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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
Kit your kitchen out in blue
Blue is not only a perfect calming color for your bedroom walls, it is also an ideal kitchen color 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.
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.
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