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 youâ€™re bored of conventional diet advice and fancy trying something new, check out these 8 strange tricks that will help you to lose weight.
POP A VITAMIN
In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers assigned 96 obese women to take a multivitamin, calcium supplement, or placebo for 26 weeks. The vitamin group wound up with significantly less body fat than the others. “It’s possible that some people eat more because they’re seeking out certain nutrients,” says Louis J. Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Although taking a vitamin alone isn’t a valid weight-loss plan, he says, doing so might reduce the need to consume as much food.
SIT IN THE RIGHT SPOT
Happy hour cocktails or dinners out are essentially invitations to overeat. Snag a spot at the end of the table if you can, because “the center seats are where the bread, chips, and other sharing plates usually wind up,” says psychologist Stephen Gullo, author of The Thin Commandments Diet (Rodale).
TURN OFF THE LIGHTS
Experiencing more darkness at night could make your body lighter. Researchers at Ohio State University found that mice who sleep in total darkness are far less prone to obesity than those who snooze in bright light or dim illumination (e.g., a TV screen). Laura Fonken, a neuroscience student who led the study, says that the mice who slept with light exposure ate at odd times (the equivalent of late-night eating).
GIVE UP GUILT
After an unhealthy meal, don’t give yourself a hard time, says Kristin Neff, an associate professor of human development and culture at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Self-Compassion (William Morrow). Dieters are prone to overeating in response to stressâ€”including guilt about what they’ve eaten.
WATCH LESS TV
The average adult spends a whopping five hours a day in front of the television. When researchers used an electronic lock-out system to force television hounds to watch 50 percent less, the participants burned an average of 119 more calories per day.
Food that revs your metabolism sounds like the stuff of late-night infomercials. But Bauer notes that unprocessed whole foods “require more energy to break down and digest than refined foods, so you burn more calories when you eat them.” Simple swapsâ€”brown rice instead of white, an apple instead of bottled juiceâ€”can make a significant difference over time in overall body fat.
EAT OFF SMALL PLATES
An ice-cream buffet was the setting for one study led by Brian Wansink, director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab. Nutrition professors and grad students were given either 17- or 34-ounce bowls and two- or three-ounce scoops. People with the oversize bowls served themselves about 31 percent more than the small-bowl groups did. And those who had big scoops and big bowls served 57 percent more than those with small ones.
When researchers put a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a bowl of soup, people ate 60 fewer calories at the next meal on average, compared to people who ate plain soup with or without a cayenne-pepper pill, according to the study at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Scientists say cayenne seems to rev metabolism when consumed in food, as opposed to pill form.-Allure