Everyone knows the common, often-repeated weight loss strategies like eating breakfast, eating small meals in the evenings, drinking lots of water, exercising, and choosing the right types of food. If you want some more tips, or if your psychology does not play along terribly well with the conventional strategies, you are not out of options.
Re-Establish the Family Lunch and Dinner
People who eat slowly eat less than those who eat fast. Your body needs at least 20 minutes from the moment you put something into your mouth to make the announcement that you are full, via the hormone leptin. If you eat fast, you can stuff an enormous amount of food in before your body catches up with releasing leptin. Try savouring each and every mouthful and really focusing on how the food tastes and how well you have chewed it, as this will start teaching you to eat more slowly, helping you to eat less.
Avoid Multi-Tasking While Eating
Research shows that you should not multi-task while eating. People who eat while playing computer games or watching television eat more than those who eat without distractions. This could be because they concentrate almost completely on something other than their bodies' satiety messages, and/or because the game or television program determines the length of time that they will continue to eat.
Considering that the average British person spends five hours per day watching television, that is indeed a lot of eating. In other words, family dinner should not include monopoly or business planning, just peaceful conversation.
Get Enough Sleep
Many studies have shown that people who chronically sleep less than six out of every 24 hours tend to put on weight because they have lower levels of leptin, the satiety hormone, and higher levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Follow every tip you can find to overcome insomnia. Eat a small snack before bed, remove computers and televisions from your bedroom, maintain a regular schedule with the same rising and bed times, reduce or cut caffeinated drinks, and refrain from hard work and exercise in the evenings. If there is still a shortfall, make it up by napping in the afternoon.
Wear Tight Clothes
People who eat in loose-fitting pyjamas or baggy pants and sweaters have the luxury of hiding their weight from themselves. If you wear miniskirts, strappy tops, tight-fitting jeans or swimming costumes, you do not have that luxury. This holds especially while you are eating, because you will be partly focussed on your body and eat less as a result. It also applies outside meal times, however. The more you think of your body, the more motivated you will be to keep the weight off. For similar reasons, researchers recommend that you eat in front of the mirror, because people do not like watching themselves over-eat, especially not while they are aiming to achieve a healthy body weight.
Buy Food with Cash
Researchers have known for ages that people who use credit cards buy more unnecessary luxuries than those who use cash. It turns out that people who use credit cards also buy more food than those with cash. As if that is not bad enough, they are also more likely to engage in impulse buying, which is almost inevitably of unhealthy foods when, for example, walking past the deli or bakery. This is due to an effect that psychologists call mental accounting. When we use cash, we think of the money we spend as "real money." When we use a credit card, we do not have the sensation of losing money, which makes us spend more than we would have if we had paid with "real money."
Stick Pictures of Low-Calorie Food to the Fridge
Researchers have found that people who looked at pictures of low-calorie food make healthier food choices than people who looked at pictures of high-calorie food. This may be a result of being subtly reminded of weight loss or healthy weight maintenance goals, but researchers believe that it is chiefly caused by the brain's reward centres lighting up when viewing pictures of high-calorie food.
Eat with the Opposite Sex
We all eat less when we eat with the opposite sex. Women eat less when they eat with men than when they eat with women, probably because they want to appear more feminine. Men, on the other hand, are a bit more complicated. They also eat less when they are with women, but only if these are unfamiliar women. They are not influenced by the gender of women that are known to them.
Eat Off medium-Sized Plates
If you struggle to eat small portions, pack up your large plates and donate them to a charity. Buy medium-sized plates or bowls that can hold only medium-sized portions. To prevent you from dishing up seconds, dish up for the family and remove the food from the table. You can, of course, still walk to the kitchen and fetch more, but the more effort it requires, the more likely your rational self will kick in and argue against it. Interestingly, researchers have even discovered that people who eat off red plates eat less, but this unconscious association between a red plate and a stop sign may not hold now that you are aware of it.
Eat Spicy Food
Peppers and curry are healthy and alkalising. To add to their appeal, they may make you lose weight. Some research shows that they can increase your resting metabolic rate for about half an hour after your meal, but the other benefit is the speed at which you eat them. If a meal is spicy, you tend to eat slower and you drink water in-between. This gives your body the time the secrete leptin to make you feel full.
Take a Vitamin or Mineral Supplement
Some studies show that those who take a vitamin or mineral supplement put on less body fat than those who take nothing or a placebo. It is possible that the latter groups continue to eat because their bodies lack some essential vitamin or mineral and do not want to send the satiety signal until that need is satisfied. If you ensure that your body has all necessary vitamins and minerals, your body's satiety signals may function properly.
Plan Your Meals
People who plan their meals and snacks and visualise themselves sticking to these plans are more likely to lose weight than those who have only vague plans. Thus, sit down at the beginning of the week, plan your meals, shop for all the ingredients, and imagine yourself eating the right meals and snacks. Create the possible scenarios in your head and visualise them. Visualise yourself saying no to offers of snacks. Visualise yourself packing your water, healthy lunch, and snacks in the morning before work. Record one of your exercise sessions and put some of those images on your phone as wallpaper.
Anticipate temptations and avoid them. Ask for water even before you sit down in a restaurant; it makes it less likely that you will order a high-calorie, nutrient-lacking sugary drink. Examine the menu before you go to the restaurant and select your meal before you arrive. Carry water and healthy snacks with you so that you can always refuse offers of fattening snacks and drinks. Shop only for the food on your meal plan so that only those foods are available in your kitchen.