If you’re wondering how to eat less during meals, the surprising solution might involve counting — but not calorie counting, as you’d imagine. New research shows that following other specific rituals before eating might help you consume fewer calories, and help you eat more consciously while you’re at it.
The June 2018 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology enrolled 93 female participants, some of whom were asked to perform certain rituals — such as closing their eyes and counting to 10 or knocking on the table twice — right before a meal. Meanwhile, the other women were asked to closely study the calorie intake and nutritional value of their food prior to eating. Researchers then observed the participants’ food intake for a five-day period.
Interestingly enough, the results ultimately showed that the folks who followed rituals before eating consumed fewer calories than the group that was actually studying said calories beforehand. Even more surprising? Researchers found that a decreased intake in sugar and fat was especially noticeable among the people following the rituals.
As Business Insider reported, experts think that following these simple routines before meals might help those of us who are struggling with eating too much, as we may be able to show more discipline when it comes to our calorie intake (particularly when it comes to unhealthy food). In other words, something as simple as counting right before you get the appetizer might have a powerful enough effect that it could make you think twice about getting dessert later. Ultimately, making this mindful eating part of our overall lifestyles could eventually help us lose weight.
Researchers even suggest that following rituals like these could potentially lead to other benefits that extend far beyond weight loss, such as making more rational decisions in general and resisting the temptation to be more impulsive with our choices in life.
Who knew that such a small change could make such a big difference?
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