We all know that the key to fat loss is finding a calorie deficit. I say “finding” because there are a couple of ways to achieve this and it can be a little bit of a mystery. It also takes some serious thought and effort.
The easiest (haha, it is NOT easy) is by simply eating less. By eating less calories than your body is used to, you can lose weight. It will not happen linearly, but it will happen over time if done correctly and consistently. We can eat less by skipping desserts, eating smaller portions, removing all caloric drinks (fancy coffees, pop, sweetened tea) and reducing snacking. Over time, as long as we are sticking to our new rules, we can lose fat.
Another way to reduce calories is by intermittent fasting, which is essentially is a reduction in calories. An example of this would be eating for 8 hours of the day and fasting for 16 hours a day. The good thing is that you will be sleeping for most of those hours! A typical way to achieve this eating window is by skipping breakfast.
Don’t believe the hype about breakfast being the most important meal and kicking off your metabolism and blah blah blah. If you must eat breakfast, then great! Do what works for you. But, if you can skip it a couple times per week to increase that fasting window, you could see many benefits besides weight loss. Google intermittent fasting if you are interested in more details. Personally, I practice IF a couple times a week. This helps me keep calories balanced throughout the week (read: balances out a few bits of dessert).
Another strategy is to workout more, and it is the least desirable strategy, so I’m not going to spend much time on it. I’ll just say, we can’t just keep working out more. It isn’t sustainable and really can have the opposite effect than what we think we are getting. So, let’s just say stick to cleaning up your diet and watching portions.
The final strategy is one that you can do and not even realize you are doing it! Isn’t that the best way to make a change?! While reading Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, he pointed out some interesting findings about using smaller plates.
We all know that American restaurants have huge portions. And we have huge dinner plates at home – I’m just talking about the size of the plate, not even what we put on it!
In his studies, he found that people UNDER-estimate what they are eating by 40-50% when they eat off large place. BUT, when we use smaller plates, we under-estimate by only 10%.
So, this is kind of huge. Even when he had people eat the SAME THING on a different sized plate, they still more accurately estimated their calories when they ate off a smaller plate. I mean??!!
And do you know what this did?? It made people more conscious of what they were eating and it made them eat less. Without even knowing it was an experiment, people eating off smaller plates more correctly estimated their calorie intake and ate less overall.
Folks who ate off larger plates thought they were eating less than they were (again, this was the same amount of food as on the small plates), so they continued to eat, but were convinced they only ate about half the calories that were actually on the plate.
So — my challenge to you – swap out your plates at home. Even if you aren’t counting your calories, this will STILL assist you in reducing calories overall. You’ll be more conscious of what you are eating without being more conscious of what you are eating. Wait, what?!
Yes, just the act of eating off a smaller plate will help you eat less! You won’t even notice it. You’ll still be satisfied.
I love little hacks like this! No one wants to feel the pain of making a change in what they are eating. If we can do it without even realizing it, then hell yes, I’m in!
Let me know how you do!!