1. Give Yourself Ample Time to Eat
Why: People who say they eat quickly right up until they feel full are three times more likely to be overweight than those with slower dining habits, according to a 2008 study published in The British Medical Journal. In an irritating tribute to something your mother probably told you, researchers suspect that fast eaters don’t give the brain’s fullness signals time to kick in, which can take as long as 20 minutes after the first bite, according to research.
How to do it: Check the clock before you start eating, even if you’re having a meal on the go or while working at your desk (never an ideal way to eat, but often a necessary evil). Then stretch that meal out for at least 20 minutes. If you’re still hungry after finishing, take a 20-minute time-out (sip tea; relax; take your mind off eating). At the end of the time-out, check your hunger signals. Go back for seconds only if the signals are still strong. Other smart ideas: Be sure to sit down for meals―don’t stand or walk around―and take small bites, chewing each thoroughly. Researchers at Cornell University found that people who chew their food approximately 15 times, versus 12, tend to be thinner. That’s how much impact these subtle changes can have.