1. Reset your palate
People forget that the majority of food manufacturers don’t care if their product derails your health or fitness goals. They want to sell you a lot of product and want you to come back for more. This results in big companies putting a huge amount of capital into engineering their products to be as visually appealing and as hyper-palatable as possible. Scientists work hard to create products which basically hijack your brain’s perception of how food should taste. This includes carefully manipulating textures and using blends and combinations to trick the brain into craving more – I remember watching a Cadbury documentary where they had specialist machines which simulated how the nose and mouth would react to their chocolate melting in your mouth with varying blends and then adjusting the recipe to make their product more appealing.
This is great if you want to enjoy the odd treat, but if you struggle to make healthy choices it really makes things difficult. A lot of foods may seem bland or uninteresting as your palate is so used to artificial flavours, high levels of salt and precise blends of carbohydrates and fats which lead to easy overeating.
Much like taking a digital detox, I would recommend that you try a 2–4-week period where you eat only single ingredient foods and choose to only drink, tea, coffee and water. This can help your body adjust to new flavours and can help recondition your body to what real food should taste like. I find this a particularly powerful strategy for those with real long-term obesity issues.
2. Eat from a smaller plate
Struggle with portion control? This trick is so easy and basic that it is often overlooked but there is a multitude of research demonstrating how effective this can be. This is why most of the “all you can eat buffets” use smaller plates, it works!
Bonus: Research has also shown that eating from a blue plate decreases portion size.
3. Brush your teeth earlier in the evening
Late night snacking is a big issue for many. Getting into the habit of brushing your teeth and even using a mouthwash earlier in the evening can greatly inhibit your craving for a treat and is a massively underrated trick. If you have to eat quite late and cant brush earlier as the tooth enamel is softened then chewing gum can be really helpful. I particularly like the Xylitol based ones as these can radically improve the mineralisation of your teeth and are incredible at reducing the formation of tooth cavities.