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Tips to Reduce Your Appetite and to Feel Full with Less Food - with some Italian Inspiration

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Early in life, I discovered I burned fewer calories than the average person.  This was later confirmed by a doctor and a dietician. 

Unfortunately, burning fewer calories does not go hand-in-hand with a lower appetite, nor with feeling full sooner, two things that challenge anyone trying to control their weight, which seems to be just about everyone these days. 

As a consequence, Iíve had to become something-of-an-expert on how to reduce my appetite, and how to feel full on less.  The traditional Italian diet (and lifestyle) helps on both counts.

Here are some of the tips Iíve picked up over the years from doctors, dieticians, and Weight Watchers, and the Mediterranean lifestyle and diet. 


10 Tips to Reduce Your Appetite and to Feel Full on Less

1.  Replace your dishes with smaller dishes.  This is both a psychological trick and a practical one:  you still feel like you have a full plate of food, but you can fit less food on a smaller plate. 

2.  Drink a large glass of water (bubbly water fills you up more) before you sit down to eat. 

3.  Try not to drink during the meal, which can make you eat more. But drinking a hot drink, like a cup of tea, can make you eat less, oddly enough.  Avoid coffee in general because it stimulates insulin production which breaks down your food faster and releases the energy too quickly to be used, in most cases, so it's stored as fat more quickly.

4.  Spice up your food.  Itís no coincidence that the spiciest cuisines are generally found in the poorest areas of the world, where the people have to feel full on less.  If you eating the same quantify of a spicy food and a bland food, you can see for yourself that spicy foods make you feel full faster.  

5.  If you canít eat spicy foods, settle for more flavorful foods.  Strong flavors satisfy the taste buds, which signal to the appetite that itís being satisfied.  Use plenty of herbs and non-hot spices, salt or salt substitutes, onions and garlic.  If you can only allow yourself to eat a small amount of food, why not make it good tasting food. 



6.  Eat slowly.  This is a common suggestion, but it rarely comes with practical tips on how to do it, other than to force yourself to chew a certain number of times before swallowing.  People sitting around a table counting their chomps is a big dampener on table conversation, to say the least.  So here are two practical suggestions:  reverse your eating hand (right to left, left to right) but be careful not to put the fork through your cheek (!), and put on some soothing music to accompany the meal. 

7.  Serve up your plate with the correct portions.  Do not place platters of food on the table.  Decide what quantity each person should eat, and serve it up in the kitchen.  If people object, ask them to think of it this way:  platters of tempting food on the table is cruel for those who canít permit themselves to eat much.  If platters must remain on the table, make your first portion very small, so you can allow yourself the luxury of a second helping.

8.  Check the proportions of your food:  vegetables should take up more space on your plate than your main protein or starch source.  Vegetables have high nutritional value, low calories, high water and fiber content, so they can make you feel full and give you nutrition, but have a lower caloric impact than protein or starches.  It's especially the fiber and water combination that makes you feel full.   

9.  Restrict yourself to only one dessert a week.  Not so long ago, dessert was a Sunday treat.  Thatís a good tradition to recover.  If you crave sweets at the end of a meal, try natureís candy:  fruit.  A dish of fresh grapes, or peaches, or strawberries, or watermelon, for example, is just as satisfying to the sweet-tooth as high-fat and high-calorie desserts, and more filling.   

10.  Set a nice table.  When a meal feels special, even if the quantity is small, the experience is more satisfying.  Use place mats or under-plates or a table-cloth.  Set the table outside and enjoy the fresh air.  Decorate the table with fresh flowers or candles.  Use special tableware and glassware for even the most humble meal, even when you eat alone.  If you canít pamper yourself with an abundance of food, pamper yourself with all the other aspects of the meal, and that includes good company and good conversation when available!  



Bonus Tip:  Diets are always easier to follow when one feels good about oneself.  No matter what your weight or size, take pride in your appearance.  Take a moment each morning to look your best, for you, not for anyone else, just for you and for your self-esteem.  It makes saying 'no' to so many delicious things others say 'yes' to so much more bearable.

Second Bonus Tip:  Amazingly, squeezing your earlobe can often reduce hunger.  Wear clip-on earrings instead of pierced earrings, and you will feel the difference the very first day!  If you don't wear earrings, try pinching your earlobe to ward off a snack urge.  It works for many people, so it's worth giving it a try and seeing if it works for you, too.


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