The 10 simple meal tweaks to boost weight loss and blast fat

WHEN it comes to losing weight, we all want to know the quick fix.

But anyone who has tried dieting will know there is no magic solution.

Fad diets often come with strict rules – which can have great results – but are difficult to stick to in the long-term.

Ultimately, it can result in people piling on the pounds again and feeling disheartened after doing so.

But experts say it is possible to lose weight – by simply making some small tweaks to mealtimes.

The team, from the University of Oxford, published a study last year into what makes dieters lose their motivation.

They found that the the practice of “self-regulation” – which came from stepping on the scales – helped to sustain their mojos.

Building on this research, they went on to develop a DIY diet approach which was published last month in the British Journal of Health Psychology.

It outlines 53 steps which they found to be effective and now form part of what they call the PREVAIL programme.

They say that in addition, people should step on the scales daily and record the weight – either in an app or in a diary.

The experts wouldn't expect dieters to follow all 53 actions in day, but say that sticking to as many as possible can help in successful weight loss.

Here, we've highlighted 10 of their tips that focus on mealtimes – and the simple tweaks you can make to boost weight loss…

1. Use a smaller plate

It may seem like an obvious change, but by switching to a smaller plate you're less likely to pile it high with excess food.

Portion size can be key to weight loss and many people don't actually realise how many extra calories their eating purely because of the size of their plate.

So, get yourself a smaller dish and you'll feel nice and satisfied without having overeaten.

2. Cut up your food

Reducing the bite-size of food increases the number of mouthfuls you need to take and chew.

Experts say that this triggers the gut hormones into action and they send messages to the brain that you are full.

So, having smaller bite size pieces of food on your plate tricks the mind into thinking you've more food than you actually do.

3. Limit eating time

Spend no longer than 20 minutes eating a meal, the Oxford experts say.

That's how long it takes for your brain to send signals of fullness.

So by limiting your mealtimes to just 20 minutes, it will stop you from overindulging.

4. Stop before you're full

We all know it's pretty pointless eating when you are full.

But many people still find themselves always having 'room for dessert', even after eating a big meal.

Experts say this is down to something called sensory-specific satiety, which means your satisfaction declines as you eat a certain type of food and leaves you craving a new flavour.

So try eating until you're satisfied instead.

Dietitian Lyndi Cohen said: "If you get the craving for something sweet, choose something like a mint or a piece of chocolate or a little fruit or yoghurt.

"Even just a mouthful of something ‘new’ should help take the craving away."

5. Smell your food

You might think you already do this, but really inhale your food first.

Experts say that doing this can prevent your from rushing mealtimes and ultiamtely overeating.

Previous research also claims that if you surround yourself with the smell for two whole minutes, your cravings will subside.

6. Take 20 chews per bite

It may sound like an old wives' tale, but experts have long said that chewing your food for longer can help you feel full before overeating.

Studies have shown that chewing sends signals to the brain so your body knows your eating.

If you eat too quickly, your brain might not have had a chance to process this which can lead to overeating.

So, take about 20 chews per bite and out your cutlery down between mouthfuls.

7. Drink a pint of water before each meal

Everyone knows that water is good for you.

But downing a pint before each meal could actual help promote weight loss, experts say.

A 2018 paper in the journal Clinical Nutrition Research, found that drinking water before a meal results in fewer calories being consumed.

8. Have a booze-free day

Try to limit your alcohol intake if you really want to supercharge your weight loss journey.

A glass of red wine contains upwards of 125 calories, a pint of beer 250 calories and a gin and tonic about 170 calories.

Introduce a 'booze-free day' at least once a week and watch the fat melt away in no time – not to mention other health benefits.

9. Only eat three times a day

Try to stick to eating at three consistent times every day, i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Snacking in between is when you can run into issues with added calories.

But having a regular routine with three eating occasions can help you stick to it, the researchers say.

10. Don't eat after 8pm

Is there anything better than tucking into a packet of crisps or a glass of wine infront of the telly in the evening?

Plenty of us are prone to snacking or drinking after we've had dinner.

But the experts advise eating nothing – and avoiding high calorie drinks like wine and beer – after 8pm.

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