Don’t: Go hungry
One of the most common misconceptions about weight loss is the idea that appetite can’t be trusted. Most people believe that if they eat as much as their tummy wants, they’re bound to overeat. Likewise, many triathletes believe that, in order to lose weight or maintain their ideal racing weight, they have to ignore their appetite and put up with a little hunger each day.
None of this is true. You can trust your appetite to guide you to the right amount of food intake. The problem is that most people today unconsciously eat more than they need to satisfy their hunger. Research conducted by Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating, and others has shown that it’s possible to reduce food intake without creating hunger by consciously avoiding some of the common traps that cause us to senselessly overeat.
The most common trap is the plate-cleaning instinct. People are hardwired to finish off however much food is placed in front of them (or whatever they place in front of themselves). This is a big problem today because portion sizes have increased drastically over the past 40 years. To escape the plate-cleaning trap, develop a habit of mindfully eating until you are comfortably full and then stopping, even if there is leftover food on your plate that must be saved until later. Once you’ve developed a better sense of how much food you really need to satisfy your appetite, you can then adjust the amount of food you prepare and serve yourself at home and the amount you order when eating out so that the temptation to overeat is further reduced.