• Louise Appel

7 ways to stop yourself going back for seconds after dinner (or thirds!)


Can't help yourself going back for more after a meal? Maybe you're really good all day but come dinner time you don't know when to stop. If seconds (or thirds) are sabotaging your weight loss plans then learn how to break the habit with my 7 tips.

1.Eat well throughout the day

If you don’t eat enough during the day then when it gets to dinner time you hunger hormones will be raging and all logical thinking will be out of the window. You will crave all of the wrong kinds of foods and will find it extremely difficult to think rationally and clearly. At these times self-control doesn’t stand a chance. Choose foods that keep you full throughout the day and try not to go for long periods of time without eating.

2.Serve your plate up in advance

Serve food directly onto dinner plates in advance rather than lay out bowls of food, bread and side dishes on the dining table or in the kitchen for everyone to help themselves. If you can’t see it you are far less likely to have it. It is important however that you are realistic with your plated portions. Make sure you give yourself enough to satisfy you so you don’t feel hungry, but no more than you need.

3.Remove the problem

As soon as you have served up your food then cover up, put away or throw away what is left. This will make seconds less accessible. Where possible only make what you plan to eat so there aren’t any leftovers to tempt you, or you could plan to have what’s left for lunch the next day. This you can dish out at the same time as dinner and cover up or put away ready.

4.Trick the brain

The brain can be easily tricked. Use smaller plates or bowls, it actually does feel like you are eating more. You could also try reducing your portion size by around a third and allow yourself a small second helping so you feel you have had more. Keeping a bowl of salad or raw veggies on the table to pick at will also help you feel you have had extra without adding on heaps of calories.

5.Avoid ‘mindless eating’

If you eat too quickly or while you are doing something else like watching TV, sitting at your computer or reading, your brain won’t register how full you are. It may even struggle to realise you have eaten at all. If you have a small child then feed them before you start eating as trying to do both at the same time can distract you from your food so you may not be aware of how much you have eaten. Sit at the table, pay attention to your meal and take your time eating and enjoy the food.

6.Stop and think

When you have finished eating and you feel the urge to eat more stop and think about it. Do you need more? Probably not. Will you regret it if you do? It’s highly likely. If you are keen to lose weight then remember, if you eat more than you need you won’t lose weight. You will be eating too many calories and instead of losing weight you will probably get fatter. If alcohol affects your ability to think clearly and make wise decisions then see point 3 (remove the temptation).

Do YOU actually NEED more??

7.Wait a while & do something else

It can take up to around 20 minutes after eating for your brain to realise you are full (if you have stuffed your face, then it kicks in a bit quicker!). When you have finished a meal give yourself time to digest before deciding if you need more. During this time find ways of distracting your attention from what is lurking in the kitchen calling your name. Leave the table and do something else. Ask someone else to clear the table and put the leftovers away, if you haven’t already, to reduce temptation. You could also try a glass of water or a cup of tea to help the process.

Louise Appel, Personal Trainer

Louise Appel Personal Trainer, St John's Wood & Personal Trainer Maida Vale offers customised, individual Personal Training and Pilates at Lords Cricket Ground, St John's Wood. Personal Trainer Harpenden & Personal Trainer St Albans is located at EsTR Fitness.

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