Knowing that this is a time of year when many of us are trying to trim down (myself included), I've been holed up in my laboratory working on the ultimate weight-loss tool. The good news is that I found it. What's great about this tool is that it's simple, cheap, and extremely effective. Best of all, many of you may already have it--or at least a close facsimile.
This tool is an old-fashioned dinner bell. Here's how it works: Five times a day, when you're hungry, you ring it to declare the start of mealtime. At that point, you sit down to a 300-calorie meal. It's important that you actually sit down and have a meal so that you can be mindful of what you're eating. You can choose any foods you want that add up to 300 calories or less, although I have found in my extensive research that balanced meals are more filling. Here are some examples: 1) a bowl of multigrain flakes with skim milk and a banana; 2) a turkey sandwich with light mayo, lettuce, and tomato on multigrain bread; 3) a piece of broiled salmon with new potatoes, a steamed vegetable, and a green salad with balsamic vinegar.
If you're still hungry after your meal, keep in mind that you can ring the bell again in another two hours if you'd like. Also, it's important to note that hunger and thirst can feel the same at times. So, make sure to drink plenty of water between meals (but not with meals). Finally, there is a delay reaction between the time you finish a meal and when your brain gets the signal that you're full. So, give yourself at least 15-20 minutes to let the feeling of fullness take effect.
Does the bell technique work? I have already lost 5 pounds in the two weeks that I've been ringing my bell. Based on my research, I would say that this method should work for at least 80-90% of you, as long as you stay true to it. One more note: Don't ring your bell any later than 8pm. Your body's metabolism slows down at night. If I get hunger pains in the middle of the night, I take a tiny sip of either dairy or non-dairy milk but nothing more. That seems to do it for me. And I do ring the bell first thing every morning because I wake up with a healthy appetite.
Try it and let me know how it works. I think you'll find, as I have, that it's simple and fun to do. I enjoy my food much more now, because I'm eating more mindfully. And I love ringing that ol' dinner bell to declare (at least to myself): "Come and get it!"