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If you can't fit into your jeans, it is easy to blame it on your genes. The fact is, however, that skinny people often have eating habits that make it easier to eat less.

You Can Also Learn the Habits of Eating Lean

If you are fighting the battle of the bulge or even if you are just hoping your waistline will magically shrink on its own, no matter what your genetics, these simple changes in eating style can help you eat less and lose weight.

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1. Step away from the screen

Eating in front of a computer screen or a TV distracts you from the sensory process of eating. If you are reading your email while you are scarfing down a microwaved frozen meal, you are not going to notice tastes, aromas, textures, and colors. Of course, if you are eating a microwaved frozen meal, there may not be that many tastes, aromas, textures, or colors to be noticed. Eating interesting and tasty food with company or at least in a location where you can focus on the food without visual distractions helps you feel satisfied while eating less.

2. Go for juicy rather than crispy

Chances are you have heard of the cabbage soup diet. Eating huge amounts of cabbage soup and then stuffing yourself with beefsteak, tomatoes, and bananas is a lousy method for long-term weight loss. One aspect of the cabbage soup diet, however, really works. Water in food, rather than just water as a beverage, is filling. The moister and juicier the foods your eat, the less you need to eat to fill full.

You fill up faster when you eat celery sticks than when you eat pretzel sticks. You get fuller faster when you eat soup than when you eat a sandwich. Ounce for ounce, gram for gram, a fresh apple is more filling than a fried apple pie. A juicy hamburger is more satisfying than the same amount of beef jerky.

Nutritionist Dr. Barbara Rolls of the Pennsylvania State University Department of Nutrition and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School has found that eating a salad, or even better, a cup (about 250 ml) of soup and a salad, greatly reduces appetite for the rest of the meal. She has also proven that it is easier to fill up on steamed vegetables than it is to fill up on bread sticks, or fresh fruit rather than candy. If you at least try to eat healthy food first, you may be able to pass up that second slice of pie or that second helping of noodles that sabotages your diet.

3. Eat mindfully

When I first heard of the concept of "mindful eating" coming from Buddhist monasteries, I envisioned sitting cross legged on a cold stone floor, wearing a robe, and chanting, "Om fried rice fried rice fried rice, ommmmm fried rice fried rice fried rice." That isn't really what mindful eating is all about.

Mindful eating is making up your mind what you will eat before you eat it. It can involve imagining yourself eating a single place of delicious food, rather than running up to a buffet table and grabbing the first thing you see. Or it can be something as simple as deciding how many candies you will take out of a bowl before you put you hand in to get them.

That is exactly what an experiment reported in the Journal of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in December 2010 showed. When volunteers were asked to imagine eating 30 M & M chocolate candies before putting their hand into the bowl to get their snack, they were more likely to eat just 30 candies, or fewer, without feeling deprived.

4. Eat dairy products and meat at separate times

Dairy products are a good source of the amino acid lysine. Meat is a good source of the amino acid arginine. The human body has trouble absorbing both amino acids at the same time, however, and both of these amino acids are essential. Eating a lot of meat makes it hard to absorb lysine from dairy, and eating a lot of dairy makes it hard to absorb arginine from meat. When you don't get essential amino acids, you crave protein foods.

The solution? It's simple. Don't mix meat and dairy, or at least don't eat a lot of both foods at one time. Giving your body 3 or 4 hours to absorb the amino acids from one protein food group allows it to recharge the transport molecules that will help it absorb amino acids from the other protein food group, and reduces protein cravings.

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