One thing I’ve learned about dieting is that there is a mental element involved. Yes, we fall off the wagon when we use food to soothe negative emotions, but we can trick ourselves in positive ways to stay on track.
Case in point: The picture above. This is a cheese lasagna (made with whole wheat noodles, part-skim mozzarella, fat-free ricotta cheese, and the usual spaghetti sauce and parmesan), grilled sausage, and grilled peppers and onions. In the past, I have incorporated meat into the lasagna, but having it on the side somehow makes it seem like you’re eating more. Add the vegetables on the side for little extra in the calories department, and you have a feast instead of a meal that may have you asking, “Is there more?”
Try it and see if it doesn’t make you feel better about what you’re eating. And then consider coming up with some fake-outs of your own. Some other ones include:
Use smaller plates. Instead of a 10-inch plate, try an 8-inch one instead. Or, you could go with a salad plate instead of an entree-sized one. Doctors recommend smaller plates, because the visual trick can make us think we’re eating more, as opposed to if we put a little bit of food on a large plate.
Try water first over food. Sometimes it’s said that when a person thinks he’s hungry, he may actually be dehydrated instead. If it’s not near time for a meal, try drinking water first, and see if you feel any better. If not, go for a balanced light snack.
Reframe your thoughts on certain foods. I’m more of a salty food person than a sweets person, but I do satisfy my sugar tooth from time to time. The “candy bar” I reach for, though? A Fiber One bar. It’s got chocolate and crunch; what more could I ask for?
If all else fails, try gum. Chew gum after a meal, and it’s a strong signal that eating time’s over. Chew when you’re having cravings, and your mouth may be satisfied by the chewing motion alone.
You get the point. Think about your eating habits, and you may come up with other ideas that keep you on track. Let me know what you dream up!