- Eating slower and thinking about what’s on your plate can help you lose weight
- A psychologist says that tricks like eating in front of a mirror make you more conscious
Forget cutting calories and going to the gym, eating with your non-dominant hand could be enough to lose weight.
This is according to social psychologist Richard Wiseman, who believes that “mindful eating” could be the answer to a healthier lifestyle.
Typically, reducing portion sizes, eating more vegetables, and doing more runs are enough to turn the tide.
But the psychologist says strange tricks like eating with the other hand and putting a mirror in the kitchen can trick the brain into eating less.
Changing which hand you eat with or how you hold your knife and fork could make you slower and more aware of what you eat. As a result, it could help you lose weight, experts say.
Although it has the potential to be very complicated, eating with your non-dominant hand is thought to help you eat less by causing you to eat more slowly.
Eating with your non-dominant hand is “one of the most fun ways” to train yourself to eat less, Professor Wiseman said on his On Your Mind podcast.
“That means it actually takes longer and is more mindful to eat because you need to work out coordination issues and so on, so you end up eating less.”
“This is really simple, but quite effective,” says Professor Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire.
This trick for mindful eating goes both ways: for example, eating in front of the TV is not a good idea because when you’re distracted you eat more, explains Professor Wiseman.
Paying attention to what’s on your plate has been shown to influence how much food you eat, according to a 2013 study. study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Researchers reviewed 24 studies and found that distracted or hurried eating can make you eat more, and savoring your food by eating at a slower pace without distractions can help you control how much you eat in one sitting.
Looking in the mirror when you eat can literally make you look at what you eat. Experts say having a mirror in your bedroom has been shown to make you choose healthier foods.
Another way to be more aware of what you are eating is to literally watch what you eat.
It may sound strange, but looking in the mirror while eating is believed to lead to healthier eating habits.
Professor Wiseman explained that the mirror theory emerged from American psychologist Brad Bushman.
As part of an experiment, he set up a table with food outside a supermarket and encouraged people to sit and eat the food.
Sometimes the food on the table was healthy and other times it was unhealthy, but in both circumstances he encouraged people to eat as much as they wanted.
In half of the tests, he put a mirror on the table so people could see themselves eating the food.
“As soon as people could see their own reflection, they became more self-aware and chose healthier foods,” Professor Wiseman said.
Using this logic, Professor Wiseman suggests putting a mirror in the kitchen to help you be more aware of what you are eating.
He said: “If you want, there’s no reason why you should, but if you want, then this is the kind of advice, some people call it tricks, but psychological, that can have a big impact.”
However, some more proven weight loss tricks suggested by the NHS include swapping sugary drinks for water, cutting back on foods high in sugar and fat and eating five a day.
Exercising a lot by being active for 150 minutes a week is also a recommended way to lose weight.
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS.
• Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried, and canned fruits and vegetables count
• Base meals are based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains.
• 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole grain crackers, 2 thick slices of whole wheat bread, and one large baked potato with skin.
• Eat some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) by choosing low-fat, low-sugar options.
• Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish each week, one of which should be fatty)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume them in small amounts
• Drink 6 to 8 cups/glasses of water a day
• Adults should consume less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day.
Fountain: NHS Eatwell Guide