I’m sure you’ve already heard that eating less is about listening to your body so you can stop eating when you’re not quite full, bla-bla-bla.
But determining when you’re full is harder for some of us than others. I walk my dog four to six miles per day, run on the elliptical, and work on a farm, so I know what it feels like to work up a powerful hunger.
For me, the trick to not overeating is to eat whenever I’m hungry, which is usually every two to four hours. I make sure to have snacks like fruit, vegetables, and nuts on hand at all times. If I don’t snack, I let myself get to the point where I come home at the end of a long day on the farm and devour a half-loaf of banana bread before even making dinner.
Personally, when I tell myself to eat less, I end up feeling deprived, which makes me eat more. So instead of thinking about reducing my caloric intake, I just follow the rule of eating when I’m hungry. By grazing throughout the day, I end up eating much less than I would if I ate three square meals a day.
The other strategy that helps me eat less is to cook delicious food. Counterintuitive, I know. But I find that it’s the nights where I don’t make the time to cook dinner that I end up overeating. A bowl of oatmeal here… some chips and salsa there… followed by whatever else I find in the fridge or pantry. When I prepare a special meal using high-quality ingredients, I feel more satisfied with a reasonable portion (especially when I can remember that those high-quality ingredients were expensive!).
If you’re new to cooking, just getting in the kitchen and following recipes to the best of your ability will greatly improve your eating habits. Look at online sources such as Epicurious or pick up a good instructional cookbook such as How to Cook Everything by Marc Bittman.
The great thing about the Michael-Pollan diet is that it’s not so much a “diet” as it is a lifestyle change. If you eat a diet based on plants and real food and learn a few easy strategies to avoid overeating, maintaining a healthy weight becomes less of a struggle.
To see part 1 of the Michael-Pollan diet, click here. For part 2, click here. For more on sticking to your New Year’s food resolutions, check out 5 Food New Year’s Resolutions and New Year’s Resolutions.