21 Ways to Make Your Diet 100% Easier
Craving Cut-Downs, Taste-Bud Distractions
17. Brush It Off
Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth right after you have a meal or a snack to quell the urge to keep nibbling. "It's both a physical and a psychological signal to your body that you're done eating," says Blatner.
18. Name That Craving
"One reason women overeat is that they don't hit their food craving right on the head -- they keep bingeing until they're finally satisfied," explains Blatner. Ask yourself what you really want: Salty? Sweet? Smooth? Crunchy? "Food cravings can be broken down into four categories," says Blatner. "If you are craving sweet and crunchy, try a mini bag of popcorn mixed with a little bit of artificial sweetener or even sugar. If you want sweet and creamy, opt for a light vanilla yogurt. If you're thinking about something salty and smooth, try a couple of pieces of low-fat string cheese; if you really want salty and crunchy, try a handful of dry-roasted nuts or soy nuts."
19. Fill Your Glass
Optimists are more likely to eat fiber-rich foods such as fresh veggies, salad, and fruit, and less likely to be overweight, according to a Finnish study published in the journal Appetite. "Eating right and exercising seems to be second nature for them," explains Bruce Rabin, MD, PhD, medical director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Healthy Lifestyle Program. Happily, it is possible to shake away your pessimism. "The next time a negative thought pops into your head, force yourself to come up with something positive to replace it," says Dr. Rabin. If you practice this often enough, it will eventually become an automatic response.
20. K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple, Sweetie!)
People who eat a variety of foods, even low-fat ones, are more likely to have trouble keeping weight off than those who rely on a few diet staples, according to a National Weight Control Registry study published last May. "When people have a wide range of foods in front of them, they generally eat more," explains study author Holly Raynor, PhD, RD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School/the Miriam Hospital. The study showed that the most successful weight losers consistently consume just three to five staples from each food group, switching them around occasionally to prevent boredom.
21. Distract Your Taste Buds
Visions of Godiva flooding your head? Before you rush out to buy a box, try deflecting your attention. New research from Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, has found that the more vivid your mental image of a particular food, the more likely you are to crave it. But there's plenty you can do to tone down those visual cues. Researchers found that randomly flicking through images on a computer screen or, to a lesser extent, listening to a speech in a foreign language, was enough to distract students from their food cravings. Anything that engages both your eyes and your mind -- like playing Sudoku -- should help, say researchers.
Originally published in Fitness magazine, May 2006.
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