Many people sabotage their own diets without even realizing it.  One of the best ways to lose weight is to reduce the number of calories that we eat daily.  This makes sense; creating a calorie deficit forces the body to burn through its energy stores of fat, and that causes us to lose extra weight.  But even when we think we are eating less, we often are not.  

The answer is to trick yourself into eating differently.  By changing a few things in your daily eating habits, you can reduce your food intake enough to make a difference in your weight, but not so much that you will end up going hungry.  

Try the following stealth tips to eat less and lose weight.

1.  Use a smaller plate.  The size of our plate directly affects how much we eat.  Research studies have shown that people who serve themselves on a large plate eat more than people who serve themselves on a small plate.  Less food looks like more when it is on a big plate, and after you eat you will be visually satisfied as well as comfortably satiated.  

2.  Don’t eat out of the bag or box.  In food testing studies, participants who were given a large container of food ate more than those who were given a small container.   For example, if you have an extra-large bucket of popcorn at the movie theater, you will eat more than if you had a smaller, premeasured serving.  Premeasure your chips, crackers or other snacks out into a separate dish rather than eating out of the original bag so you do not over eat.

3.  Eat slowly.  That feeling of fullness that you notice at the end of a meal comes about twenty minutes after you are actually full.  Once your stomach has reached capacity, it sends a signal to your brain, but this signal takes twenty minutes for the signal to get through.  If you are eating fast, you will overeat for twenty minutes beyond the time that you are full!  You can pack in a lot of extra and unwanted calories into that twenty minute period.  The solution is simple:  eat slowly so that you do not eat too much food beyond the point that you are actually satiated.

 4.  Eat frequently.   We tend to make our worst eating mistakes when we are very hungry.  If we have gone very long without food, it is hard to make rational decisions about what to eat:  we will just eat whatever is handy—like the food at the nearest drive-through or that old pizza in the fridge at work.  The secret is to never let yourself get very hungry.  Divide your daily food into five or six meals.  By eating every two or three hours, you will never let yourself get so hungry that you lose your willpower.

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