Think people who maintain a healthy weight avoid junk food or are slaves to the gym? You may be right, but there’s a missing link you should know about. In fact, the way you eat can be just as important as what you eat, as evidenced in a study from Cornell University. During the study, researchers watched 213 diners at Chinese restaurant buffets and they found some fascinating differences in the ways thin and overweight people ate.
Want to eat like a skinny person? These tips should help:
Choose Wisely. Thinner study participants poured over food choices before filling their plates. Choose only foods you enjoy and that satisfy you—then leave the other stuff off your plate.
Chew Slowly. A difference of only three chews per bite separated the thin from the overweight in the study, but the difference isn’t as small as you think. In fact, increased chewing per bite of food has been linked to lower body mass index. (Your eating speed may also affect your diabetes risk; read more.) Chewing impacts satiety, so take some time with every bite. And be sure to check in with yourself throughout the meal, registering your hunger and fullness levels using the Hunger Scale.
Forget the Fork. Could chopsticks be a get-slim secret? The study certainly points to a difference—heavier participants tended to use forks to shovel in the food, while slender eaters slowed down their eating pace with chopsticks.
Go Small. You’ve probably heard about the trick of using a smaller plate. What you might not know is that it actually works: Slimmer study participants selected smaller plates on average.
Turn Your Back. Slender participants chose seats where they couldn’t see the buffet, while heavier people tended to face the food. Instead of distracting yourself with all the possibilities, try focusing on your plate and the conversation. This habit redirects your experience to your dining companions rather than the thought of seconds. (To learn more about overeating triggers, click here.)
Be Polite. The most surprising insight in the study? Thinner eaters put their napkin in their lap, while heavier eaters kept it on the table for easier access.
The big takeaway? Slowing down your eating counts. A more deliberate approach at the dinner table gives your body a chance to signal satiety before you’ve overeaten. This allows you to rev up your weight loss…and might just make dinner a bit more pleasant as well.
funny sushi woman image via BigStockPhoto.com