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Lose Weight with the 20-Minute Diet

Eat what you want and still lose weight. All you have to do is change the way you eat

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Change your eating style

Suppose, just suppose, it’s not your food choices that are making you fat, but rather how you eat. In other words, the speed at which you eat, the type of dinnerware you’re using-even your dinner companions. Imagine losing 2 or more pounds per month, 12 or more pounds by peak beach season, and 24 or more pounds in a year by making no other changes to your diet than modifying these seemingly superficial factors.

Impossible? Not at all.

This novel weight-loss strategy is based upon the fattening fact that our brains register fullness about 20 minutes after our stomachs. This lag time causes overeating and ultimately, weight gain. So here’s the simple solution: By making a few easy changes to your eating style, you can slow down your swallowing and allow your brain to catch up with your belly. As a result, you’ll consume fewer calories without feeling any less satisfied. Plus, you’ll be able to continue to enjoy your favorite foods because you’ll be at less risk of overindulging.

If this sounds like the weight-loss program you’ve been waiting for, here are 10 scientifically-based suggestions for how to set a smarter table and otherwise arrange your meals. You don’t have to do all of them to succeed; just pick the ones that are most appealing and that fit your lifestyle. Combined with a regular walking program, it’s the ticket to your skinniest summer yet.

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1. Schedule more time for eating

Seems contradictory to the goal of weight loss, doesn’t it? But if you only allot a short time to eat, you’ll gobble your food down so fast, you’re body will never have a chance to signal you that you really didn’t need so much. So unless you feel you have the utmost of control, adjust your schedule so you eat your food slowly and calmly over 30 minutes. Two-thirds of the way through, you’ll probably start feeling full, and will lose your desire for more.

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2. Rest utensils between bites

This is one of the best ways to stretch your meal out: Make it a personal rule to never have a spoon or fork in your hand while there’s food in your mouth. Take a bite, put down the utensil, chew, swallow, then pick it up again and repeat the process.

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3. Keep your focus

Okay, we know you want to eat with others, and if you have a family, probably insist on it. Doing so provides all kinds of health benefits that have nothing to do with nutrition. So if you do eat with others, just don’t get so lost in conversation that you lose awareness of the eating process. Your task-and it’s an important one!-is to cherish each bite, eating slowly and mindfully, even while talking with others.

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4. Put on some relaxing music

Soft tunes playing in the background actually encourage more leisurely chewing. It combats hurry-up, stress-related eating by naturally relaxing you.

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5. Chew more

Most of the taste experience actually stems from our sense of smell, which is why nothing tastes good when you have a cold. Use this to your advantage by chewing your food longer. This not only slows down your eating but it also allows more of the food’s aroma and taste to register. Thus, you’ll be less likely to reach for salt, sugar, or other unhealthy flavor enhancers. How much longer should you chew? Brian Wansink, PhD who runs the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, found that normal-weight people chew each bite an average of 15 times while overweight people chomp 12 times.

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6. Switch to 10-inch plates

According to Wansink, you can reduce calorie consumption by about 20 percent and lose nearly 2 pounds per month by switching from 12- to 10-inch plates. In a study conducted at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, diners choosing bigger plates took 52 percent more food and ate 45 percent more of it than those using smaller plates.

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7. Use smaller spoons

Ice cream is one of the foods dieters miss most. But you don’t have to give it up in order to lose weight. Study participants given 2-ounce spoons by Wansink ate 14.5 percent less ice cream than those handed 3-ounce spoons. When a smaller spoon was combined with a smaller bowl, people ate 57 percent less ice cream overall. This strategy holds true for soups, chili, and stews as well.

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8. Light a vanilla-scented candle

The aroma has been shown to dampen dessert cravings. One group of 160 volunteers actually lost an average of 4.5 pounds each by wearing vanilla-scented patches.

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9. Dip forks first

Instead of slathering your healthful salad with fatty dressing, pour it into a small cup first, then dip your fork and spear some lettuce. This not only reduces your calorie intake (without sacrificing taste), but it also puts the brakes on high-speed gobbling.

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10. Drink water between bites

While water doesn’t reduce appetite, it does slow down your eating process. And it’s certainly healthy for you. So after every swallow of food, take a small sip of water before picking up your fork again.

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