Overeating is the downfall of many a diet plan. But a few small habit changes can go a long way to whittling your waist and staving off diet self-sabotage. Whether it's harder to resist temptation in a restaurant or at home when no one's watching, read on for smart tips that are easy to follow.
Put leftovers away
Leaving platters of food on the table or in the pot on the stove makes it too easy to pick at leftovers long after your plate is cleaned. Serve up your food and stash the leftovers in the fridge or freezer before sitting down to eat. And instead of storing everything in a large container, portion out individual servings into smaller containers – you'll be less likely to over-indulge the next time you pull out the pasta for a quick lunch.
Cook smaller meals
If leftovers are too seductive to resist, avoid the lure by removing the problem. Cook just enough food for a single meal and there will be nothing left to eat later on in front of the tv. It might mean a little more time for meal prep, but consider them hours saved at the gym!
Use smaller dishes
We eat with our eyes too – so trick your mind into thinking you're eating more food than you really are. Most dinner plates are large enough to accommodate three times the food you need to eat at any given meal, and it can be hard to resist the urge to fill up all that empty space. Use smaller bowls and plates that will fit only the portion size you should be eating – not the portion size you could be eating.
Of course you don't want to deprive yourself of all treats, but it's too easy to keep dipping your hand over and over again into the family-sized bag. With treats like chips, candy and cookies, fill a small bowl with one serving size, then close up the bag or the box and save it for the next time (and next time should not be 10 minutes later).
Portion out take-out
Takeout doesn't have to be off limits, but remember that restaurant portions often provide enough for several – not single – meals. Transfer half of your order into another container or ask the restaurant to do it for you before you return to the lunchroom to nosh.
Main course menu options aren't the only option when dining out. Instead, order an appetizer and a salad (dressing on the side) or split a main with a friend. And if there aren't any healthy appetizers to choose from and your dining companion wants steak when you want salmon, don't be afraid to ask the kitchen to box half your meal before it comes out. Most restaurants will be happy to accommodate your request.