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Losing weight in 2016, Part 2
Last weeks article suggested that we simply eat half of each meal and stop, and that we bridle our appetites until eating half becomes a habit. Here are two habits to develop in preparation of eating half. - photo by Linda and Richard Eyre
There was quite a bit of interest in our article last week about starting a more logical and practical diet for the benefit of our families in "The Half-Diet Diet." It seems that a straightforward diet based on simply reducing the quantity of food you eat has a lot of appeal.

As we were thinking about it, we happened to listen to a "Diane Rehm Show" on New Years Day on NPR on which four scientists discussed that getting more fruit and vegetables, along with reducing the amount of food people eat, is the most effective way of losing weight and keeping it off and can have a powerful effect on preventing disease and living longer lives.

But here is the problem: Its so much easier to say it than to do it.

Most people know if they could just limit their intake by half if they could eat only half of each meal and only snack between meals on fruit or vegetables they would lose weight and feel stronger and healthier. And they know they should become masters of their appetites rather than slaves to them. And they know that losing weight and feeling better would be the best gift they could give to their spouses and children.

But appetites are strong very strong. And denying oneself food, or stopping eating before feeling full, is very hard indeed.

Last weeks article suggested to simply eat half of each meal and to bridle appetites until eating half becomes a habit.

Just trying to instantly adopt the eat-half habit is extremely difficult, and there are two pre-habits to develop first to help prepare to put your appetite more under control so you can reach the eat-half habit.

Think of these two pre-habits as the bridle that controls the horse of appetite:

1. The water habit: Commit yourself to drinking a tall glass of water immediately before every meal. This will partially fill your stomach, take the edge off your hunger and make it easier to eat only half of your usual meal. Extend the water habit by also taking a drink of at least a cup of water before snacking or eating anything between meals.

Dr. Noall Wolff, who wrote the preface for "The Half-Diet Diet," tells us that few Americans drink enough water and that many are chronically dehydrated without even knowing it. As a byproduct of helping you eat half, the water habit will keep you hydrated.

2. The slow habit: Forming patterns that help you eat more slowly and deliberately will make the eat-half habit easier. Start by taking smaller bites. Big, full-mouth bites can smother your taste buds and actually make food less enjoyable. Small bites and slower chewing and swallowing allow you to taste your food more and can make your food taste better. We need to quit the gulping, gorging and guzzling of gluttony and start the smelling, sipping and savoring of a more sensory and artistic form of eating.

A simple way to get into this habit is to put your fork down on the table between each of your small bites. As you are chewing and savoring a bite, instead of heaping up your fork with your next bite, set it down until you swallow. Then pick it up and arrange your next small bite.

Once you feel you have mastered the water habit and the slow habit, you are prepared to make a serious attempt at the eat-half habit. When you are ready, set up a checkoff calendar and see how many days in a row you can observe the water habit, the slow habit and the eat-half habit. Once you reach 21 straight days, you will have officially gained three new habits that can benefit you, your spouse and your children for the rest of your life.
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