Tips, Tricks, And Techniques For Weight Loss


While talking about weight is not my favorite thing in the world, I’ve really been enjoying all the comments and interaction we’ve been having the last couple of weeks that this weight loss series has run. Thank you for taking the time to post here or on AOC’s Facebook page!

Today I’m going into a bit more detail about the last of the five things that helped me to finally lose more weight than I ever have in my adult life: the “rules” I use to keep me on the right track. I realize these will not be the same for everyone, but many are just common sense things that I think we’ve lost sight of in our modern culture. What I hope you gain from these tips is a little more ammunition, in addition to portion control and eating real, full-fat foods, that will help you towards whatever your weight goals may be.

*Note: As I was writing this, I realized I had 12 tips I wanted to share with you – plus explain – and that was making this post get way too long. SO, this is Part 1 – the first six tips. Look for Part 2 tomorrow with the final six tips.*

Here are the first six tips, tricks and techniques that helped me lose weight (in no particular order):

1. Nuts and nut butter. Huh? That’s it? Well, they have been instrumental in warding off hunger. They pack a powerful punch between the satisfying fat and the stick-with-you protein. The key is to eat very small amounts. A few ways nuts have helped me:

  • I carry a small amount of nuts with me at all times so I’m never tempted to buy anything when I’m shopping and missed lunch.
  • I often eat about an 1/8 cup of nuts or a nut butter granola bite with some tea at about 4:00, which sees me through until dinner.
  • I add 2-4 walnuts to my granola every morning to up the protein and Omega-3’s.
  • I add a tablespoon of peanut butter to a half an apple for a snack or at lunch. I’ve found this helps the apple “stick with me” and I’m not hungry so quickly again.

2. Never eat out of a box or a bag. The other half of this rule  tip is not to buy as many bags and/or boxes (which also part of eating more real foods). However, we do buy things like chips or crackers (with only 2 or 3 ingredients) that we eat occasionally. Dried fruit and nuts also count- basically anything I might lose track of, I put in a small bowl or container first to make sure I don’t eat too much before I’ve even thought about it.

This “unthinking” eating has been my downfall my whole life. Did you know your stomach doesn’t register fullness until about 20 minutes after the first bite? Think about how fast we eat in our culture now…and how much we can put away in 20 minutes. Yeah…I know that “oh my gosh, I didn’t realize ate that much” feeling all too well.

Along this same line of thought, at dinner I often serve the salad before I put anything else on the table (as a “first course”) just to get us used to taking a bit longer to eat our meals.

Now…do I really NEVER eat out of a bag? No, I’m a real person and there are times I dip my hand into a bag. But it’s the goal, and I’m often sorry when I’ve forgot it.

3. Drink afternoon tea. And morning tea or coffee. The ability of liquids to fill us up cannot be over-emphasized. Instead of reaching for a snack in the morning around 11:00, I am in the habit of drinking a cup of liquid (usually coffee with milk) at 9:00 or 10:00 which sees me through the “elevenses.”

Likewise, I always have tea around 4:00 each afternoon along with a small snack (much smaller than I would’ve had in the past), and together they fill me up and satisfy my hunger.

What kind? It doesn’t matter – I have my favorite herbal flavors, but I also like a good cup of black tea with milk and a bit of sugar. In the summer I drink iced tea or a spritzer made with one of my fruit syrups and seltzer water. But…I live in Oregon, and there are still times in the summer when a cup of warm tea is just right. Sigh.

In the past year since I’ve become intentional about tea in the afternoon, I’ve come to see it as comforting – it’s warm and I enjoying holding it while reading my email. This is a great change for me, since I’ve spent many years associating food, not liquid, with comfort.

4. Use smaller plates and bowls. I know we hear this one a lot and I used to ignore it. I mean, I have a dish set and I use what I have, right? {wink} Here’s what I found after a trip to a thrift store yielded some small, old restaurant-ware ironstone bowls: a 1/3-cup of granola looks a lot more substantial in a smaller bowl than a bigger one. That was my “duh” moment.

And we have to get past our cultural “bigger is better” mentality. I’ve heard others talk about new dishes not being able to fit into cupboards and silverware that hardly fits into drawers. When we needed new everyday flatware a couple of years ago, I brought home three different patterns before giving up and buying a vintage (1980’s) set on Ebay. Why? The forks were so large I felt like I was going to stab myself. The “teaspoons” were now the size of soup spoons. And it all looked incredibly silly with my vintage (1940’s) dishes.

Is it any wonder that a “normal” sized portion looks tiny on these new plates?

5. Use measuring cups. Especially for cereals. And “prep bowls.” They look like this:

I was given a set of similar bowls a number of years ago which I used sporadically, but in the last year the smaller bowls in the set have become something I use almost daily. They’re like a bowl, so I don’t feel like I’m “measuring” my food, but they help me know just how many nuts it takes to fill 1/8 cup. Or dried cherries. Or chocolate chips (yes, I eat chocolate chips sometimes…more on that later).

And it’s been eye-opening. What I thought was “just a handful” or “a little bit” before was, well…not.

6. Listen to your stomach, but don’t eat every time hunger occurs. If you’re hungry 30 minutes before a meal, it means you’re ready for the meal- drink water or tea to tide you over. Or maybe a couple of nuts (but just a couple).

Sometimes, if I’ve eaten lightly at dinner (the goal, *a-hem*), I will feel hunger at 9:30 or 10:00 at night. I’ve learned to ignore it and use it as my signal to go to bed. By the time I’m reading in bed, the hunger is gone.

It’s OK to be hungry sometimes. When I’ve gotten into the habit of putting something in my mouth every time I’ve felt hunger in the past, I ended up eating too much throughout the day. The worst is when I’ve eaten a big snack and then am not hungry for dinner. But it’s a meal I really like. So I eat anyway. Which is…guess what? Yep, overeating.

So yeah…learn to listen to your stomach, eating when hungry and stopping when you’re full (at the first sign of fullness). But don’t let your hunger control you. Thankfully, most of us know another meal is close at hand.


Read the entire series on Losing Weight with Real Foods:

Make sure you don’t miss a post! Get email updates from An Oregon Cottage or subscribe by RSS.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing something through a link, it helps support An Oregon Cottage!


  1. says

    Nice tips…all very useful. I should get into the habit of carrying snack baggies of nuts. Definitely can’t grab a jar of nuts and keep to the appropriate amount 😉

  2. says

    I love number 6! How often do I mistake hunger for boredom? Nothing to do? Eh, may as well eat something then….Badbadbad! Great tips and a great series.

  3. Thoughts for the day says

    I LOVE this series. Need to lose 15 pounds at the most so this is going to help me and also need to change my cholesterol scores, (not sure what to do about that) It has to be genetic not diet since my ‘diet’ is pretty good. I love the fact that you integrate nuts and real ‘food’ as in butter and other things they always say to stop eating. We left margarine years ago and only use butter, and real cream in moderation.

  4. Anonymous says

    I can’t see the picture of your prep bowls – do you have a link you could share to buy them online?

    • says

      I just added the text along with the image from Amazon to make it easier to see. I hope that helps- I had a hard time finding a set that had the smaller bowls I use all the time, (that was a decent price), so I want to make sure you all can see what I’m talking about. :-)

  5. Alissa says

    Okay, I’ve only read two articles, but I love this blog!! So many real food blogs don’t talk about losing weight, and so many weight loss sites use artificial stuff posing as food. This is awesome. Love it! Thank you so much. It’s just what I was looking for!

    • says

      Thank you, Alissa, for letting me know – I’m SO very glad my story and tips are resonating with you and hope it results in a healthy weight for you as it does for me. :)

  6. Ella howell says

    Good website. I just wanted to share this, long ago I went for my yearly checkup. The doc said my chlosterol numbers were to high. I told her that I would work on it. When I left I was so angry because I had watched everything I ate. I ate all low or no fat etc. so I was angry and decided that if what I was doing wasn’t working then I was going to eat what ever I wanted and any and every food! I went back awhile later expecting to get jumped on by the doctor. Imagine my surprise when she said everything looks good WHAT DID you do? I said I ate anything I wanted ha. I am older now and cannot eat all I want so thanks for all the good advice

  7. christine says

    Thank you for sharing your journey to better health. I’m feeling challenged about my food portions. I like what you had to say about that and not eating every-time I feel a ping of hunger. I’m needing to lose about 15 pounds. I’m 50 soon to be 51 so I better get started today!! Thank you again :)

    • says

      I’m glad you found it helpful, Christine! It’s a constant battle over food portions for me…they slowly get bigger and bigger until I’m up a few pounds and I realize I’ve got to reign them in again, ha! It’s not a quick fix, but it’s a lasting one as long as we realize it’s not something we stop doing, but just a lifestyle we manage. :)

  8. says

    These are all such good ideas and they’ve worked for me in the past two. Right now I’m in the “out of good habits” mode…you are reminding of some of my favorites.

  9. says

    I, also, have found drinking tea or coffee in the afternoon to be helpful. I bought myself a tassimo machine so that I could have a fat free latte at 4pm. Now I just have to remember to use it instead of searching out the cheese & crackers. So glad I found your site and these posts! :)

    • says

      Glad they’re helpful to you, Nita! Yes, there is something so weird about turning 50 – why do our bodies have this clock? 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>