Your plates, pantry, and lightbulbs may hurt your weight loss efforts. Easy strategies set you up for success.
You Love Bright Light - High-wattage lighting can raise stress levels, stimulating your appetite and causing you to eat faster than usual, according to research reviews. On the flip side, too dim is no better--studies show low lighting lessens inhibitions.
Many modern kitchens have layers of light sources, from under-the- cabinet halogens to recessed lights around the perimeter and a decorative fixture over the table, says Joseph Rey-Barreau, a lighting designer in Lexington, KY. When you're cooking, flip on as many lights as you'd like, but when it's time to eat, use no more than 240 total watts. That's the equivalent of four 60-watt bulbs in a four-light over-the-table fixture, for example, or six 40-watt bulbs in six high hats; with compact fluorescent bulbs, use 75 to 100 total watts.
Your Plates Are Platter Size - Most of us make a habit of filling our plates and finishing what's on them, But since the 1970s, dinner plates have grown 25%, to 12 inches or more in diameter. Eat off a plate about 2 inches smaller and you'll serve yourself 22% fewer calories per meal, which can mean a 2-pound weight loss in 1 month, says Brian Wansink, PhD, director of Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab and the author of Mindless Eating.
Rethink your place settings. Use your salad plate to hold higher-calorie meats or pasta, and load your dinner plate with veggies. If you plan to buy new plates, the best size is 10.
Your Pantry Is Huge - Bulk shopping can help cut food bills, but if you store groceries in their supersize packages, you're more likely to supersize your meals. Researchers found that people prepared 23% more food when cooking from large containers and ate twice as many candies from big bags as from smaller ones. Having a large variety of food may cause you to overeat too:
Big packages don't have a natural stopping point, so break them down into smaller containers or single-serving portions. Also, keep only one variety of your favorite treat in the house to help curb temptation. See the tidbit section on pre portioning your staples.