You can look high and low for a magical pill, squeeze out a few more juice cleanses, or drift from fad diet to fad diet, but at the end of the day, we all know the only way to lose weight is through a healthy diet (or “lifestyle” if you’re not a fan of the D word) and exercise.
And, if you’re already hustling to burn calories and avoiding fat bombs, you may be headed for plateau territory soon. To help you power through, we found ten of the easiest pound-dropping, calorie-torching tricks in the book — totally effortless moves that researchers say promote weight loss … because science! Kick your feet up, click ahead and get ready to drop a few extra pounds.
Sniff green apples, bananas, peppermint or vanilla whenever you’re feeling hungry The Study: Alan R Hirsch at the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation.
The Theory: Smelling “neutral” sweet scents can curb appetite, so when you sniff one of these aromas, your brain is tricked into thinking you’re indulging in a yummy snack.
Keep your bedroom as dark as humanly possible, invest in a sleeping mask and shut your laptop, TV and cell off at least an hour before bed The Study: Ohio State University
The Theory: Neuroscientists found that mice who were exposed to a dim light at night over eight weeks gained 50 percent more weight than mice who slept in complete darkness at night. Why? Those exposed to dim lighting (yes, the blue light that emits from your cell and laptop counts) started eating at odd hours (hello, late-night snacking).
smaller, the better), especially if its a dish you tend to binge on The Study: Boston University
The Theory: We eat more when there’s less contrast between the color of the food and the plate. Few foods are naturally blue, which makes it the calorie-counting plate color of choice It’s also less “stimulating” than yellow and red, colors favored by fast food restaurants for a reason. The size of your bowls and plates is also a factor. Bigger dishes can make a portion look smaller, so you’re more likely to pile on more food.
when you’re eating The Study: Arizona State University/Erasmus University Rotterdam
The Theory: It’s hard to imagine anything more sad than eating alone in front of a mirror, or more bizarre than eating in front of a mirror with other diners at the table. But, if you’re trying to drop a few, watching yourself chow down makes you more aware of your body and forces you to think about the food you’re eating. You’ll eat less, and more healthfully.
Turn your thermostat down to the lower 60s, especially when you sleep The Study: Fiona Johnson of University College London
The Theory: In mildly cold conditions, your body can generate heat without shivering (“non-shivering thermogenesis” if you’re a scientist), and researchers believe that this response has an impact on brown fat. Unlike regular fat, brown fat burns calories like a furnace when it’s activated by non-shivering thermogenesis.
Add a multivitamin to your daily routine The Study: International Journal of Obesity, National Institute of Health and the Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene at Harbin Medical University
The Theory: Researchers haven’t pinpointed individual vitamins that impact weightloss, but they believe that when your body is low on nutrients, your appetite fires up and you overeat as a way to replenish your bod.
Snag an end seat at your dinner parties and happy hours, and shop the outer edge of the grocery store The Study: Various
The Theory: Bread, chips and other high-calorie, carby foods tend to be set at the center of the table at parties/happy hour/dinners, and highly processed and packaged foods hover in the middle aisles of a typical grocery store floorplan. Avoid those center spots at the table or bar, and when you’re grocery shopping, load up your cart from the outer aisles, where the fresh produce, meats, dairy and natural foods are typically shelved.
Season with cayenne, ginger, red pepper flakes, black pepper, turmeric, coriander, garlic powder and cinnamon The Study: Purdue University
The Theory: Spicy spices, like cayenne and black pepper, rev your metabolism and help your body burn more calories through thermogenesis, the production of heat in the body. Spices with strong aromas (like garlic power) or an extra kick (red pepper flakes) also force you to take smaller bites, so you’re more likely to register “full” without overeating. .
Teach yourself to drink wine … in moderation The Study: Brigham and Women’s Hospital
The Theory: Over a 13-year span, researchers found that women who sipped on a glass (or two) a day not only consumed fewer calories, but that women burn more calories after drinking than men do because our bodies have to work harder to metabolize alcohol). Bonus: wine is full of antioxidants that reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
invitees for your outings that involve food The Study: Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the University of Akron
The Theory: Researchers found women (and men!) ate less when dining with men than they did when dining with women. They attribute this to an increased awareness of established gender roles — and be honest, as progressive as you may be, you’re less likely scarf down your fourth slice or order super-sized burrito when there are guys around.
Head to the ATM and withdraw a set amount of cash for the day and leave your credit card at home The Study: Cornell and Binghamton Universities
The Theory: Previous studies have found that, in general, we’re more likely to overspend when paying with plastic because we can’t see the physical money (cash) diminishing. Researchers at Cornell and Binghamton linked this phenomenon to our waistlines, theorizing that junk food purchases are often impulse purchases. When you have a set amount of cash withdrawn, you’re less likely to blow it all on Snickers bars, soda and chips.