We are a society of do-ers. Especially when it comes to weight loss; it’s the ultramarathoners, the uber-vegans, the cleansers, the Crossfitters and the calorie-counters who keep the weight off.
When it comes to health and fitness, sometimes it can feel like you’re doing it wrong if your journey’s not marked by blood, sweat and tears. Or so the diet and fitness industry would have you believe. But we’re here to assure you that working towards a weight loss goal doesn’t have to be crazy difficult. These 11 simple tweaks can help the laziest of dieters drop a few pounds without lifting a finger. Stay in your PJs, throw on some Scandal, and feel smug about your slim-slacker status, while the rest of them slave away on the treadmill. And to eat yourself skinny, don’t miss these 40 Best Foods to Melt Love Handles.
Adopt Eating Rituals
There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s—as long as you have a way that’s yours. Feasting rituals, research suggests, are a form of “mindful eating,” which has the power to make food more pleasurable, and may help prevent overeating. Pleasure, according to research published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, catalyzes the relaxation response, promoting parasympathetic and digestive activities. In other words, you’ll metabolize dessert faster if you really, really enjoy eating it. In one study, participants who were assigned to eat a chocolate bar in accordance with a particular breaking and unwrapping ritual found the candy much more enjoyable—and even more flavorful—than a group who ate the bar informally. It’s exactly what Kourtney Kardashian was going on and on about with how to eat a Kit Kat. (Meanwhile, her sis Khloe cut this food to cut 11 pounds.)
Drink Two Cups
Are you really hungry, or are you actually just thirsty? A study in the journal Physiology & Behavior suggests people inappropriately respond to thirst over 60 percent of the time by eating instead of drinking. Even if you’re not hankering for a thirst-quencher, preloading meals with plain ol’ calorie-free water can shave hundreds of calories from your daily intake. And if plain water sounds boring, you can add some practically calorie-free fresh citrus to create a health-boosting (and flavorful!) detox water. A study published in the journal Obesity found that people who drank two cups of water before eating consumed 75 to 90 fewer calories over the course of a meal than they would otherwise. This may simply be because water is filling, but researchers note the added H20 may well be displacing calories otherwise spent on calorie-laden beverages.
Hide Your Vices
Out of sight, out of mouth? Simply reorganizing your pantry’s “top hits” could translate into serious calorie savings, according to researchers at Google. A study, conducted at the search engine’s New York office dubbed “Project M&M” found that placing chocolate candies in opaque containers as opposed to glass ones, and giving healthier snacks more prominent shelf space, curbed M&M consumption by 3.1 million calories in just seven weeks. A similar study published in the Journal of Marketing found that people are more likely to overeat small treats from transparent packages than from opaque ones. For more easy ways to effortlessly up your willpower, check out these 40 Tips for Motivation—That Actually Work!
Make Like Mrs. Dash
Finishing a meal with grind of black pepper and a sprinkling of fresh herbs isn’t just très gourmet, it’s a double-duty weight loss trick. Recent studies suggest piperine, a powerful compound found in black pepper, has the profound ability to decrease inflammation and interfere with the formation of fat cells, resulting in a decrease in waist size, body fat, and cholesterol levels. As for fresh herbs, a study in the journal Flavour found participants ate significantly less of a wildly aromatic dish than a mildly scented variety. Adding herbs and sodium-free spice blends is an easy take advantage of sensory illusion that you’re indulging in something rich—without adding any fat or calories to your plate.
Enlist Your Best Texters
Hey hottie with a body! Don’t eat more than 1300 cals today! … A recent study published online in Health Promotion Practice found that people who received weekly text reminders of their daily “calorie budget” and motivational emails made healthier meal and snack choices. Solicit a friend to regularly remind you of your diet goals, or take matters into your own hands; set up labeled alarms on your smartphone, so when 6 a.m. rolls around, it’s: You make 1300 cals-a-day look so good!
Bring Your IPod to the Grocery Store
Rocking out to your favorite upbeat tunes while you grocery shop may keep unwanted items out of your cart. According to a well-cited study by Ronald Milliman in the Journal of Marketing, supermarkets intentionally play slow, calming music to reduce turnover. That translates to 38 percent more time in the store, and an additional 29 percent more food in your cart. Stay jazzed and focused with music that puts some pep in your step! Headed to Trader Joe’s this weekend? Find out the Eat This, Not That!: Best and Worst Foods at Trader Joes!
Adopt a Japanese Tradition or Two
Hara hachi bu is a Japanese expression that means “Eat until 80% full,” which, if you put the advice to practice at every meal, translates roughly to a 300 calorie-per-day saving for the average American. It can take up to 30 minutes for the body to register satiety signals, according to research, so consider using chopsticks to slow your pace and feel your fullness. According to a restaurant study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, healthy-weight customers were nearly 3 times more likely to use chopsticks than obese customers.
Tune into Comedy Central
Bust your gut with gut-busting laughter. A genuine belly laugh may cause a 10 to 20 percent increase in basal metabolic rate, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity—which translates to a 40 to 170-calorie burn for every 10-15 minute giggle fest. Laugh your way through a 2-hour comedy every day this week, and lose at least 3.5 pounds by the end of the month! Who’s laughing now? But this isn’t an excuse to watch TV all night, either. Make sure you’re not guilty of these 25 Things You’re Doing to Slow Your Metabolism.
Snack in the Afternoon
Americans are serial snackers. In fact, about two-thirds of adults snack at least twice a day, according to a study by the U.S Department of Agriculture—a habit researchers associate with accumulation of belly fat. But you don’t have to go snackless to snack less. Just watch the clock. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that mid-morning snackers tended to consume more throughout the day than afternoon healthy snacks. Afternoon munching was associated with a slightly higher intake of filling fiber and fruits and vegetables.
Forget the suit and tie, leave the heels at home, and take advantage of every casual Friday. A study by The American Council on Exercise suggests casual clothing, as opposed to conventional business attire, can increase physical activity levels in our daily routines. Participants in the study took an additional 491 steps, and burned 25 more calories, on days they wore denim than when wearing traditional suit wear. That may sound trivial, but the calories add up! Researchers say keeping it casual just once a week could slash 6,250 calories over the course of the year—enough to offset the average annual weight gain (0.4 to 1.8 pounds) experienced by most Americans. Get more insightful a.m. tips with these 30 Best Breakfast Habits to Drop 5 Pounds.
Take a Nap
The best piece of exercise equipment for the lazy dieter? The bed. No, you can’t lovemake your way lean. You can absolutely sleep your way to slender, though. In fact, getting enough quality sleep is crucial for healthy weight loss. A recent study found sub-par sleep could undermine weight loss by as much as 55 percent! Inadequate or broken sleep can throw hunger-regulating hormones out of balance. Ghrelin, the “I’m hungry” hormone, shoots up; leptin, the “I’m full!” hormone, decreases. The result? You’re hungrier, hangrier, and you eat more food.