Not sure if you saw this, but I was especially drawn to a recent study in the journal PLoS One, where scientists found that how much you eat at your next meal has a lot to do with how much you think you ate at the last one. It's mindful eating to the max: If you believe you chowed down big time at lunch, you might serve yourself less at dinner. But if you don’t remember eating earlier in the day—regardless of what your portion actually was—you’ll be hungrier, because your mind wasn't satisfied.
Interesting, right? Yet I'm not totally surprised: In my New York Times best-selling book, The Digest Diet, we definitely stress that you should enjoy your food. You shouldn't eat at your desk, or in front of the TV or other screens, and you should pay attention to what you’re eating so your brain can register it. You can also keep a food journal, to remind yourself how much you ate.
Here are more simple rituals to avoid mindless munching:
Before breakfast, take a second to sip a cup of coffee or herbal tea. Inhale deeply. This cue will help you remember that your meal is about to begin.
Switch Hands for Your Fork or Spoon
You’ll have to work a little harder, which will shift you out of autopilot.
Take a Break
After a few minutes of eating, drink water. Or put down your fork. Tell a story. Get up and stretch your legs. Then come back to the table. Any of these will help you recall the meal.
Make a Big Finish
Listen to your internal cues of feeling full as a sign to stop eating. Avoid external ones like your waiter removes your plate, lunch hour is over, the bag of popcorn is empty, your friends aren't done yet. Tell yourself it was delicious!