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1. Try using smaller plates for weight loss.
This may seem odd, but eating off of a smaller dish tricks your brain into thinking that your food portion is actually larger than what it is.
A study conducted by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab found that by switching out 12 inch plates for 10 inch ones, subjects consumed 22 percent less food per meal.
In addition to changing up plate sizes, there’s one more way to cut the calories by swapping out your dishes.
2. Switch to blue plates.
This may seem even weirder, but studies have shown that blue plates can actually lead to reduced food consumption.
How? A blue plate contrasts sharply against food, causing portions to appear bigger (just like smaller plates).
However, if your plate matches the color of the food you could end up eating more than normal.
Researchers found that people who ate off of a red plate ended up consuming more spaghetti and marinara sauce (red sauce) compared to eating it off of a white plate.
3. Don’t eat straight from the bag.
Mindlessly eating chips out of a bag is a guaranteed way to overindulge. Try to put whatever snack food you’re going to have into a container where it is easily visible.
If you want to go the extra weight loss mile, try dividing up your snack into individually portioned bags. You can even do this ahead of time to make sure your portions are consistent.
Seeing what you’re about to eat helps you realize what is an acceptable size for a snack and prevents excess calorie consumption before you realize you’re full.
4. Keep junk food hidden.
An experiment conducted by the Journal of Obesity found that people ate less candy from a bowl when it was opaque or covered in comparison with a glass, uncovered bowl.
How do you use this to help your weight loss goals? Keep junk food behind healthy food in the pantry or put it on a higher, harder to reach shelf.
That way you will only eat it when you really want a treat.
5. Make healthy food easy to find.
The candy bowl study found that people tend to eat food that’s easily visible. You can use this same principle to help yourself eat more of the right food (healthy food).
Set up your refrigerator like a mullet: Business in the front, party in the back. Keep the healthy food in plain sight and push the junk food to the back.
A similar study found that when given the choice between a healthy food and unhealthy food, people ate more of whatever was closer to them… not what was considered “tastier”.
6. Get serious about sleeping.
For some, this may be more difficult than others. But getting a restful night of sleep can be very important in keeping weight down.
Improved mood, better performance at work, and reduced stress levels go hand in hand with getting your full 8 hours.
Studies have shown that people who sleep less are more likely to be overweight because they typically feel hungrier than those who sleep more.
Why? When you miss out on sleep, you have less energy which needs to be supplemented by eating more calories, making weight loss more difficult.
7. Chew your food.
This is pretty easy: spend more time chewing your food than trying to swallow it whole.
Chewing carefully will cause you to eat much slower resulting in less calories consumed.
It takes the human body some time to figure out when it’s full. Proof of this is feeling “stuffed” after a big meal.
You didn’t really feel that way while you were eating, but it hits you 10-15 minutes afterwards.
8. Avoid TV commercials.
We learned that keeping junk food out of sight will keep it out of your mouth, so it makes sense that seeing food on commercials will cause the same issues.
Research found that TV advertisements featuring food caused viewers to snack much more than normal.
People watching weren’t necessarily eating what was being promoted, but they were eating more snack foods in general.
Additionally studies have shown that even watching cooking shows has been linked to heightened risk for obesity.
9. Don’t drink soda regularly.
Soda is honestly one of the worst possible foods you can consume.
In addition to increasing risk of obesity and diabetes, it can contribute to many other health problems.
It is a major source of “empty calories” that continues to plague diets of overweight people spanning the globe.
10. Eat before going grocery shopping.
Food psychologists at Cornell University recently conducted a study where they found that eating a filling, healthy snack before buying groceries helps shoppers cut down on junk food purchases.
Put the cookie down and grab some veggies instead. You’ll have increased self esteem and are more likely to make healthier food choices.
11. Hang out with positive people
In addition to making you happier, avoiding negative people can also have a big impact on your weight loss.
This is even more true if your group of friends are the type to criticize your appearance.
A study found that women who received words of encouragement about their bodies tended to maintain or even lose weight.
Those who were spoken to negatively about their body ended up actually gaining weight.
If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all, right?
12. …And people who exercise self control.
Research suggests that people who tend to have self control when it comes to food can pass it on to their group of friends.
This applies to unhealthy eaters as well, who may be hurting more than just themselves with their choices.
Good or bad, food habits are contagious in small groups.
If you’re trying to shed a few pounds, hang out with friends that make healthier food choices.
13. Sit down while you eat.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but sitting instead of standing while you eat can actually cut down on mindless eating.
Research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that moving from the kitchen counter to a table helps you to eat at a slower pace.
Eating at a slower pace results in fewer calories consumed since your body has more time to figure out whether it’s full or not.
This can help in weight loss or increased ability to lose weight.
14. Play games to curb food cravings.
If you feel a junk food craving coming on, try diverting your attention to something else.
Playing a quick game of Tetris or exercising your mind with a Sudoku puzzle can distract you long enough until the craving passes.
Research suggests that visual tasks such as puzzles or games are great for reducing cravings, because the cravings themselves tend to be visual as well.
By occupying your mind with different imagery, you’re replacing the craving with a new visual.
15. Take time to relax.
Stress is one of the leading causes of weight gain, so it’s good to take time to relax a little bit in the pursuit of weight loss.
Try to find the cause of stress in your life and help reduce it through stress relieving activities:
Spend time with your friends, talk to a therapist, exercise, listen to music, or even take a nap.
16. Use tall, skinny glasses for drinks.
The Cornell University Food and Brand Lab found in a recent study that people tend to pour 30 percent more liquid into short, wide glasses when compared to tall, skinny ones.
It’s not on purpose, the short glasses cause people to overestimate how much they’re pouring.
Over-indulgence of alcohol can really hurt weight loss efforts, so keep those cocktails in tall glasses.
17. Avoid leisure wear.
Sweats and yoga pants may be comfortable, but clinical psychologist Katie Rickel says it could be hurting your weight loss goals:
“Wearing stylish clothing that makes you feel attractive – as opposed to comfy sweats and lounge wear that hide your body – will encourage you to eat in a way that shows you care about your appearance and your body.”