A number of recent studies have revealed how making several small lifestyle changes could help you lose weight without feeling deprived of the food you like.
Use a smaller plate
A Cornell University study found that when a fixed portion of food was eaten from a large plate, subjects felt they had been give a smaller than average portion, so ate more. When the same portion of food was eaten from a smaller dish, the meal seemed more substantial, so people ate less.
Use a bigger fork
An Italian study into the relationship between fork size and consumption found that diners who used smaller forks ate more than those given larger forks. Researchers believe those with smaller forks felt they were making slower progress in satisfying their hunger, so ate more.
Women should eat with men
According to psychologist Meredith Young, women eat less if there are men around. She told The Atlantic: “It is possible that small food portions signal attractiveness.”
Read the labels
Those who read nutrition labels on food packaging eat around 5% less fat than those who don’t bother, according to researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
Drink water before meals
A 12-week study of 48 people aged between 55 and 75 on low-calorie diets found that those who drank two glasses of water before each meal lost an average of 4.5lb more than those that didn’t.
Avoid light at night
This includes late-night television and computer use. A study into the effects of bright light, dim light or darkness on weight-gain in mice found that those under a bright light at night gained 50% more weight than those in darkness.
Hide unhealthy treats
Keep healthy snacks in sight. Office workers ate less chocolate when dishes of candy were moved from their desks to the other side of the room, reveals a study by Mindless Eating author Brian Wansink.
The same trick can be reversed to positive effect. A Cornell University study found that when a middle school cafeteria salad bar was moved to a more prominent position, consumption of some items increased by 250-300% in a year.
Be careful around friends
Children eat more with a friend than with a stranger, according to a study at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Researchers said that this trend, which applies to adults too, can be blamed on the fact that friends act as so-called permission-givers, and encourage one to indulge.
Beware of skinny friends who eat a lot
Worse still, are thin friends who have large appetites. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that participants snacked more during a movie when accompanied by a skinny person who ate a lot, compared with those sitting next to a fat person who ate a lot.
Avoid advertisements for exercise
A University of Illinois study revealed that participants who were shown advertisements encouraging exercise ate more than those who weren’t. The same was true of participants exposed to subliminal words relating to exercise during mealtimes.