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Is Your Kitchen Keeping You Fat?

Your kitchen could be standing in the way of those sexy jeans you like to squeeze into.

That's right -- you actually may be able to blame the way your kitchen is set up for some of those hard-to-budge pounds!

And, experts say, food is only part of it.

The style of your plates, glasses, and bowls can seduce you to overeat; so can lighting and temperature.

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"Whether you're struggling to lose weight or just want to eat healthier, the first step is to make your kitchen work for you," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

On The Early Show Friday, ShopSmart magazine Editor in Chief Lisa Lee Freeman noted suggestions from Blatner and dispensed advice on how to put them in play.

We all stock up on fruits and veggies, but they're not necessarily that first thing we grab when we have a craving. Freeman says some simple changes could trick your mind into not wanting those bad-for-you goodies.

Environmental changes, such as keeping those enticing bags of cookies and chips off counters, may seem like a no-brainer, but there are lots of other tweaks you can make that might not be so obvious, she says.

So, go through your kitchen to see which of these other changes you can make to cut calories!:

On the Ceiling

Instead of bright lights around the eating area, use dimmer switches to turn it down a notch.
Very bright lights can arouse the appetite, making you race through meals. Low lighting helps you relax and slow down. Also, go easy on the A/C. The cooler the room, the more you'll eat.

On the table
Instead of using a bouquet of flowers as the centerpiece ...
Try this! Artfully arrange a bunch of seasonal fruits or veggies in a bowl. That will remind you to nibble between meals on healthful stuff. You can also keep a bowl of fruit on a clutter-free countertop or centered on a kitchen island.

On Your Plate

Instead of eating family-style with help-yourself bowls and platters on the table, serve from the stove to make seconds harder to reach. "The only serving dish that should be on the table is the salad bowl," Bl;atner says. To scale back consumed calories even further, downsize your place setting: Big, 12-inch dinner plates and standard dinner forks invite larger portions. Use salad-size plates and forks and you'll eat about 30 percent less," Blatner adds. Also, studies at Cornell University show that you'll probably drink a lot less from a tall, narrow glass than from a short, wide one.

In the Fridge

Instead of keeping fresh fruits and veggies in the crisper, where they keep a little better, put healthy foods such as salad fixings and cut-up fruit for smoothies at eye level. That way, they'll be the first things you see when you open the fridge. "What's in sight will be in your mouth," says Blatner, who calls the crisper the "rest in peace" drawer because anything shoved in it is easily forgotten. So what should we keep there? "All the high-cal, fattening stuff, or at least tuck these items behind the more nutritious choices on shelves," Blatner says.

In the Pantry

Instead of buying cookies, chips, candy, sugary cereals, and other diet un-doers by the case, buy them in smaller packages if you have to keep them around at all. The more you buy in bulk, the more of those foods you'll eat. But you can stockpile to your advantage by buying healthful things -- cans of low-fat soup or fruit salads, for instance -- and moving them to the front of the cupboard within easy reach. Blatner says, "As a guiding rule, convenience and accessibility will help you eat healthier."

At the Table

Instead of watching TV or reading while you eat or prep food, watch the clock! With a clock within view, you can time your meals. According to Blatner, people who take 29 minutes to eat take in about 70 fewer calories than those who rush though meals. Getting lost in a book or TV show can cause you to lose track of how much you're eating. TV programs and commercials can also make you crave fatty, high-cal foods.

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