If you've made a New Year's resolution to lose weight, you might have already wiped your pantry clean of baked goods and high-calorie snacks. And that's a good start, but how you eat might be just as important as what you eat when you're trying to lose weight.

Weight-loss wisdom has it that slowing down during a meal can help you eat less because it gives your brain more time to recognize that your stomach is getting full, so you don't overstuff yourself. 

And a review of 22 studies that looked at eating speed and food intake published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2014 concluded that eating slowly reduces calorie intake. However, hunger levels were the same at the end of meals and up to 3.5 hours later no matter how quickly or slowly the study subjects ate.

If eating slowly doesn't make you feel fuller, how does it help you eat less? The study authors suggest that flavor and texture become more noticeable, so a smaller amount of food still seems satisfying. Another possibility is that some people might subconsciously associate a certain number of bites with satiety. When you slow down, you might take more bites than you do when you eat quickly, but consume less food.

In addition to taking more time to eat, focus on your food so you become more aware of the tastes and textures. Pause during meals and check in to see how full you feel so that you can recognize the difference between no longer being hungry and feeling stuffed. And finally, consider the effect emotions have on your appetite. Many people find it easy to gobble down food even when they aren't hungry if they are feeling bored, sad, stressed, or even happy. Recognizing those connections can help you break the emotional eating habit.