8. One more great snack option: nuts in their shell. The truth is, compulsive eating is often about boredom, stress, and other non-food issues. The great thing about nuts is that the effort to crack the shells and extract the nut meat without breaking it is highly therapeutic and distracting. In addition, nuts are very healthy to eat (in moderation). Choose walnuts, almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, or hazelnuts. It’s too easy to open and overindulge in peanuts and pistachios. The only drawback to this snack is the mess the shells make. Be sure to have a bowl to put shells in as you go.
9. If you need to retrain your appetite, start out by eating out. Restaurants have a reputation for rich food and large portions, but if you’ve been eating with wild abandon, you can go to a restaurant, ask the waiter to bring you half the normal portion, eat it, feel satisfied, and leave. Then there are no kids’ plates to clean off or leftover mashed potatoes singing to you from the fridge, notes Victoria Moran, author of Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body and Revitalize Your Spirit. After a few days of this, you’ll be in the swing of eating regular meals and you can eat at home without overdoing it. Just avoid restaurants that offer all-you-can-eat buffets, the option of “supersizing,” or those known for huge portions. Otherwise, the whole point of this exercise is moot!
10. Get picky. Moms complain about children who are finicky eaters, but you’re not a child, and you owe it to yourself to be a bit persnickety when it comes to what goes into your mouth. As a rule of thumb: If it doesn’t look good, don’t eat it. Watch naturally thin people: You won’t see them scarfing down wilted lettuce, or what’s left in the bowl when the soup’s gotten cold. Follow their example.
11. Get into the habit of ordering the small size. There’s no need to feel deprived. Today’s small was the medium or large just a few decades back. Eat (or sip) slowly. Savor the flavors. Before long, small will feel just right. Besides, remember that ordering the small size leads to wearing the small size.
12. Always choose the best from what’s available. Sometimes you’ll have lots of great choices — at a farmers’ market, let’s say, or a restaurant that caters to people interested in their health. Other times you’ll be on an interstate and have to choose from three fast-food places. Either way, if you pick the best in your current situation — a combination of what’s most nutritious, most attractive, the right price, and simply what you have a hankering for right now — you’ll find yourself lean and healthy in the long run.
13. Always allow a half-hour between your last bite of dinner and dessert. This gives your brain time to get the fullness signal and, most likely, will make it easier to skip the sweet stuff, notes Susie Galvez, author of Weight Loss Wisdom: 365 Successful Dieting Tips.
14. Only eat portions the size of the palm of your hand. Any more will be considered overeating.
15. Always put what you’re eating on a plate or in a bowl. Never eat out of a bag, carton, or box.
16. Eat a healthy snack before going out to eat. It will help you avoid the tempting bread basket.