8 Weight Loss Tips That Have Nothing to Do with Diet or Exercise

Article posted in: Lifestyle
weight loss tips

Sad but true: To lose weight, you’re going to have to start paying more attention to what you put on your plate. And you’re probably going to need to break a sweat here and there, too. But the good news is there are other diet- and exercise-free things you can do to enhance your weight loss results. Here are eight scientifically proven weight loss tips, which have very little to do with diet or exercise:

1. Listen to your favorite music.
Studies have found that picking music at the right tempo can make you work out harder without you even realizing it. In one Fairleigh Dickinson University study, walkers who were music lovers lost twice as much weight as those who walked without listening to tunes. But music can also boost the brain chemicals that keep you calm and fight stress and depression—important news if you’re an emotional eater. It’s even better if you can dance to it. A study published in The International Journal of Neurobiology found that people involved in 12 weeks of dance had higher levels of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and lower levels of the stress chemical, cortisol.

2. Get a good night’s sleep.
Sleeping fewer than seven hours a night can make you gain weight and have more trouble taking it off than people who get more shuteye, according to Columbia University research. Another study found that people who get enough sleep have a five percent higher metabolism—the amount of calories they burned when they weren’t moving—than people who don’t. That means more calories burned while you’re sleeping! Doesn’t get much easier than that.

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3. Hide your food.
People who store their breakfast cereal on the counter weigh more than 20 pounds more than people who keep it hidden, according to Brian Wansink, PhD, director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab and author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life. He recommends keeping tempting foods in the kitchen cabinet and off the counter so you don’t overindulge. He’s also found that people whose kitchens were cluttered snacked 44 percent more than those whose kitchen counters were clear. Cleanliness = successful weight loss.

4. Keep your fridge health-friendly.
In Wansink’s studies, people who moved their fruits and vegetables out of the crisper to the top shelf of the fridge (and shifted less healthy foods to the crisper) ate three times more fruits and vegetables than they did when the foods were hidden from view. That’s good—produce is low in calories and high in fiber and water, both of which will make you feel fuller longer.

5. Use smaller plates.
Two ounces of meat or chicken looks awfully small on the 12-inch (or larger) plates we use today. This optical illusion is what makes you want to eat more when you consume a meal on larger dinnerware, says Wansink in a study published in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. In previous studies, Wansink and his colleagues found that people tend to eat an average of 92 percent of what’s on their plates. Trim-down takeaway: If the plates are smaller, you’ll eat less but think you’re eating more. That’s what we call a weight loss win-win.

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6. Change the color of your plates.
In another Cornell study, people tended to eat far more if the color of their food matched the color of their plate. For example, they served themselves 30 percent more pasta Alfredo if their plate was white than if it was red. And you can use plate color to trick yourself not only into eating less high-calorie food but also to eat more good-for-you food like salad. That’s right—green plates make you eat more green food.

7. Mute those commercials.
Remember that TV ad for a fast-food restaurant that blared out, “Aren’t you hungry?” while showing you a glistening burger and fries? It made you hungry. At least, that’s what the science says. Experimental studies at Yale University found that food advertising on TV increases snacking so significantly in both kids and adults that even just a half hour of viewing a day could be responsible for a weight gain of 10 pounds a year. When the food ads come on, hit the mute button or, better yet, use commercial time to do a few exercises. (And maybe stay away from your favorite cooking show, too!)

8. Practice slow eating.
It’s more than just chewing slowly. It’s about avoiding the fast-paced, eating-on-the-run style we’ve all developed as our lives have gotten busier. A 2014 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reported that women who ate at a slow pace, under relaxed conditions, reported feeling less hungry than when they ate at their usual high speed. Most even ate less at the meal. So sit down at the table, eat slowly and enjoy.