7 Mental Tricks That Shed Pounds
Think about how often you eat food that you don't even want: the free cookie that came with your sandwich; the second helping of paella you accepted just to be polite; the unsatisfying fat-free ice cream that you kept dipping into each night because you didn't want to waste it. The trouble with such rationalizations is that they can add up to extra pounds. "These examples can total about 600 additional calories a day -- enough to cause a moderately active woman to gain five pounds a month if she doesn't burn them off," says Milton Stokes, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Here are the most common leaps in food logic and the simple attitude adjustments that will keep your diet -- and your weight -- in check.THE LOGIC behind "It's Free!": When food's up for grabs, I might as well grab some!
Freebies are everywhere, from samples at the market to bagels in the morning meeting. But just one sesame-with-cream-cheese will set you back almost 500 calories. And that's not the only reason to refuse it: Research shows that you're likely to perceive free food as less tasty (so you're not even really enjoying it). Plus, you're unlikely to compensate for the additional calories by eating less the rest of the day, says Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. "In our brains, free food isn't coded as a meal but as a surprise that we don't need to enter into our daily calorie count," he explains. So even if the giveaway grub is mediocre at best, you keep eating, since it's not like you're paying for it -- not in cash anyway.
Change your mind: When faced with a tempting handout, ask yourself, "If it weren't free, would I stop and buy it?" Anything not worth your hard-earned dollars or even cents isn't worth the added pounds either.
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