10 Simple Ways To Eat Less Without Noticing

by | Oct 14, 2013

Photo by Idle Type

What you eat is important, but even healthy food can stop you from losing weight if you eat too much of it.

I never recommend extreme calorie restriction (most people aren’t very good at it anyway), but there are some tricks you can use to slightly reduce the amount of food you eat without feeling deprived, or even really noticing.

Your brain is easily fooled by shifts in perspective. It’s also more responsive to external cues like an empty plate, than internal cues like a full stomach. Understanding these influences can show you how to tilt them in your favor.

In his brilliant book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, Brian Wansink encourages you to use the “mindless margin,” a daily 100-200 calorie buffer zone where your brain doesn’t notice a difference in how much you’ve eaten.

Usually we eat more than we should because of the mindless margin, but you can use the same principles to subtly influence your behavior and mindlessly eat less.

Over time this calorie difference can help you drop weight. It’s slow, but it’s steady. And best of all, it’s painless.

10 Simple Ways To Eat Less Without Noticing

1. Use smaller plates

A full plate sends the signal that you’re eating a full meal and a partially full plate looks like a skimpy meal, regardless of the actual quantity of food.

The same amount of food looks like more on a smaller plate

Using smaller plates and filling them up is a proven way to eat less without noticing.

2. Serve yourself 20% less

The mindless margin is about 20% of any given meal. In other words, you can eat 80% of the food you’d normally eat and probably not notice, so long as no one points it out to you. You could also eat 20% more—not a bad idea if you’re scooping vegetables. If you have those smaller plates mentioned above, serving yourself a little less should be just as satisfying.

3. Use taller glasses

Just like less food looks like more food on a smaller plate, height makes things look larger than width, even when the volumes are the same.

A vertical line looks longer than a horizontal line and tall glasses look bigger than wide ones

You can cut down on your liquid calories by choosing taller glasses rather than shorter, fatter ones.

4. Eat protein for breakfast

People love to hype breakfast eating as a miracle weight loss cure, but only breakfasts high in protein have been proven to suppress appetite and reduce subsequent eating throughout the day. Skip the waffles and head to the omelet station instead.

5. Eat three meals a day

I bet you thought eating many small meals was better than eating three bigger ones throughout the day, but the data tells us otherwise. Though skipping meals can make controlling your appetite more difficult, eating more than three meals a day has not been shown to have any benefit, and may even be worse for appetite control.

Eat when you’re supposed to and you shouldn’t need any extra food.

6. Keep snacks out of sight or out of the building

Study after study have shown that people eat a lot more when is food visible rather than put away where it can’t be seen, even if they know it is there. Research has also demonstrated that the harder food is to get to, even if the extra effort is just removing a lid or walking to the cabinet, the less likely you are to eat it. The extra work forces you to question the value of your action, and this gives you the opportunity to talk yourself out of a decision you may regret later.

To avoid extra snacking keep tempting foods out of sight, or better yet, out of the house. On the flip side, keep healthy foods prominently displayed and easy to reach.

7. Chew thoroughly

Since I’ve been paying more attention to eating speed, I’ve been horrified to observe that most people don’t chew. If you’re one of those guys who chews the minimum number of times before swallowing or shoveling in another fork full, chances are you’re eating substantially more at every meal than your thoroughly chewing peers.

Slow down, chew each bite (counting your chews can help develop the habit) and watch as you fill up faster on fewer calories.

8. Don’t eat from the package

Your stomach can’t count. When you can’t see how much you’re eating you’re more than a little likely to lose track and consume double or even triple the amount you’d eat if you took the time to serve yourself a proper portion. Use a plate, or a bowl, or even a napkin, just make sure you get a good visual of everything you’re going to eat before taking your first bite.

9. Don’t eat in front of the TV

For the vast majority of us, distracted eating is overeating. The end of a show or movie is another powerful cue signifying that a meal is over, so parking in front of the TV with your plate for a Battlestar Galactica marathon is probably not the best idea. With the invention of DVR, there’s no reason you can’t take twenty minutes to sit down and have a proper meal before enjoying your shows.

10. Don’t pay attention to health claims

But wait, isn’t healthy food supposed to be better for you? In theory, yes. But truly healthy food—vegetables, fruits and other unprocessed foods—rarely have labels at all. Instead foods with health claims tend to be processed junk repackaged as better for you alternatives.

Even worse, research from Wansink’s lab has shown that people drastically underestimate the calories in foods with visible health claims on the packaging. People also tend to eat more food overall as a result of this miscalculation. He refers to this effect as the “health halo,” and it’s a recipe for packing on the pounds. For real health, stick to humble foods without labels.

How do you mindlessly eat less?

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Originally published October 3, 2012.

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115 Responses to “10 Simple Ways To Eat Less Without Noticing”

  1. Adam says:

    I’m curious about the “chew your food thoroughly” advice. It seems to me that if one chews one’s food more thoroughly, the food would be easier to digest, and one might get hungry again sooner?

    I’m definitely no expert on this; just wondering.

    • Thoroughly chewing your food gives your brain enough time to respond to the food and send a “full” message.

      • Marie Flores says:

        Thanks Chris… had the same confusion.

      • TJ Baker says:

        I was looking for ” note to self, your stomach doesn’t have taste buds” reminding myself, if you are eating for pleasure, slow down and savor the flavor.

      • Sara Aggetania says:

        Before having children, I was naturally super skinny and tall. With my first pregnancy, my body barely changed, besides for my expanding belly and more voluminous breasts. No stretch marks or weight gain. I ate balanced meals and did cardio. That, + great metabolism! 😀 I gave birth to my amazing, adorable BBG two months ago. Last time, I gained 20 pounds in total. I lost the first ten in the first two weeks, because they were just because of my uterus being enlarged. The next ten took three weeks to lose, and then I looked like a model again. This time, my boobs are saggy from breastfeeding, I have stetchmarks and a stubborn belly pouch. I am depressed because my body was part of my identity. My husband is barely attracted to me anymore. I know this is long but my kids are napping and I need to some advice. Lately, being super busy, I just eat whatever’s available, instead of making myself lemon water and oatmeal açaí bowls. I hate to admit it, but I ate chips for breakfast yesterday. That’s how bad it’s getting. We don’t really have the money for a nutritionist right now…. so Dr. Google is doing her best again. Thanks, summertomato.com for your tips.

      • Audrey says:

        Whoops, finger slip…
        Anyway, what I was saying is that it was me who hated the way I looked. I went nearly 10 years without really looking in a mirror and– God forbid!– no pictures!!! I was depressed for much of that time and felt out of my body. Last year, after the birth of our 4th child, I finally got back on track. It took way too long, but it has been totally worth all the work. I started with my mind, then my body. I have finally gotten close to my pre-kids weight (though I will never, ever have the same body), but more importantly, I lost the mean things I thought about myself.
        Everything about growing a family is hard. You are important. It isn’t always easy to do, but you are worth the effort of caring for yourself.
        I hope that you know that!
        As far as the food goes, I find that a diet of lean proteins (eggs, chicken breast, fish, and plant proteins), along with lots of leafy greens and other veggies works best for me. Snacking is the thing that gets me in trouble, so I try to stay really busy when I’m home (Not hard with 4 little ones!). I do not eat from my children’s plates. EVER! When I have downtime I prep extra meals so that I have healthy things to eat in the moments that I’m starving and don’t have time or willpower to wait for a healthy meal to cook. Also, I try to drink lots of water. Ideally, I drink more water in a day than coffee, but sometimes I mess that up. Although, I have started adding roasted chicory granules to my coffee in an effort to take in less caffeine… we’ll see how it turns out!
        Good luck to you!

    • Carson says:

      From everything I’ve read, chewing more thoroughly leads to better digestion of the food itself (starting with enzymes in the mouth rather than in the stomach), so your body uses it most efficiently and thoroughly. Logically, a body using food optimally wouldn’t get needlessly hungry or lack that satiated feeling.

      But your question is interesting… what IS hunger? Is it from the stomach or brain? Both, I bet.

      • Sam says:

        Yep, makes sense.

        I have never been able to gain the weight I want after much effort and have always mainted a BMI not exceeding 19.

        Looking at my eating habits I do indeed chew food thoroughly and hence take extra long to eat, a full meal always takes me at the very least 20mins which compared to every single one of my friends and family is considerably longer and I am the slimmest.

        So yes, eating food thoroughly bite by bite and eating over a long period should physically prevent you from eating a sizeable amount.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Adam, that’s a good point and there is some data that you absorb more calories from food with more chewing. But you also absorb more nutrients, and every study I’ve seen in free living people suggests more chewing helps satiety and promotes weight loss.

      • Jacqi says:

        I am not so sure if chewing thoroughly works. I seem to eat slower than most of my friends and yet I can eat alot!

      • Alicia says:

        I eat pretty slowly myself, but eating slowly doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re chewing more; it might mean that you talk a lot at the table with family/friends or that you just take your time–I know I’m always finishing last, but I definitely don’t chew as well as I should!

    • Jessica says:

      it does help you digest your food faster and more efficiently. This make you feel fuller faster and LONGER because you body is actually digesting properly instead of just holding it as fat. When your body can digest something properly it is more likely to turn into fat. You may get hungery soon but a nice healthy snack will fix that. Also when your digestive system is working properly you should be eating some SMALL ANS HEALTHY (piece of fruit, handful of carrots) about every 2-3 hrs.

    • Ed says:

      Adam has a point. The basic physiology of hunger is that it involves both your brain and stomach. The stomach act as a sensor that relays signals to the brain that it is empty or full. The brain’s satiety center then responds to the signal. However your brain can be trained at what level of fullness is considered as satisfactory or pleasurable and this results in over eating. In short, it is highly subjective and this article provides tips to trick your brain. It may not work for everyone because of this reason. Studies on diet could be unreliable due to this subjective factor.

      This is a great article. I wish more mainstream media are written like this site.

    • Corinne Alice says:

      Well. That’s a very good. Although that makes a lot of sense, If you are eating faster, you don’t taste as much and have the satisfaction as if you are eating slowly and can taste your food and enjoy it. So you will eat more and more until your taste buds and stomach are satisfied. Or until you realize how much you have consumed.

    • I think the idea here is that the more you chew, you give your brain more time to recognize that it is full. It is similar to the 80% rule, that you push away from the plate when you are 80% full. But when is that? Chew more slowly and you might figure it out! LOL!

    • Rhea Varma says:

      Your brain takes about 20 minutes to realize it’s full. When you chew thoroughly, it takes more time. Even though you digest it faster, you won’t overeat because you’re more aware of when you are actually full, not 20 minutes after you’re full.

    • Yeah it won’t make a difference. When you chew thoroughly, you are focused on your food and only your food. And when you eat slower you will notice your self getting fuller, and will eat less, unlike stuffing your mouth and regretting it 10 minutes later.

    • Nikki Smith says:

      When I gave losing weight a SERIOUS try, I stumbled upon a tip from Dr. Oz and it was to chew each bite at least 35 times before swallowing. He claimed that yes, digestion begins in the mouth (true) and that your saliva and chewing are your tummy’s best friend! He also said that you can really TASTE your food…savor its flavors…ALSO true! Try it and see: it really works 🙂

    • Jo-Anne says:

      I am late to this conversation but I will still add my tuppence worth.

      Try this experiment. Comfortably overfill your mouth, now chew and swallow as usual observing the volume of food during the process. Take exactly the same amount of food again however this time chew it till it is well masticated and observe how much fuller you mouth feels. Longer chewing makes the food is more voluminous. Or you can do the same thing with a slice of bread in a food processor.

      I have caught myself out too many times taking too big a bite, and as a person who does eat slowly and chews well, I then struggle to keep the expanding food nicely contained. I feel like a kid at their first birthday party when it happens.

      As an added bonus the saliva and digestives juices have much more surface area to extract the foods nutrients.

      Google Bliss Point. That is the magic of the junk food industry we can appropriate for ourselves. Observe your enjoyment levels as you eat. The real enjoyment is in the first few mouthfuls of any ‘real’ food and when subsequent bites ‘loose’ their bliss the body is telling us enough. Another experiment to try. Eat a mono meal for a few days and observe your pleasure levels. Over season or under season your food and observe.

      So in my book the brain, the stomach, volume, enjoyment and time all have their place at my table as well as the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of myself. Therefore you could say awareness [consciousness and/or observation] is one of the better weight loss tools around and lack of awareness of any of the above could be the cause of weight gain.

      Note to self: Be kind to yourself and make sure love and awareness are the first two ingredients of every recipe and make sure guilt is never added.

      • Ali says:

        And I am late as well but wanted to add that I really appreciated this comment. Especially the note to self at the end. Great thoughts to have when gathering your food and preparing your meals.

    • Joe says:

      If you chew throughly, then you will be full by eating less food.

    • Elise says:

      When you chew your food more it takes time and it’s better for you to eat slower

    • It takes less than 1/2 hour for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full so chewing thoroughly will take care of this. Liquifying food from several chews will put less strain on the digestive system and more nutrients in the body.

    • Marcelline Miller says:

      I have been an unhealthy eater my whole life pretty much and I have lost weight but then I would gain it back because I want to stress it all the time or just eat because I feel hungry when I’m not. It seems that I can’t stop eating even though I want to. So what should I do?

  2. Josh says:

    And for those ‘hardgainers’ looking to bulk up, do exactly the opposite (except for 4): liquefy 20% more smoothie than you usually consume, pour it into a very wide glass and drink it (without chewing at all) while distracted by a TV show :p

  3. I think another one besides the tricks mentioned above is that when we get that feeling of “hunger” is to take a moment to acknowledge what’s going on. Are we really hungry? None of us know what true hunger really is. When we feel “hunger” we are usually nervous, anxious, depressed, etc and go to food to help make us feel better.

    Taking a look at ourselves on the inside is a great way to help curb our appetites and feel better.

    • Teal says:

      Very good point. Why are we hungry at snack time? I have snack time all the time and I think it’s a mental issue that I need to figure out. My stomach doesn’t necessarily feel hungry but my mind is so over consumed and for slme reason i get hungry. Mabey im sad or anxious or just plane mad but i eat and just feel fat. No better than befor i ate and felt anxious. I just need to collaborate why I am getting these urges to snack so hard all the time. So the next time i feel like snacking I will try asking myself 3 times why I feel like that. In turn it might help me work out threw mental issues I’m having at the same time as curving my bad eating habits.
      Live, Love, God.

    • Lisa says:

      I’ve felt true hunger before. As a kid and as a teenager. At times I would go hours and hours without eating, only to realize I was actually starving way after. Doesn’t happen anymore but it used to, lol. True hunger sucks.

    • Patricia says:

      Yep! This is so me. I find myself eating just out of boredom. Stay at home mom and snacking all the time. Hardly ever feel REAL hunger pangs because of snacking all the time. Really need to work on that! 😉

  4. I try to not have too many snacks in my house – because if it’s there I’ll probably eat it. If I have to drive to the shops, it’s far less of a temptation.

  5. Carson says:

    Any data on the average number of chews for Americans?

    After reading your previous post on slowing down, I’ve made a conscious effort to do so by counting chews. I’m averaging ~20/bite, started at ~5-7/bite. The best part is how much more I *taste* everything, feel the texture, etc. It’s changed some of my cooking methods even.

  6. Greg says:

    Great Post! I totally overlook the importance of PROTEIN in my breakfast meal…this makes so much more sense than just eating coco puffs! 🙂

  7. Jacqui says:

    I love that you posted this! I read Brian Wansink’s book several years ago in college for a food politics course and loved it, definitely tips to keep in mind.

  8. Twenty minutes does not sound like enough time to eat and chew well. I think that someone can be attentive to eating while watching TV. Not only did my family eat while watching TV but we were big readers. So we would also read books while watching TV.

    Some scenes are action packed and need all of your attention. But most TV requires only a small amount of your TV. Of course I am not talking about people watching a football game and consuming all these chips, pizza and stuff as snacks and washing it down with beer.

  9. Justin Adney says:

    When I am bored I often feel hungry, even within an hour after a normal meal. In situations like this I have found that a glass of water is the simplest way to suppress my appetite. Usually I completely forget about food before the glass is empty.

    Another method that I have used recently is a short workout. Even just a few minutes of jumping rope or hitting the punching bag will eliminate my hunger for hours. And you can’t forget the added benefit of burning calories while avoiding an opportunity to over-eat.

    • Jen says:

      Justin you are on to something here. With the exercise supresses apatite. The nights I don’t workout I usually eat an extra snack after dinner. The nights I do workout I am not hungry for an after dinner snack and can skip it completely. I need to do some more research on this.

      • Sean says:

        Im not so sure about that. It does temporarily suppress your hunger but after about 30 minutes to an hour you will have worked up an appetite and it will make you even more hungry. Who knows. Thats just my experience.

    • Phil says:

      I like this idea.

  10. Missy says:

    Try to make all of your food from scratch! This takes a lot more time, but that’s the point. When you have to consider all the effort that goes into your meal, often it’s easier to stir-fry some vegetables or just eat them raw. You’re also eliminating most of the processed foods and hidden calories.

    That’s how my husband and I each lost 30lbs (and counting) after his heart attack… we stopped eating out, stopped buying pre-made food, and I made it all myself using raw ingredients.

    I realize that a lot of people don’t have time for that, but when you consider the travel time and the wait time to get your food at a restaurant, it’s really not that much of a difference. YOU have control to replace your white flour with wheat flour, to use palm oil instead of shortening, or applesauce instead of all the oil. And you gain an incredible sense of pride over your meal, and for taking charge of your health.

    • Dee says:

      Totally agree!

    • Bobbie says:

      Oooh. No palm oil! Palm oil is saturated fat. Just like coconut oil. Saturated fat is evil.

      • k says:

        Saturated fats are NOT evil.. The evil thing about palm oil is the growing/processing of it and how much land is being destroyed for monocropping. Virgin coconut oil is a super healthy substitute, and people should just stop eating wheat altogether. It’s unnecessarily messed with and processed to the point where it doesn’t even resemble what it started out as.

        I appreciate the original OP’s idea to make things from scratch: the less processed, the better… but I would look at better subs that what she suggested.


      • Jo-Anne says:

        Bobbie, Bobbie, Bobbie food is food. No matter what ‘they’ say it isn’t Benevolent or Evil. Take the superlatives, and evangelising, off of your plate.

        If you are game, read The Gluten Lie.


      • Jo-Anne says:

        Bobbie food is food. No matter what ‘they’ say it isn’t Benevolent or Evil. Take the adjectives, superlatives, and evangelising, off of your plate.

        If you are game, read The Gluten Lie.


    • Sean says:

      Thats good advice. For me, over the years I have replaced all of my drinks with just pure water. It can help you lose weight faster and can suppress your hunger. Soon it became a habit, and I have lost 35 ibs within 2 months.

  11. Alicia says:

    My family’s tricks are: always drink a tall glass of water a half hour before a meal and put your fork down between each bite, since if you have a fork in your hand, you want to put it to good use, but if you don’t you can focus just on chewing your food.

  12. Molly says:

    I’ve been eating my meals in courses, using small plates. When I see three plates, I feel like I’m eating lots more.
    I’ve also started eating cheese as a course, by it’s self, on a tiny plate, at the end of a meal like a dessert. I end up eating 1T of really good stuff instead of using it like a condiment.
    Even if it’s a food you don’t have to chew as much, I try to hold it/process it in my mouth longer, really tasting/feeling it. Another tip I’ve seen is to change the way you cut or serve food. For example, instead of eating a banana out of hand, cut it in half (save the other half) and cut it into smaller slices and put them on a plate. It takes longer to eat 15 slices than a couple big bites…..you taste it more and it slows you down.
    #6 and #9 have really helped me lately…….
    Concentrating on just the food helps slow you down!

  13. rachel says:

    there are other great options to breakfast with protein other than eggs. For those who are vegan or allergic to eggs, a quinoa porridge would make a great option as would oatmeal loaded with nuts/seeds and dried fruit. i love hummus on bagels as an option too.

  14. Joe says:

    Completely agree w/ your 10. And if I ever learn to chew more thoroughly I’ll be ready for sainthood.

    Remember, per your buddy Ferriss, that it’s a good idea to get enough protein in the morning — within 1/2 hour after arising, at about 20 – 30 grams, depending on body size and exercise regimen.

    Obviously there are many tips on this subject, but one in particular that I’d like to point out is to drink a large glass of water before eating. Squeezing some lemon it is better yet. Will help curb appetite, not to mention the hydration.



  15. Nicholas Casteel says:

    I have also found the advice to skip a meal here and there if you are not hungry very helpful. Sometimes we eat just because when our bodies don’t need it. Also I have read that some cultures say eat until you are 75% full and then stop. This is similar to your 20% less rule. My only problem with that rule is when eating I only know when I’m actually full, not when I’m 3/4 full. So, your 20% less is more practical to me personally.

    • Jo-Anne says:

      Nicholas, I agree.

      Skipping or even delaying a meal and waiting till you are hungry is not a bad thing as I believe eating when you are not hungry is tantamount to force feeding.

      Hunger, satiety, bloatedness, thirst, gaging are some of our body’s signals. We can choose to listen, or not.

  16. There’s a lot of great research behind the the Small Plate movement. Smaller plates really is a great way to keep your portion control in check without feeling hungry or deprived. If you’re not sure about it, pick up some smaller paper plates and give it a try for a week!

  17. Thomas says:

    The picture for “A vertical line looks longer than a horizontal line” isn’t helping.
    I took the picture, rotated it by 90° and guess what, the horizontal line seems longer. (probably because the other one is “cut in two” and therefor seems shorter).
    I’m not saying the statement is wrong, but the picture doesn’t proof that in any way.

  18. AJ says:

    Hi, Darya!

    I have a question about this very helpful post on mindful eating. What do you do to determine your meal eating end point? Is it by portion control (e.g. your meal is defined by one plate)? Or by time constraints (e.g. you only eat a well-chewed, slow meal over the course of one hour)? Or by a certain feeling in your stomach? This is something I have struggled with, and as always, I would greatly appreciate your advice.

    • Darya Pino says:

      I just try to eat slowly and stop when I’m 80-90% full. At home I serve myself the amount I would ideally eat, and only go back for more if I’m still hungry. At restaurants this is an essential skill, since they almost always serve you too much. It takes practice, but it comes naturally to me now.

    • Jo-Anne says:

      AJ I read Dr Amanda Sainsbury-Salis’ Don’t Go Hungry Diet and she suggests to grade our hunger and satiety 1 to 4 then try to avoid 1 and 4. For example if you are a little hungry it is 1, if you are ravenous it’s 4, if you could eat much more your satiety is 1 and if you are bloated and almost in a coma it’s 4. Keep within the 2-3 range. Aim to be elegantly satisfied each an every time you eat. I would say that is Darya’s recommendation to eat to 80-90% full.

      • Both Darya’s 80-90% full and the 1-4 scale of Dr Sainsbury-Salis are helpful ways of focusing on not recognising when you’ve eaten enough.

        Many of us have become too used to over-riding or ignoring our hunger and fullness signals.

        You may be interested in a unique scale, the Appetite Pendulum, at [link removed] which helps to monitor hunger and fullness levels at any point to help guide your eating.

      • Sean says:

        So basically eating less than your metabolic rate?

  19. Jay Bird says:

    Choose high-protein waffles instead of the omlettes.

    • Darya Pino says:

      How is adding protein powder to processed food better than real food?

      • Ginny Jo says:

        Darya- How do you feel about a protein shake made with unsweetened almond milk for breakfast? I’m not a fan of eggs and I need something quick & filling in the morning. So I use myolean protein mix. I recently tried a natural plant based, no sugar, wheat, milk, anything protein powder and it was a sister of cardboard. :/ I like protein drinks in the morning because it keeps me full all morning and its simple, only takes me about one minute to throw together. I always make sure to eat a fruit with it and then for dinner I make up with by making something from scratch when I have more time. I have heard mixed reviews on protein powders so I’m trying to figure out if it’s worth substituting or if I should just go with it since it works for me and it’s the only processed thing in my diet.

  20. Jay Bird says:

    I did not suggest adding protein powder in my previous post. Waffles can be made from a number of grains which contain significant amounts of protein.

  21. Great post Darya. A neat trick that works for me is to drink a glass of water before my meals. That way I begin to feel fuller quicker and still get to eat an adequate amount.

  22. Kev says:

    I would also add do not eat in front of your computer as well as the TV. It’s just as distracting!

    • Sean says:

      I dont understand how that is distracting. Can someone explain how eating while even if the tv is off makes you gain weight?

  23. Lauren says:

    Loved this article. 🙂 It’s also mind over matter – Keep yourself active and busy – You won’t even have time to think of food until you are hungry!

  24. Nasim Saberi says:

    I wanted to Reply to Ginny Jo, but I couldn’t. So, I posted here. As a dietitian, I have received similar question, so, I found it useful to let you know that unfortunately, Dislike dairy milk, almond milk is not a great source of protein, and not Ca and Vit D if not fortified. I invite you to check your almond milk nutrition label or have a look at my example of Almond breeze milk. http://www.almondbreeze.com/?navid=329&pid=330. Therefore, if you wish to still use it, you can add nuts or low-fat cheese to your breakfast to boost up the protein content. Good luck

  25. I like this article. It gives me more ideas to present to my Personal Training clients. I have recommended some the basics, especially the “don’t eat from the package” and “not in front of the TV”, (these I preach to my husband and kids as big no-no’s) but not all them. As always, your blog is fantastic, I like to check in to see what is up and wish that my blog were as great as yours! Keep up the good work.

  26. Em says:

    Some good points here! I find that I can’t have too many snacks in the house or I will end up eating everything. The same goes for eating in front of the TV – I’ll easily eat a whole bag of crisps and then be horrified with myself. I often eat on the go as I’m quite a busy person so I found this article quite interesting: http://www.eatbreatheblog.com/healthy-eating-for-busy-people/

  27. Dan Bolton says:

    Great Post, Darya!
    I’ve found number 4 to be so important. Growing up on toast and cereal I really benefited from transitioning to having eggs or protein shakes most mornings. More energy and feeling fuller for longer 🙂

  28. Robert says:

    Excellent article Darya, I have often found myself eating in boredom or have a taste in my mouth. I have tried hard to slow my habits by always having a bottle of water nearby (when on the computer or watching TV) to cleanse my mouth to reduce feeding myself for the sake of having something in my mouth. I especially like the point on eating slowly, it reminds me of something my grandmother used to say. Eat slowly as it can take 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full.
    I am glad I found your site, finding some very interesting and thought provoking articles. Keep up the good work.

  29. Jessy says:

    I like the illustrations here. Smaller plate; ha-ha gotta do it.

  30. lindsay says:

    Does eating slower help at all? Or just eating a smaller plate of food?

  31. ewat says:

    I actually think breakfast is highly overrated in general and learning to not ‘need’ it is quite powerful.

    I’ve been doing a 16/8hr (or more) ‘intermittent fast’ for more than a year now – my goals are mostly strength/muscle gain + fat loss orientated and not generically _weight_ loss and it has worked phenomenally.

    I highly urge people to look into it (there are heaps of resources i won’t bother pasting, but google ‘intermittent fasting for weight loss’ for instance) if you’re looking for one of the easiest ways to ‘eat less’ and reduce all the decision fatigue!

    • Stacey says:

      I would like to comment on ewat; “I actually think breakfast is highly overrated in general and learning to not ‘need’ it is quite powerful.”

      Breakfast is in fact a very important meal and you do ‘need’ it- it not only kick starts your metabolism and prevents the body from entering the’starvation’ storage mode, but it is also where the majority of the population get their intake of fibre and calcium from. Studies also show that you are more likely to consume more calories/kilojoules over the day if you skip breakfast.
      I hope these few points show just how important breakfast is to consume regularly.

      • Jo-Anne says:

        Stacey you may be right or ewat may be right however remember even the ‘experts’ including scientists do not know what is right because more research is needed before they can say anything is absolute and a true scientist will say that. It’s the media, authors and readers that cherry pick the data to fit their belief system and then spread the word/half truth/lie. Absolutely? The research is in…no one really knows.

        Henry Ford ~ “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right.”

        In the fairytale, once upon a time, we used to fit the clothes to the body now we traumatise ourselves trying to fit our body into the ‘ideal’ sized clothes. The 1950’s doctor would tell his plump patient to eat less, or to move more and occasionally the plumpest would be told to eat less And move more. When did it get so complicated…

        Breakfast is the most important meal. Eat three meals two snacks. Eat only three meals. Eat once a day. Eat two meals a day. Eat every *insert preferred number here* hours. Eat only in the daylight hours. Eat more, or less, *insert chosen macro/micronutrient here*. Eat to the seasons. Feast. Fast. Avoid the sun. Get out in the sun. Exercise hard. Exercise not so hard. Exercise every day. Exercise *insert preferred proven number here* days a week. Eat this liquid. Eat only real food. Eat clean food. Eat the dirt on the real food. Kill the bacteria. Eat the bacteria. Et cetera! Et cetera! Et cetera!



        Listen, really listen, to your body, it is the ‘expert’ of you, and you are the total sum of all that you have done/thought/felt till now. All the rest is helpful guidance, till it isn’t.

        Please note: This rant is more for me than you as I am a work in progress now undoing all the damage the food rules I have taken on as gospel over the decades. Scary. I am eating like there are no rules, no ‘illegal’ food and yes, I have put on weight but I feel better for it and I truly believe that my body and I are open a healthy communication which will lead to a perfect [for me] weight not some arbitrary, idealised number.

        To misquote Michael Pollan: eat that carb, not too much; eat that fat, not too much; eat that frankenfood, not too much; just eat that, not too much.

        End rant…

  32. Noriah says:

    Oh Darya!! Where have you been all my life?!?!?!?!


  33. Clara says:

    Hi! When I don’t feel like eating a lot of healthy salad for example, I trick myself into doing it anyway by eating in front of the TV or while reading. Of course it would be better to eat it mindfully but at least in this way I get my stomach full of healthy stuff… If you do this before eating the more fattening parts of your meal (best with the TV turned off), you’re already quite full so won’t eat as much of them.

  34. Derek says:

    Great tips here!

    However, the tips here doesn’t cover the importance of remaining hydrated, specifically drinking water throughout the day. We should be drinking about 1/2 the volume of our weight. For example, if a person weighs 180 lbs, then the person should be drinking about 90 fl oz of water per day. Also, drinking 1 or 2 glasses of water 15 minutes before you consume your meal may also help. Sometimes our brain and stomach can’t distinguish between hunger and thirst. We could be thirst instead of hungry. 🙂

    Further, for the important breakfast meal, while proteins is very good, but it should also have a good balance of complex carbohydrates, like oatmeal, etc.

    Thanks again for these tips.

    • sam says:

      I can tell you from experience, chewing fast, makes you eat more and your brain doesnt get the signal right away that your full. But after say “20” minutes if eating say more food (double plate instead of one), then your going to feel full and almost cant have enough oxygen to breath, sometimes. However, eating one plate and chewing /eating in small bites (watching tv or not , doesnt matter), as long its about 20 minutes or more or until you feel full, your brain will let you know. Honestly, 20 minute rule was the general study found that people were feeling full. However, if you eat one small plate, take your time to rither chew or eat in smal bits and slowly or simply space out your small bits your eatinf say 30 seconds to a minute, watching tv or not), you will reach fullneas, whther its 20 minutes or less. Your tummy can only digest/take a certain anount. If your big guy, you may eat more and might require longer then 20 minutes, but your not gaining weight mind you, its just your body requires more calories then others depending on your weight/height and activity level. I hope that clears out many questions. Feel free to express otherwise 🙂

  35. emily says:

    Great article! I’ve been trying to eat less and move more since January (new years resolution still going strong!) I use smaller plates and taller cups now and I’ve lost 12 lbs so far, and I’ve realized that for myself, I don’t need breakfast.

    I’m never actually hungry before noon and I was only eating those 200-300 extra calories because I was taught my whole life you “have to” eat breakfast to be healthy. You don’t. I wake up and have 4-6 cups of water and 1-2 cups of black coffee. Sometimes I’ll have one piece of fruit if I feel like it, but I usually don’t.

    I don’t eat my first meal until noon, and my last meal is around 8pm and I’m never hungry throughout the day. I never feel the need to snack.

  36. Great article for anyone trying to maintain or lose weight.

  37. AJ says:

    Hi, Darya! I love this post and topic. What advice do you have for the situation when one practices mindful eating, employing strategies such as thorough chewing, taking smaller bites, and listening to relaxing music, but then feels unsatiated at the end of a meal. It’s difficult sometimes for me to know if I am hungry for more because I “need” more food or if I just want more food because it’s so delicious.

    Do you set a portion meal size for yourself? How does one know when he or she is “done”?

    • Darya Rose says:

      Great question. For me this is something I learned through trial and error. The slower I was able to eat, the more I’m aware what stage of fullness my body is in. In the past it was possible for me to eat comfortably past the point of fullness, and I wouldn’t realize it until later (with a stomach ache). Similarly, if I stop eating because I think I probably don’t need any more food, then I’m hungry 1-2 hours later, I know I didn’t eat enough. The sweet spot is a feeling, and I can’t tell you how it feels for you. But you can figure it out for yourself by eating slowly, paying attention, and learning from your mistakes.

      I think I’m going to turn this into a blog post 🙂

  38. Mina says:

    I know you aren’t supposed to do other things while you are mindfully eating, but it seems like if I don’t have something to distract myself, I end up scarfing my food down because I feel like I’m wasting time. If I’m reading a book or writing, there’s a lot more time in between bites, and therefore I don’t eat as much. I think if you portion your food correctly, you can certainly do other things while you’re eating. It may even help some people, depending on how your brain works.

  39. John says:

    very nice post and Thank your for the tips to keep a healthy weight. I totally agree with number 10, as those health claims are so confusing. One day they will say coffee is good for heart, half an year later, they will say coffee is no good for you. I think just use common sense and go with nature food is the best practice to keep healthy.

  40. Xavier says:

    Hey Darya!

    Great article as always, I’m going to look into a few of these myself to hopefully eat less and really try to chew more.

    Just noticed a typo in the last paragraph:

    10. Don’t pay attention to health claims

    But wait, isn’t healthy food supposed to be better for you? In theory, yes. But truly healthy food—vegetables, fruits an other unprocessed foods—rarely have labels at all. Instead foods

    Love reading your posts and hope you keep bringing us some great content! When’s your next book coming out? 🙂

  41. Bob says:

    Thanks for your posts. Bookmarked several for future meal planning. You have great ideas.

  42. Olga says:


    According Ayurveda proteins are not digested until 12:00, so there is no point to eat them on breakfast. The rest points are very interesting!

  43. RealTawk says:

    Eating more often throughout the day is huge. Not only does it keep your metabolism going but it also helps to curb your appetite and get away from those cravings.

    Ps: Use square plates, it makes me feel fancy.

  44. I use a number of these tips and they do work. I’ve found that there is no need to limit how much you eat though when trying to lose weight, provided you eat the right things. In fact, I think it’s counter productive to eat less when you’re trying to lose weight.

  45. Marie Flores says:

    Hi Daria

    Would you please suggest me some easy-healthy-protein breakfasts??

  46. It is also better to put the digital devices away. Your brain performs better when doing one thing at a time. You should also reflect on what you want the food to do for you before you start eating. Do also remember that eating animal flesh would hunt you more ways than one.

  47. I think tip 6 is the best. If you keep snack foot out of the house then you cant have that midnight stack that kills all of your progress. These are all really good tips though!

  48. Marina says:

    Wow I agree with all of that! Very good advice for anyone trying to loose weight

  49. diet sehat says:

    I totally agree, especially for the first point, to eat using a smaller plate is helpful to control my appetite, which is sometimes unbearable.

    what do you think about eating eggs as a source of protein for breakfast?

  50. N E says:

    Don’t people sometimes just want to chew something instead of actually eating. Sometimes I like to eat carrots not because I’m hungry but because it feels good in my mouth. Just wondering.☺☺😊

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