9 Tips For Easier Dieting


How can you make dieting easier?

Some people find changing the way they eat incredibly difficult. They view it as a committment to a lifetime of deprivation. If you have to stop eating foods that cause symptoms of disease, such as gluten, the “deprivation” will result in better health. If you are making changes to assist with weight management, the deprivation is likely to be temporary, and viewing how you eat as a long term lifestyle choice instead of a temporary change to deal with weight, for example, can make committing to the changes easier.

The tips below focus on these strategies: controlling appetite, controlling calories, and promoting a satisfied feeling.

  1. Drinking water when you feel hungry can reduce your caloric intake; some people have difficulty distinguishing between hunger and thirst. The feeling of fullness created by the water can be satiating. Studies show drinking 500 ml of water before a meal can increase metabolism[1] and reduce caloric intake by suppressing appetite[2].
  2. Food journalling can make it easier to be mindful of portion sizes and calorie intakes. There are apps, such as Cara and Samsung Health, that can track food, mood, exercise, sleep and other factors in your health[3].
  3. Learn what a portion is[4]. It’s easy for portion sizes to become distorted, resulting in a greater than needed caloric intake. As little as an extra 100 calories per day can amount to a 10 pound weight gain in a year. Use your hand to estimate an appropriate portion size, as illustrated below.
  4. Think about what you can eat, instead of focusing on foods you want to avoid, to mitigate feelings of deprivation. If your eating plan includes foods that are not familiar or favorites, saying “I get to eat [unfamiliar food]” instead of “I have to eat [unfamiliar food]” makes the attitudinal shift easier to manage.
  5. Deal with any tendency to eat for emotional reasons, such as stress. Your food journal can include notes about your mood or stressors. Externalizing how you feel by writing it down can make the feelings and the need for comfort less intense. Deep breathing exercises can be powerfully stress-reducing. Exercise, even if it’s in the form of going for a gentle walk, can ease stress[5] and temporarily suppress appetite[6].
  6. Alter the content of your food to make your diet work for you. Healthy fats[7]and fiber suppress appetite[8]. An avocado might be labelled as fattening, but if you account for its calories in your daily limit, what you get in exchange is heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fat and 7 grams of fiber per 100 grams (about a quarter of your daily intake), plus vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium and iron[9]. Nutrient dense foods with a low impact on blood sugar like this should be your focus.
  7. Use caffeine in moderation to control appetite. Caffeine sources such as coffee and green tea can boost metabolism[10] and promote fat burning[11]. A moderate intake is considered to be 2 – 3 cups (500 – 750 ml) per day. Remember to include substances such as cream and sugar used in your drink in your calorie count for the day.
  8. Chew slowly and thoroughly. The way you chew can make a difference to your metabolism[12] and caloric intake[13].
  9. Make sure you get enough sleep. The amount and quality of your sleep have significant impacts on hormone regulation and metabolic effects with respect to body weight[14].

Parts of this article originally appeared on Quora.


[1] Water-induced thermogenesis.

[2] Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults.

[3] Barriers and Negative Nudges: Exploring Challenges in Food Journaling

[4] Overweight and obesity – use of portion control in management.

[5] Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress

[6] Exercise-induced suppression of acylated ghrelin in humans.

[7] Gut fat signaling and appetite control with special emphasis on the effect of thylakoids from spinach on eating behavior.

[8] Addition of Rye Bran and Pea Fiber to Pork Meatballs Enhances Subjective Satiety in Healthy Men, but Does Not Change Glycemic or Hormonal Responses: A Randomized Crossover Meal Test Study | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic

[9] Avocados

[10] Can Coffee Increase Your Metabolism and Help You Burn Fat?

[11] Effects of caffeine on energy metabolism, heart rate, and methylxanthine metabolism in lean and obese women.

[12] Eating slowly increases the postprandial response of the anorexigenic gut hormones, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1.

[13] Increased chewing reduces energy intake, but not postprandial glucose and insulin, in healthy weight and overweight young adults.

[14] Role of sleep and circadian disruption on energy expenditure and in metabolic predisposition to human obesity and metabolic disease