtime again.
Pare down big buys.
Shopping in bulk saves cash, but it can add calories. People faced with a gallon-sized bowl of Chex Mix ate 56% more than those given a half-gallon one. Taking 10 minutes to divide that drum of pretzels into small plastic bags could slash hundreds of calories from your diet.
Shrink bowls and spoons.
We match our portions to our dinnerware. A half cup of ice cream looks good in an 8-ounce bowl but wimpy in a 16-ounce one. Size even fools the pros: When food experts were given bigger bowls, they ate 31% more ice cream; given bigger serving spoons, they ate 15% more.
Your dining area:
Add a bouquet.
A whiff of flowers may keep you from overindulging at supper. Smelling something inconsistent with what's on your plate dampens your appetite. Participants in a study served plain oatmeal scented with apple and cinnamon ate more than those given oatmeal that smelled like macaroni and cheese. No need for unappetizing combinations, but some slight sensory confusion-a fresh bouquet or a scented candle-might help you limit portions.
Dim the lights.
Bright lights can cause you to dine quickly, so you end up finishing off a mega-portion before you have the chance to feel full. For the best lighting over your kitchen table, swap your light switch for a dimmer.
Leave dinner behind.
Food served family-style at the table makes you more likely to take seconds (or thirds). Sidestep that tendency by serving yourself before you sit down and leaving what's left on the counter. Women who plated their food at the counter ate 10% less than those who ate family-style. One exception: Keep salad on the table to eat more healthy greens.