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"Mind over matter" is a great idea, but can it really help you to lose weight? When we eat, we make hundreds of choices every day, many without even realising: eat that last potato or leave it on the plate, salad or rice? Many of these choices are made subconsciously. Willpower alone won't work. But, by employing a few simple tricks to the way we shop, cook and eat, we can all start to eat healthier without thinking about it.
In time, we can all lose pounds and feel better.
All it takes are a few little tricks.
Never shop on an empty stomach
Supermarkets are carefully-designed to make us buy more than we intend to, with the most tempting impulse-buy items at eye-level. To resist temptation, never shop hungry.
As an added way to resist temptation, suck a mint or chew some chewing-gum as you walk around the store. The minty-freshness cuts cravings, making it harder to imagine the sweet melting sensations of your favourite ice-cream on your tongue.
Browse the fruit and vegetable aisle first
It can be tempting to just gallop around the supermarket, but if you go to other areas of the store before the fruit and vegetable aisle, you're less likely to fill-up on healthy goodies. So make the fruit and veg aisle your first stop.
Studies show we're more likely to fill our basket with fruit and vegetables when it's empty than when it's half-full.
Don't think you'll lose a lot of time if you browse those veggies. Instead, you'll find yourself compensating by skipping all those sweet temptations you don't really need. This will save time, and your waistline.
Say "I'll think about it" when you're tempted to reach for a snack
If someone asks to borrow your car or $500, what do you do? Do you immediately hand over your keys or get out your wallet? You might, but most of us probably say "I'll think about it".
Saying "I'll think about it" gives you time to weigh up the pros and cons, and evaluate if your car or that money is something you can really afford to lose.
Next time you want a bowl of ice-cream or a chocolate bar, try saying "I'll think about it" and wait 10 to 20 minutes to decide if you really want that sweet treat.
Try junk-food substitutes
Some foods will never be healthy, no matter how much we pray to the Goddess of Ice Cream. However, you can seek out healthy alternatives that have the same qualities as the food you crave.
Instead of crunchy potato chips, try popcorn or kale chips. Instead of cool, sweet ice-cream, try a fruity frozen smoothie or yoghurt alternative.
Don't restrict anything
Deprivation is one of the leading causes of hunger pangs. So don't say any specific food is completely off-limits. Denying yourself your favourite foods makes it more likely you'll become fixated on them and fail in your new healthy eating regime. "You want to make changes you can do for the rest of your life." says Amy Goodson, RD, sport's dietician, "You can still enjoy one or two splurges during the week as long as you stay on track the rest of the time."
Snack like a preschooler
Do you remember when you mummy used to send you out to nursery school with lovingly-prepared baggies of carrot-batons and a tiny little wrapped biscuit for afterwards?
Prepare your own little baggies of pre-portioned snacks of popcorn, potato chips, and other snack foods, hiding the rest away in a cupboard. That way, you can have a little treat, and won't always be tempted to go back for more until you finish a whole 150g bag.