Choosing what foods go on your plate isn’t any more important than how you eat them. In fact, focusing on the food in front of you and avoiding distractions—aka eating mindfully—is a growing trend that can help you lose weight without much effort.
And this life hack is definitely gaining traction: 49 percent of RDs say that consumers will choose mindful eating over dieting, a national survey found. To help you adopt a more thoughtful approach to mealtime, we spoke to Susan Albers, PsyD, food psychologist, and clinician about simple mindfulness tricks to eat less. Try her genius tips to help you cut calories, lose weight fast, and enjoy your meals more.
Shut off Devices
Think about how many times you found yourself scrolling through social media feeds during supper. “A recent study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that people who bring their phones to the dinner table use them for about 11 percent of the meal,” Albers shares via email. “Plus, those who used their phones during mealtime rated the meal less pleasurable and were distracted while they ate. Distracted eating = mindless eating. Instead of allowing your cell to become your dining companion, create a drop box for phones at meal times.”
“Staying up late affects sleep patterns. Missing one hour of sleep can make you hungrier the next day,” Albers explains. In fact, a study published in the journal Sleep discovered that folks who didn’t sleep the recommended seven to eight hours per night were more at risk for weight gain. “Set a firm bedtime and turn off the TV to help you avoid mindless eating the next day.”
Take a Seat
“It sounds simple enough, but think about how often you eat in front of the refrigerator or on-the-go. A recent study found that people ate five percent more while walking around. Eating at the kitchen table can feel obsolete in a busy world; but, sitting at the table helps you focus on your food and be more mindful of your portions. Use the motto, ‘always eat off your feet!'”
Swap Your Plates
“How many meals do you eat directly out of the bag? Plates matters! Research indicates between red, blue, and white plates, we eat the least when using red surfaces. Using a red plate can be helpful because the color red may signal your brain to stop eating.”
Eat With Your Non-dominant Hand
It may feel awkward at first, but switching your spoon to your non-dominant hand can help you save calories during mealtime. “Research shows that people consume 30 percent less food when they eat with the opposite hand. Your motto should be ‘pace, don’t race,'” Albers advises.