Losing weight, or keeping your weight in check, is about playing the long game. You watch what you eat, you exercise regularly, and you get plenty of sleep, rinse and repeat ad infinitum with the occasional cheat day where you gorge on an 18 in. pizza that is basically a giant grease disc. The point is that there are no shortcuts, no easy answers; no clever little tricks that make this process go any faster.
However, there are other avenues that will at least help. While the following tips, tricks, and heads up are no replacement for just living healthy, they do make the ride go by smoother. So if you’re a man over 25 in need of weight loss, or just want to keep the weight you have now, here are some helpful tips on how to do exactly that.
#1. Cut up your food when you eat it
Here’s an interesting bit of psychology for you; we’re, on average, more likely to eat an entire piece of food if it’s completely intact than we are if the food is cut up into smaller bites. Even if we cut the food up while we’re eating it, if it arrives in front of us completely intact, we’re more likely to wolf down the whole thing.
The trick is to cut the entire thing into smaller bites before you put a single piece into your mouth. You’ll also be less likely to try more food later. This is because when the food is in bites, each bite feels more satisfying, and thus we are more capable of portion control as we eat. Isn’t tricking the human brain fun?
#2. Brush or floss after a meal
You ever notice how when you brush and floss in the morning before you have breakfast, you’re less inclined to have a meal immediately afterward? After all, you just cleaned your teeth, so it’d be a waste to do so. This is what you should do after every meal. Brushing and flossing psychologically tells us not to eat immediately after, especially if we’ve already eaten just before, because our teeth are clean and you shouldn’t dirty them right after. Now, while you’re cleaning the kitchen, you’ll be more able to resist that cake sitting there on the counter, or those chips in the pantry.
#3. Wait before you have seconds
When you’re full, it actually can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to register that, indeed, your stomach is packed to the brim. So if you’ve just downed a truly delicious meal, and you feel like having seconds, take about 20 minutes, have a glass of water, and then see if you feel like eating still. Chances are that you won’t, because now your brain has had time to check, and has registered that you are full and shouldn’t eat anymore. And even if you do, you should have a much smaller serving than last time.
#4. Switch to wrapped candy
More tricking your brain for fun and health! Even the staunchest dieter can’t say no to the allure of sweets forever. However, you still shouldn’t eat too much, so stick to wrapped candy. Unbelievably, that small, extra effort of unwrapping the candy before you eat it helps to pace yourself. It gives you that extra little bit of time to say, “You know, I think I’ve had enough.” So next time your cheat day rolls around, and you want some sweets, get yourself some wrapped candy so that you can still enjoy your sweets, while still managing to stop yourself from overdoing it.
#5. Learn how to use chopsticks
When losing weight, knowing how to use chopsticks can be a valuable tool. Chopsticks demand more dexterity from your hand than a fork, and can only take up small bites at one time. This forces you to slow down and not eat as fast. The only ones who can eat with chopsticks with any kind of real speed are those who have done so their entire lives. If that does not describe you, then this is a great way to pace yourself when eating food.
#6. Set a kitchen schedule
This may be hard to keep to, but with enough diligence, this is a great way to keep from over eating. This practice is also known as “closing your kitchen,” since you set a certain time when you’re allowed to go in and cook/eat something, thus all other times your “kitchen is closed.” For example, say you have a nasty habit of snacking in the middle of the night. Well, “close” your kitchen at 8, thus training yourself that you cannot have food after that time has passed. Now granted, this is a lot easier to pull off if you have a roommate or significant other who will help you keep to this, but enough diligence can help you do it on your own.
#7. Have fewer treats in the house
All the willpower in the world won’t mean much when you have to walk by the kitchen and a juicy, scrumptious apple pie sitting right on top of the counter. Determination will always falter in the wake of your almighty sweet tooth, so you’re better off just removing the problem entirely. After all, you can’t gorge yourself on sweets, if you have no sweets. Save sweet foods for special occasions, and make sure that you have no sweets in the house, so if you do want some ice cream, you’ll have to take into account that you’ll have to get dressed, get in the car, and drive to get it. That extra effort, unless you are really in the mood for some ice cream, will go a long way to deterring you from cheating on your diet.
These efforts may seem small, but they can be a big help in deterring you from straying off the path of weight loss. They won’t necessarily make it noticeably faster, but the proverbial train will run faster, rest assured.