We've all set an ideal weight for ourselves — be it for health or aesthetic reasons (we don’t judge). And sometimes to reach that goal weight, we do really extreme or downright dangerous stuff to lose that bit of flab.
Here at ELLE, we believe (as we’ve always) that weight control is all about eating in moderation and exercise, but who says you can’t have a bit of help…from science? Here are some mind-blowingly simple ways to lose weight that you’d never thought of that’re backed by research. Keep reading to find out what they are!
1. Eat sweet stuff
One of the hardest parts of dieting is having to stave off cravings, especially if you’ve got a sweet tooth. But you can give your self-discipline a boost by doing this one delicious thing: Add some sweet treats to your breakfast. We’re not saying you should have ice cream or cake for brekkie, studies have found that eating a small amount of your favourite food for breakfast — be it chocolate chips into your overnight oats or sweetened cereal in your yogurt — can help curb cravings for the rest of the day.
2. Plan the colour of your plate
It’s time to go cutlery shopping. A study published in Oxford University’s Journal of Consumer Research found that the greater the colour contrast between food and the plate it’s served on, the smaller the portion people tend to serve themselves. It works the other way too, so if you want to eat less rice, eat it off a bowl that’s not white; and if you want to increase your intake of greens, serve it in a green bowl.
3. Pay with cash
If you’re trying to eat less junk food, you might want to start paying more visits to the ATM. According to a study by Cornell University, it’s harder for us to resist buying junk food when we pay with our credit or ATM cards instead of cash. This isn’t hard to believe — plenty of research has shown that we are more impulsive when shopping and paying with cards. On the other hand, paying with cash prompts us to think about what we’re spending our money on.
4. Smell your food
People might give you strange looks for this, but trust us, it works. In a study published in science journal Flavour, 10 subjects were given vanilla custard desserts with varying levels of cream aroma. Those that were given more intense-smelling desserts took smaller bites and ate less. So if you want to control the portions of your everyday meals, add aromatic spices and herbs like ginger, basil and rosemary.
5. Drink water before your meals
This might just be the easiest way to control your diet. Drinking a cup or two of water before meals fills you up, so you’ll naturally consume less calories than if you didn’t load up on H2O beforehand. The best part — doing this will also increase your metabolic rate by a whopping 30% within 10 minutes. Who needs the Atkins anymore?
6. Leave your pizza crusts untouched
This tactic, also known as visual portion trackers, is a way to give your brain cues that your meal is done. It works for all kinds of food, like shrimp (keep the tails on your plate) and satay (count your sticks). It’s all about keeping yourself mindful of how much you’ve eaten, so you know when to stop when you should.