Take Control of Your Eating Habits

Social eating, mindless snacking, and a clean plate mentality are just a few of the psychological factors behind our eating habits. We covered how these affect our daily eating habits in yesterday's post. Today We are going to look at steps we can take to better control our eating.

The three main controlling your eating are controlling portion sizes, controlling snacking habits, and how to limit and make healthier choices when eating out

How to Control Eating and Portion Sizes

I strongly believe that is is one of the most important factors to controlling your weight. It's easy to over estimate the number of calories you consume with today's portion size mentality. ​And since many of us have a mentality to clean our plates, portion control becomes even more important. 

1. Use Smaller Dishes and Utensils ​

I touched on this yesterday, to summarize... smaller plates and dishes will help you serve yourself less and eat less food.

This doesn't mean that you need to go replace your whole kitchen, simply adding a few smaller bowls and plates can do the trick. If you are on a budget you can get a 21 day portion control kit from Amazon for less than $9! This is a great starting point to learn how to control your portions. ​

If you don't have control over plates sizes (college cafeteria) there is a sneaky trick I use to limit the amount of food I put on my plate. The first thing you should do after grabbing a plate is fill up half of with with veggies/ salad. Not only will you get a good serving of nutritious veggies but you limit the amount of space you have of higher calorie foods. 

Related: Best Meal Replacement Shake for Women's Weight Loss​

2. Separate Serving Dishes​

It's easy to grab another spoonful of cheesy potatoes when it's right in front of you. Leave all serving dishes in the kitchen. This was you are less tempted to fill your plate with second helpings. It makes getting more food less easy.

Now you have to actively make the decision to get up and get more food rather than mindlessly reaching for what already in front of you. 

Another good practice is to use smaller serving spoons. This makes it harder to over load your plate. ​

3. Slow Down

Ever start eating and all of a sudden you look down and wonder where all your food went? You quickly eat only to realize with your last bite that you over ate? I've been there!

It takes your body about 20 minutes to process and single that it is full. If you eat in less than 20 minutes you can easily eat more than your stomach needs and find yourself uncomfortably full. ​

Related: Best Hunger Controlling Nutritional Shake​

It can be difficult to slow down and there are few things you can do to make it easier. If you are eating with someone make sure to take breaks and talk to the person. Have a conversation. Eating in a group can also be a good way to pace yourself. Aim to be the last person to finish your meal. 

A couple tricks that have helped me is that I make sure to have plenty of water to drink with my meal. I actively remind myself to put my food down and get a good drink of water. ​Another trick is I count the number of times I chew my food. If you chew 10-15 time before you swallow you'll end up eating slower. You will also make it easier for your body to digest the food. 

How to Control Snacking

Snacking can easily end up being the biggest source of your daily calorie intake. A quick bite here and there add up quicker than you think. 

1. Hide Your Snacks​

Out of sight can become out of mind. If you have a cookie jar that sits on top of your kitchen counter, now is the time to put it away.  

The easiest way to control your snacks is to make the decision at the grocery store. What you don't buy you won't end up eating. The store are where eating habits will be determined. ​

If you still buy snacks hide them in the back of your pantry. Make the healthy snacks easier to access and the junk food more difficult to reach. ​

Related: Best Food to Eat for Weight Loss​

2. Don't Eat From the Bag

Whatever you do, do not eat straight from the bag. It's impossible to keep track of how much you ate and you'll end up eating way more than you originally planned.

Instead get a small plate of bowl and determine exactly how much you are going to eat. Than completely put the rest of the bag away. ​Do your best not to go back for refills. If you do find yourself going back, get a new plate. Having a separate plate will give you a reminder of how much you've eaten so far. 

3. Swap Snacks

You don't have to completely stop snacking to control your weight. You can keep on snacking but swap out your unhealthy snacks with healthier options. For example, instead of chips make some air-popped popcorn (no butter). ​Carrots with hummus is also a great option. 

Related: Control Cravings with the 21 Day Sugar Detox​

Even healthy options are bad for you if you eat too much. Low calorie snack can become high calorie if you eat enough. So keep track of your snacking and calories. Apples with peanut butter is another healthy, high protein snack that is good for you in moderation. ​

How to Control Eating Out

Any social gathering is almost always intertwined with food and drinks. I love to eat out. No cooking or clean up required and the options are endless. However, eating out too often and making poor decisions can cause you to gain weight and spend lots of money. Bad for your weight and your wallet. 

You don't have control of potion sizes and restaurants try to get you to order as much food and drinks as they can. This doesn't mean that you need to give up eating out, just do it smartly. 

1. Meal Plan

I often found myself getting fast food for lunch at work or on the way home. Why? I was in a hurry or too lazy to make food after a long day at work. The solution? meal prep. Preparing your meals in advance will make it easier to avoid fast food restaurants. You can plan out meals and make them on the weekend when you have more time and energy. The variety is totally up to you! 

2. Track Your Expanses 

You might be spending more money on eating out and going out for drinks than you realize. Download a app that can help you budget and track the amount of money you spend on eating out. The total amount along might be motivation enough to reduce the amount of times you eat out. 

3. Portion Control

Restaurants are horrible at portion sizes. They will give you way more food than you should be eating in one sitting. The best way to solve this is to only allow yourself to eat half of the food. Take the rest of your food to go. This will help control the amount you eat and you won't end up over eating. 

Hopefully these tips will help you get better control of your eating habits and make eating a better experience for your waistline!