8 mind tricks to help you lose 8lbs in 8 weeks!
You may think Percy Pigs and pavlova are the biggest threat to your hip-to-waist ratio, but the real dangers are even closer to home. In fact, they’re in your head.
1. Less choice means less fat
Variety may be the spice of life but it can also be the scourge of your diet. Studies have shown that the more different types of food on your plate, the more you’ll eat. “Mixed flavours stimulate the brain’s hypothalamus region to produce more neuropeptide Y, a hormone that increases appetite,” says Dr David Katz, a food scientist at Yale University. Which means that if all your food follows a predictable “theme”, you’ll be less likely to gorge. So instead of, say, baked beans with your morning scrambled eggs, add a third of a bag of spinach and then split the rest of the leaves between your lunchtime chicken salad and pasta dinner.
Calories cut: 350 at least, once you factor in those ditched carbs.
2. Lighten up, get lighter
“Get outdoors as much as possible, especially on bright days,” says food psychologist Dr Christy Fergusson. It helps to combat a craving for carbohydrates, caused by the shorter days and dipping serotonin levels during winter. De-light-ful.
Calories cut: 110, just by forgoing your mid-morning sugary tea and chocolate HobNob hit.
3. Scrap your belly with your brain
“The majority of people eat more food than they realise,” says food behaviour scientist Dr Brian Wansink, from New York’s Cornell University. Rewind to what you had for your last meal and calculate what you actually ate. Psychologists at the University of Birmingham discovered that even three hours after having eaten, thinking about what you had consumed earlier in the day reduces your calorie intake and cuts the urge to reach for sugary snacks by mid-afternoon. Come 3pm, the Kit Kats will remain in the biscuit tin. Well, that’s the theory anyway…
Calories cut: 300, by successfully resisting the call of the mid-afternoon chocolate break.
4. Turn on the box, turn off hunger
Switch on Songs of Praise. A US study found boring TV suppresses appetite, while more entertaining telly makes us eat up to 44% more. Meanwhile, don’t even think about tucking into dinner in front of MasterChef. Research at New York’s Hobart and William Smith Colleges shows viewers are more likely to munch on junk food while watching a cookery show compared with a nature one. Countryfile it is then.
Calories cut: 1,160 – that’s half a medium-size Domino’s pepperoni pizza averted just by pulling the plug on Gregg Wallace’s smug face. (We reckon it’s good for your soul, too, but the scientific evidence is, as yet, unconfirmed.)
5. Change colour, drop calories
Try serving your dinner on a blue plate – the colour unconsciously caps your appetite because it doesn’t occur naturally in food. Psychologists in New York also found that dinner party guests ate 33% less when they dined in a room that was decorated blue.
Calories cut: 500 at least, if you eat all your main meals off blue crockery.
6. Chow down to tone up
Make sure you pay especially close attention to all the different tastes and textures of your food for the first three bites you take of every meal. “And chew each of those three bites for around 10 seconds each,” says clinical meditation consultant Andy Puddicombe, author of The Headspace Diet. “That 30 seconds will help to boost feelings of satiety and promotes a sense of satisfaction.” In fact, clever researchers at the University of Rhode Island have discovered slowing down your chewing decreases your calorie intake by 10%. Now that’s fast work.
Calories cut: 200, just by eating that tub of Ben & Jerry’s in slow mo.
7. Sitting right to eat light
Shrink your bottom by plonking it down on a chair. “You need to sit and listen to your body to decide what and how much food you need,” says Puddicombe. People who sit and eat their meals at a table actually consume fewer calories at their next meal than people who snack on the go, according to a study by the University of Toronto. Another tip: the next time you’re at a buffet-style restaurant or event, try sitting in a booth or choose a chair that’s far away from the food and tricky to reach. The awkward seating arrangement will make grabbing seconds (or thirds) less likely. Sneaky.
Calories cut: 200 saved at dinner simply by sitting down for lunch.
8. Draw the line at overeating
Like us, you probably find it hard to stop before you can see the bottom of the crisp packet. Luckily, researchers at the University of Cornell have come up with a novel way to help. They found simply creating visible portion markers on family size food packs significantly reduces overeating by acting as subconscious stop signals. “Try drawing a portion mark on the side of your tube of crisps or put them in a bowl to let your brain know when you’ve had enough,” says Dr Fergusson.
Calories cut: 680, by eating just one of the 6.6 servings in a 165g tube of crisps.
Source: Women’s Health