The link between our brains and our stomachs is so clear that scientists are experimenting with lasers in an attempt to control certain areas of the brain to harness hunger. While experiments have been successful with mice, it’s unlikely that the anti-hunger laser beam is going to be coming to a store near you anytime soon.
This means we have to use our minds in other ways if we struggle to control our cravings. Most of the tips and tricks below involve a change in your environment, sometimes just a simple adjustment can make all the difference.
1. Use a smaller plate
A trick rumoured to be used by Victoria Beckham, psychologists back this theory that eating from a smaller plate encourages you to eat less. One study found that when children were given a 16-ounce cereal bowl they were more likely to have a second helping than those given a bowl half the size.
2. Change the colour of your plate
Studies have shown that the higher the contrast between the colour of the food you’re eating and the colour of the plate you’re eating it from, the less you are likely to eat. Try to get a set of light-coloured plates and a set of dark-coloured plates and ensure the food you are eating contrasts with the colour of the plate.
3. Eat at the table
While eating in front of the TV is convenient, it is doing nothing for our waistlines. Eating at the table helps you mentally focus on what you’re eating, and helps your brain recognise when your stomach is full.
4. Don’t eat from the pack
By portioning out your food from the pack onto a plate, you will be faced with exactly how much you are eating. This should help you from devouring that family sized packet of crisps…
5. Slow down and stop eating when you’re full
It often takes your brain some time to recognise when it’s full (experts say it can take 20 minutes) so by eating slower and more mindfully, you will recognise when you’re full before it’s too late. The next step is to ensure you stop eating when you’re full – even if that means leaving something on the plate. Save it for a leftover meal the following day if you’re worried about wasting food. Eventually you will get to know how much food you need per meal, which will stop you serving too much.
For some people eating can become more than just a habit and can turn into a full-blown addiction. To find out how hypnotherapy can help reprogramme the brain to overcome these habits and addictions, please see our Food Addiction and Weight Loss pages.
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