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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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