Easy way to cut calories for all the right reasons

Counting calories is never any fun. But lately, researchers have been giving you a whole lot of really good  reasons to do it…

Of course, you already know it can help you lose weight. But calorie restriction has some amazing health-boosting benefits that go far beyond your waistline.

For example… did you know that moderately cutting calories may be a cancer ‘cure-all’? It reduces inflammation — the root of most disease in your body. Or that it helps your body create new stem cells that keep you healthy and young? Easy Health Option subscribers do because we’ve written about the disease-defying and anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction just recently…

But even though calorie restriction has huge benefits, it’s never easy. Changing your eating habits is probably one of the hardest things to do, because your body gets used to eating a certain way… and eating a certain amount.

When you cut back on calories and start eating healthier, it doesn’t take long for the cravings to strike. And you may even start going through withdrawals for your favorite foods… especially if you’ve been eating a lot of sugar and carbs. These foods are basically like a drug to your body. And breaking the cycle of addiction takes an iron will.

But there is a way to help yourself make the transition to a lighter, healthier diet. It’s a simple, common-sense trick that will give you the will power you never thought you had. And it works whether you’re eating out or eating at home…

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University found that the best way to cut calories when you’re eating out is to order your food ahead of time. When you order your food one hour or more before you plan to eat it, you order lower-calorie meals.

And it’s pretty obvious why. You’re not hungry when you order, so you’re less likely to give in to temptation. It reminds me of a popular piece of wisdom you’ve probably been told at some point in your life: Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.

And this common-sense approach to cutting calories can easily be applied to what you eat at home too. Instead of waiting until you’re hungry to decide what you’re going to eat, put in some pre-planning time. Choose healthy recipes. Go to the grocery store (when you’re not hungry, of course), and buy all of the ingredients you need.

On really busy days, it might be a good idea to prep ingredients or even cook meals the night before. Because when you’re starving, the time and energy it takes to cook a healthy meal can easily deter you from eating what you know is best.

But whatever you do, don’t give in to the excuses. Make your food choices when your belly is full and your willpower is strong. The benefits of eating fewer calories are just too great.

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Source: M. VanEpps, J.S. Downs, G. Loewenstein “Advance Ordering for Healthier Eating? Field Experiments on the Relationship Between the Meal Order–Consumption Time Delay and Meal Content.” Journal of Marketing Research. Volume 53, Issue 3. June 2016.

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.