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40 Weight Loss Tips Backed By Science

40 Weight Loss Tips Backed By Science

Most weight loss diet tips center around food and exercise. Now new studies are indicating that there may be a lot more to weight loss than we think. Here are 40 weight loss tips backed by science which you may not know about. More research may have to be done before these become mainstream but they could work well for you, so why not give it a shot?

Mindset and lifestyle.

1. Tidy your desk.

Yes, the state of your desk will affect whether you make a healthy snack choice or not! One study at the University of Minnesota shows that it not only helps in making wise food choices but also in making good business decisions.

2. Decorate your fridge with low calorie food pictures.

Experts now tell us that low calorie food pics or photos can have a beneficial effect in keeping us on track when we get those awful cravings. They help to remind us of our weight loss goals. Food image viewing has been investigated and is reported in the Appetite Journal. Research shows that images of high calorie foods has the opposite effect.

3. Write motivating notes.

Make sure you put these two notes on your computer screen, desk or wherever you spend a lot of time.

  • Stay focused!
  • Never give up!

Studies show that motivation is an important element in any weight loss program.

4. Think long term.

You are not just counting calories or measuring inches. You are in this for the long term health benefits. Remind yourself that heart disease, blood pressure and diabetes are less of a threat if you keep at it.

5. Wear your workout clothes when shopping.

Researchers at Northwestern University have found that wearing certain clothes will help you with your thought process in keeping your fitness goals. They call this phenomenon ‘enclothed cognition’.

6. Take a multivitamin.

The International Journal of Obesity published a study on obese women who took a daily multivitamin. They did better on losing body fat than those in the placebo group. This study suggests this simple trick may help you to eat less as your body does not feel the need for so many nutrients via your food intake.

7. Don’t lock away your beach wear.

Keep these in view as they can aid in keeping your mindset laser sharp on your weight loss objectives. According to Joshua C. Klapow a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, you may have to ask yourself a question such as: ‘If I stop my diet, how will I look or feel in six months from now?’ when you feel motivation shrinking. This will help you to review the pros and cons.

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8. Download an app.

There are lots of apps for weight watchers. They are great for keeping track of your progress and offer loads of recipe ideas as well as reminders, inspiring quotes, coaching and meetings.

9. Sleep in the dark.

An interesting research at Ohio State University shows that mice who slept in total darkness were less likely to put on weight or snack during the night. Sleeping in total darkness has lots of other benefits such as a more restful sleep, which is why we are not going to get up for a snack.

10. Don’t watch too much TV.

Better keep watching TV to a minimum as the commercials for fattening foods are a temptation you can do without. Most studies show that TV food advertising increases snacking during and after those seductive ads. Children are at an even greater risk.

11. Choose your place carefully at the buffet.

Stephen Gullo gives advice about grazing at the buffet in his book, The Thin Commandments: The Ten No-Fail Strategies for Permanent Weight Loss. He recommends avoiding the center seats as that is where all the bread and chips tend to congregate. The end of the table is a much safer place!

12. Turn down the thermostat.

You use calories to keep warm. Experts now say that you should sleep in a cooler environment as that not only helps you burn a few calories but also you will sleep much better. This was the conclusion of a study at The National Institute of Health Clinical Center.

Exercise.

13. Dress to kill when you workout.

Look good in your workout clothes. Buy a set to last you a week or two so that you always look great. Studies show motivation can increase if you can show off your best features while downplaying those areas that have to be worked on.

14. Stretch while watching a movie.

Use stretching to relax and keep flexible. Some people say that an hour of a yoga type workout can actually burn around 300 calories.

15. Use a stand-up desk.

Any movement will help to burn calories. Also, using a stand-up or treadmill desk will add a few additional health benefits. Anything is better than sitting down all day.

16. Exercise in the morning if you can.

Studies show that when you work out in the morning, you have more energy, work harder and get better results. Getting your exercise done first thing gives you a great sense of achievement.

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17. Download your favourite music.

Music and exercise make a great pair. Look at what you get. You can feel less pain and tiredness because it distracts you and also increases your metabolism. You will also be in a great mood.

18. Stay hydrated.

Water helps but drinks such as green tea are even better. The experts say that it contains a catechin called EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), which helps to boost your metabolism and that means more calories burnt.

Food.

19. Have a sweet at breakfast!

Weird, no? A study done at Tel Aviv University found that having a good breakfast with something sweet was better for weight watchers than a smaller, healthier breakfast. But there is a great debate on this one. Some dieticians argue that a balanced breakfast is best.

20. Drink some hot water before eating.

The secret here is that this will make you feel fuller more quickly and you will eat less. The University of Nebraska studies on this and other weight loss tips are very interesting and worth reading.

21. Have a snack before you are invited out.

Worried about eating too much at your friend’s place? The best solution is to eat a small yogurt or apple before leaving the house. Research shows that any food with water content is useful before main meals so that you do not ruin your appetite or your diet!

22. Use small plates.

At the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, researchers gave volunteers smaller and bigger bowls. Those who had to eat from the bigger ones were serving themselves generous portions, about 53% more than those with the smaller bowls.

23. Serve food on red plates.

Believe it or not, the color of the plates can make a difference to how much you eat! Volunteers were given red, blue and white plates to use while snacking on popcorn and chocolate chips. Those eating from the red plates ate less and the reason seems to be that the color contrast is key. It makes us more mindful of how much we are eating. It could also be that red is usually a warning sign.

24. Cut up your food really small.

When you do this, the food takes up more space on the plate. It helps you to keep your portion control in check and it also makes it easier to feel satiated.

25. Put the extra food away immediately.

Let us imagine that you have made lots of food and there will certainly be leftovers as that saves you time. The problem becomes acute if we leave that extra food in view as we are tempted to eat it. As soon as you serve your portions, store the extra food in the fridge or freezer. Out of sight, out of mind!

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26. Eat slowly.

Take time to savor your food. This is impossible when we eat on the go. But at home, wait a few minutes before going on to the second course. This is very useful in giving our bodies the necessary time to signal that we are full. Normally it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to register fullness so the slower we eat, the better. The neuroscientist Jyoti Mishra Ramanathan talks about the importance of learning to really taste our food.

27. Eat spicier food.

Spicy food boosts your metabolism. Look what the researchers found at Purdue University in Indiana. People who had just half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper in their soup ate 60 fewer calories at their next meal than those who had just plain soup. Spicier food also slows down the eating process.

28. Eat more often.

Nutritionists have found that eating six small meals at regular intervals may be much better for us than eating three big ones. But the key issue here is that we have to make sure that we are eating healthy, low calorie food. Eating more often does help with cravings and that is helpful.

29. Eat more often at home.

At home you are much more in control, so it makes good sense. When eating out, you are going to pay a high price in every sense. You will have to grapple with high calorie intake and also processed foods which are not that great. Just think that the average burger has 700 calories, 1,529 mg of salt and 40 grams of fat!

30. Eat carbs in the evening.

This may seem weird because we are supposed to burn these off during the day. But one study at Hebrew University of Jerusalem has found that when one group of obese people were given carbs in the evening, they managed to lose weight and more body fat than those who had them during the day.

31. Drink a glass of wine.

This may appear to go against mainstream thought but there are several studies which show that wine in moderation can actually help with weight loss. The Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston followed 19,000 women for 13 years. Those women who had one or two alcoholic drinks daily had put on less weight than the non-drinkers and heavy drinkers. Nobody knows why but many women who drink a little wine tend to burn more calories after drinking than men.

32. Forget about sweeteners.

Scientists have begun to wonder why sweeteners instead of sugar do not produce any measurable results. They now believe that the digestion system gets confused with the absence of additional calories from the saccharin and it fails to burn any calories at all. Dieters are much better off with natural sugar in fruit and yogurt.

33. Limit your antihistamines.

Joseph Ratliff from Yale School of Medicine has discovered that the typical antihistamines such as Claritin may block certain histamines which are used in the breakdown of fat. You may have to do even more exercise to compensate or consider an allergy shot or corticosteroids.

34. Eat some chocolate.

Researchers at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University have published some interesting research on chocolate and weight loss. They found that the flavonols in dark chocolate may play a role in weight loss. As chocolate also contains sugar and fat, this has to be applied in moderation!

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35. Pay in cash.

Strange as it may seem, paying in cash for food at restaurants may be much better for your weight than using your plastic! Cornell University followed over 2,000 students as they paid for food at their cafeterias. Where students had to pay by cash almost half (42%) made wise food choices. They were also buying more fruit (more than 20%). In the cafeterias where credit cards were only accepted, less than a third (31%) chose nutritious food. Nobody is sure why this happens so more research will have to be done.

36. Ramp up your CLA.

CLA stands for Conjugated Linoleic Acid and it is the most common Omega 6 fatty acid. You can get the best type of CLA from beef and dairy products if they have been grass fed. Numerous studies have shown that CLA can reduce body fat mass while increasing lean body mass.

37. Smell the peppermint.

Another strange fad? Well no, because the theory is that the strong smell may actually distract you from your craving for food. Researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University asked volunteers to smell peppermint oil every two hours for 5 days. They were surprised to find that their hunger levels were way down and they dropped their calorie intake by 3,000 during the experiment.

38. Eat in front of a mirror.

Have you ever watched yourself eat? Probably not, given that dining areas at home are usually full of cupboards and have few mirrors. But researchers at Arizona State University have found that when people ate in front of a mirror, their food intake was much lower.

39. Spray the back of your hand with vanilla.

Having problem with cravings for candies and cakes? One study at St. George’s Hospital in London may provide you with the answer. When the volunteers sprayed the back of their hands with vanilla-scented spray, they found it much easier to control their cravings.

40. Forget the guilt.

If you ever stray from the straight and narrow and treat yourself to something really fattening, forget the guilt! This is the advice from Kristen Neff of the University of Texas and author of Self Compassion. You will only overeat when you are stressed out and guilt causes stress!

Let us know in the comments what tricks you use to keep your weight loss goals.

Featured photo credit: Girl Writing in her Moleskine Diary/ VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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