While healthy eating and exercise are the best ways to stay in good shape, sometimes we could all do with a little helping hand. If you're bored of conventional diet advice and fancy trying something new, check out these seven strange tricks that will help you to lose weight.
Weight loss trick 1: Eat in front of a mirror
Researchers from Arizona State University and Erasmus University Rotterdam found that watching ourselves eat can be a powerful trigger to consume less. During their experiments, the researchers placed a mirror in front of participants and found that those eating in front of a mirror consumed less food. The researchers believe that this is because seeing ourselves eat makes us more aware of our bodies and that we do not want to watch ourselves overeat.
Weight loss trick 2: Choose male eating companions
If you want to cut down on your food consumption when dining out, research suggests that opting for male eating companions could help you to consume less food. Researchers from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the University of Akron found that both men and women consumed fewer calories when dining with men than with women. The researchers believe that this is because we are more aware of our gender when around the opposite sex and women restrict their eating to appear "more feminine" while men eat more around women to appear "more masculine".
Weight loss trick 3: Pay with cash
According to a study by researchers at Cornell and Binghamton Universities, your credit card could be making you fat. While it has been known for a while that we are more likely to splash the cash when we are paying by card than by coins, the study results found that paying with plastic also has disastrous results for your waistline, as people are more likely to buy junk food and 'vice' products - which tend to be impulse purchases - when paying by card. To keep off the pounds and save yourself some money, draw out enough cash for the day and then leave your cards at home.
Weight loss trick 4: Sniff vanilla
Sugar cravings ruining your diet? Then lighting a vanilla candle or spritzing on some vanilla-scented perfume could help to keep you slim. A study at St George's hospital, south London, found that putting vanilla-scented patches on the back of participants' hands significantly reduced their appetite for sweet foods and drinks. It is believed that this is because the smell of vanilla can help to suppress sweet cravings.
Weight loss trick 5: Never eat in your pyjamas
While eating in your pyjamas will not necessarily make you fat (although late-night snacking can certainly be a diet-killer for many of us), wearing loose clothing such as baggy lounge pants and pyjamas can lead you to snack more. This is because baggy clothes give you the illusion of being slimmer and make you think less about your figure. While it is inadvisable to dress in uncomfortably restrictive clothes for your meals, wearing slightly more fitted clothes can help you to think more about your body and is also a better indicator of fat loss or gain than getting weighed on the scales.
Weight loss trick 6: Kit your kitchen out in blue
Blue is not only a perfect calming colour for your bedroom walls, it is also an ideal kitchen colour scheme for those trying to lose weight. It is believed that green and blue shades act as an appetite suppressant (while yellow and red stimulate the appetite) so opt for blue dishes, table cloths or walls in your dining area to help keep your hunger at bay.
Weight loss trick 7: Sign up to Facebook
If you haven't yet got onboard with the Facebook phenomenon, research suggests that signing up to the site could help you to lose weight. With the constant lurking danger of being tagged in an unflattering photo and our fat days being broadcast for all to see, social media sites have become a huge weight loss trigger for many of us. In fact, a study by Fitbit identified unflattering Facebook photos as the new number one weight loss trigger for Brits, overtaking preparing for the beach and not being able to squeeze into a favourite dress as the leading motivation for getting in shape.
Dieting would be oh so easy if it weren’t for those pesky cravings! Luckily, there are many things you can do to make cravings a thing of the past. Put down your fork, step away from the snacks and check out these 10 tips for beating your cravings.
If you experience regular, intense cravings for particular foods, it may be that you are suffering from a nutritional deficiency which your body is trying to address. It is believed that chocolate cravings can stem from a magnesium deficiency, while a lack of chromium in the diet can lead to sugar cravings. Maintaining healthy levels of zinc can also help to regulate your appetite. Make sure you are eating a wide variety of nutritious foods to address any deficiencies in your diet. Check out how to defeat the most common food cravings.
Ever found that your cravings got worse the harder you tried to ignore them? A study published in the journal Appetite has suggested that many people crave the foods that they most attempt to resist. Rather than going cold turkey on your junk food addiction, having a little of what you fancy should help to reduce the temptation to binge on your favourite treats. You could try following the 80/20 rule; eating healthily 80 per cent of the time and being less strict for the other 20 per cent.
Whether your cravings stem from hunger, boredom or lack of motivation, heading out for a run or hitting the gym could help you not to give in. Exercise is not only a great distraction from your cravings, a study led by a researcher at Loughborough University has also found that aerobic exercise can help to suppress your appetite. Furthermore, getting active will help you to feel great about your body, and you wouldn’t want to ruin all that hard work with a junk food binge now would you?
Just because you’ve decided to eat healthily, that doesn’t mean you can never snack again. Rather than giving in to your junk food cravings, try experimenting with healthier alternatives, such as frozen yoghurt or sorbet instead of ice cream, seasoned popcorn rather than crisps and sweet potato wedges instead of fries. Check out these 10 healthy alternatives to the 'bad' foods we love.
If you’re struggling to resist sugar cravings, try investing in a vanilla scented candle or air freshener for your home or wearing a vanilla scented perfume to curb cravings while on the go. A study at St George’s hospital, south London, found that using vanilla-scented patches on the back of participants’ hands significantly reduced their appetite for sweet foods and drinks. It is believed that this is because the smell of vanilla can help to suppress sweet cravings.
Research has found that eating carbohydrates such as pasta, bread and potatoes stimulates the production of the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin in the brain. This may explain why many of us crave these ‘comfort’ foods when we’re feeling down. To cut your cravings, try to find healthier ways to give your serotonin levels a boost, such as meeting up with a friend, watching a comedy movie, taking part in an exercise session or smelling some uplifting essential oils such as neroli or lemon. Check out these 10 ways to boost your happiness.
Just as many of us indulge in comfort eating when we’re feeling down, stress can also be a powerful trigger for cravings. Research from the University of Cincinnati has shown that sodium in salt inhibits the body’s stress hormones, meaning that cravings for salty foods could be your body’s attempt to deal with stress. To overcome these cravings, try to avoid the things that cause you stress as much as you can and make relaxation a regular part of your routine. Find a healthier way to deal with stress when it occurs, such as working out, meditating or talking through your problems with a friend. De-stress and unwind with these top 10 ways to relax.
According to research results published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, your environment can be a powerful trigger for food cravings. Maybe you associate going to the cinema with eating popcorn, for example, or watching your favourite TV show makes you reach for a snack. To banish habit-formed cravings, try to avoid the environments that trigger them. Take up a hobby that reduces your TV time, or walk a different route to work so as not to pass by your favourite coffee shop. By avoiding certain places or activities, you can help to kill those cravings. Check out the 10 most common fat traps and how you can avoid them.
While it may sound counterproductive, if your cravings are really getting on top of you, breakfast could be the perfect time to indulge. Researchers from Tel Aviv University found that participants who ate a 600-calorie breakfast which included dessert lost an average of 40lbs more than those who had a smaller 300-calorie one. This is thought to be because the metabolism is more efficient in the morning, and also because giving into cravings first thing can help to banish them for the rest of the day.
Researchers at the University of Chicago have found that not getting enough sleep affects our appetite-regulating hormones, meaning that we feel hungrier the next day and are also more likely to crave calorie-rich, high-carbohydrate foods. Not only that, lack of sleep decreases willpower, meaning that you are less likely to resist those cravings. To help reduce your cravings, make sure you get a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night. Try these 5 foods to help you sleep.
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