Don't "supersize" your portions. Continually eating big servings of food also distorts your idea of what a normal serving size should be. In a recent study researchers asked fast-food customers to estimate the calories in what they'd just eaten; people who ate large meals underestimated by nearly half, while those who consumed smaller meals were off by only about 20 percent. How do you get back to reality? Eat at home where you have more control. Serve all meals in a 2-cup bowl or 9-inch plate (the size of a typical salad plate). Measure or weigh quantities you're not sure about. When you're dining out, order half portions, have an appetizer in lieu of a main course, or go to restaurants that don't overload you with food. Ditch mega-size drink bottles, even if you fill them only with water. Says Geier: "They'll affect your perception of how much you should be drinking when the beverage isn't calorie-free."

Avoid falling into the snack-and-remote trap. In another experiment Geier and researchers from Cornell's Food and Brand Lab divided women into three groups and gave each group a canister of chips to eat while watching television. For two of the groups, every seventh or 13th chip was dyed red. The group with no red chips ate 23 on average, while those whose seventh chip was dyed red consumed 10. "When participants got to the red chip, it made them think about what they were eating," says Geier. So don't eat from the bag--especially when watching TV or reading a book--because the only built-in stopping point is the bottom. Instead, pre-portion your food on a plate and put the bag away.

Keep the table and counter clear. If you leave a bag of chips front and center on your kitchen counter, for instance, you'll be more likely to reach for them than you would be if you had to open a cupboard to find them. Instead, measure out a portion then put the bag away so you aren't prompted to reach for more. Ditto for dinner. If you bring all your serving bowls, bread, and beverages to the table, you'll be more tempted to have seconds (and thirds) than if you have to get up to get them. (You might, however, want to bring bowls of vegetables and salad to the table; that way you'll reach for the filling, low-calorie foods first if you're still hungry and get more nutrients in the process.) Immediately put away leftovers after you've dished out your portion. As Geier says, What's out of sight is out of mind.

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