Use Smaller Plates and Lose Weight!

Willpower is overrated. Most dieters I know deprive themselves of food and then beat themselves up when they give in to an inevitable (and also a healthy) urge to eat. Bad cycle! Plus, once starving, they end up eating more than they would have if they’d planned their next meal or snack with a level, not hungry, head.

Why not skip the blame cycle and make it easier to stick to your healthy eating plan? Some of the most creative new weight-loss strategies have nothing to do with food. Switching up the way you serve your meals may actually help you eat less. Try these tricks:

Use smaller plates. Diners given smaller dishes serve themselves smaller portions, researchers at Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, New York, found. And we eat about 92 percent of what we serve ourselves, regardless of the size of the dish, another Cornell study notes. Replace your set of jumbo dinner flying saucers (the average size is 10 to 11 inches) with smaller ones (8 to 9 inches), or use salad plates.

Outsource the kitchen cleanup. If there are three bites of lasagna left on someone’s dish after dinner, chances are, I’m eating them on the way to the dishwasher. (What? Waste food? Not me!) Rather than fight the urge to pop morsels off of your family’s plates into your mouth (rather than the garbage where they belong), assign one of your kids or your significant other to scrape-and-stack duty: They take the plates from the table, scrape what’s left into the trash, and stack them in the sink for you to load into the dishwasher. Also ask them to pack up any leftovers so you won’t nip into those, either. And don’t feel bad about what goes into the garbage—it’s as wasted on your hips as it will be in the garbage can.

For more even weight loss tips, check out these fixes for common diet saboteurs.

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