Behaviour expert Dr Pam Spurr helps you control unnecessary eating.
Instead of jumping on the next faddy diet bandwagon, why not try these tried-and-tested tips to help control your appetite. Recent research showed that even something as simple as substituting a glass of water for a sugar-laden drink helps people lose 5 percent of their body weight in six months.
If one behavioural change can help that much it's definitely worth using these behavioural tips to rein in temptation to snack or overeat.
For any weight-loss issue please consult your GP.
Appetite control tip no 1: Phone a friend
It's been found that if you ring a friend when upset/unhappy the urge to head for the biscuit tin for 'comfort' passes. This is because so much of snacking is about getting comfort. Instead 'hug' away unhappiness by connecting with a friend.
Appetite control tip no 2: Colour therapy
Cool shades of 'duck egg' and sky blue have been shown to switch off appetite. Even if you can't afford a new set of plates and bowls invest in one plate and bowl that you always eat from in these sorts of shades. It's also worth painting your dining area in these shades.
Appetite control tip no 3: Don't get too comfy
It's lovely to have a welcoming kitchen but research shows if it's too welcoming you tend to spend more time there. And when you're that comfortable it's easy to pick up a biscuit, grab some leftovers, etc without even noticing. If you want a super-welcoming kitchen fab but 'time-limit' lounging in it.
Appetite control tip no 4: Sitting pretty
Sticking with your dining area it's worth investing in a chair that isn't so comfortable that you do everything there within hands-reach of lots of food. Save your most comfy chair for any room outside of the kitchen/diner.
Appetite control tip no 5: Keep it hot
Research into body temperature shows that when you feel hotter it naturally switches off your appetite. So choose the hottest spot in your kitchen/diner as the designated place where you eat. It might be the sun shines on a particular spot or in winter you can sit next to the radiator. Don't take this to extremes and turn your kitchen into a sauna.
Appetite control tip no 6: One day at a time
People often 'fail' at diets after a couple of weeks because they see their restrictive diet looming in front of them forever. Believing that you'll always have to cut out favourite foods/treats has a negative psychological effect. Always use a one-day-at-a-time mental outlook for appetite control.
Appetite control tip no 7: Miracle of mint
Research finds that something as simple as mint flavour helps control appetite. Definitely try mint tea between meals to help control snacking. And finish a meal with mint tea to stop post-meal sweet cravings. If a snacking urge hits you between meals you can also try brushing your teeth the minty-flavour toothpaste works for some people.
Appetite control tip no 8: Power of the Pin-up
Find a photo of yourself that you're happy with because you were at a healthy weight. Pin it up on the fridge door so you catch sight of it when tempted to raid the fridge. Also sellotape a copy to anything that's your 'enemy', like the biscuit tin.
Appetite control tip no 9: Musical influences
Keep your Ipod handy when out and a CD in the player at home because your favourite tunes are a natural mood booster. It's been shown that even playing only a couple of upbeat tracks can distract you from the urge to snack or hunger pangs that strike pre-meal time.
Appetite control tip no 10: Get 'scent-ual'
Research into scents has found that you can stave off a craving for chocolate/sweets by sniffing a chocolatey scent like cocoa butter. Keep a tube of cocoa butter hand cream in your bag and it can kill two birds with one stone less snacking and softer skin! This can be just as effective as investing in the expensive scent patches.