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10 Ways to Outwit Your Appetite

You don't have to be smarter than a quiz-show fifth-grader to learn how to control the urge to eat. Just follow these ingenious tips to keep your appetite under wraps:

  • Feed it protein for breakfast. You'll be less hungry later on and end up eating 267 fewer calories during the day. At least that's what happened on days when St. Louis University researchers gave overweight women two scrambled eggs and two slices of jelly-topped toast for breakfast rather than about half that protein.
  • Make it climb a flight of stairs. At home, store the most tempting foods way out of reach. For instance, Cornell University food psychologist Brian Wansink, PhD, keeps his favorite soda in a basement fridge. "Half the time I'm too lazy to run down there to get it, so I drink the water in the kitchen."
  • Sleep on it. People who don't get their 8 hours of ZZZs experience hormonal fluctuations that increase appetite, report researchers. Learn more about how sleep affects your diet.
  • Give it something else to think about. When scientists scanned the brains of people eating different foods, they found that the brain reacts to fat in the mouth in much the same way that it responds to a pleasant aroma. So if you feel a craving coming on, apply your favorite scent.
  • Never let it see a heaping plate. The more food that's in front of you, the more you'll eat. So at a restaurant, ask your waiter to pack up half of your meal before serving it to you, then eat the extras for lunch the next day.
  • Put it under the lights. You consume fewer calories at a well-lit restaurant table than you do dining in a dark corner. "In the light, you're more self-conscious and worry that other patrons are watching what you eat," explains Wansink.
  • Talk it down. Entertaining friends with a great story doesn't give you much time to eat up, so you'll probably still have food on your plate when they're done. Once they're finished, call it quits, too.
  • Offer it a seat. If you sit down to snack -- and use utensils and a plate -- you'll eat fewer calories at subsequent meals.
  • Satisfy it with soup. Start lunch with about 130 calories worth of vegetable soup and you'll eat 20% fewer calories overall during lunch, say Penn State experts.
  • Give it little choice. Packages that contain assorted varieties of cookies, candy, dips, cheese, etc., make you want to try all the flavors. The effect is so powerful, says Wansink, that when people are given 10 colors of M&Ms to munch on, not 7, they eat 30% more!

Oh, and one more thing: Feeding your appetite a diverse diet that is low in calories and high in nutrients can make your RealAge as much as 4 years younger. Sweet.

Trim off 10 pounds with these simple tips from RealAge Food Bites.