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Sneaky Weight Loss Tricks That Actually Work, According to Science

Clever little ways you can help turbocharge your weight-loss efforts.

If you're working hard to drop those extra five or ten pounds, you're probably well aware of the fact that you should focus your diet on the quality of the foods you're eating and not necessarily the quantity. You probably also know that you should cut back entirely on insidious added sugars, processed foods, and refined grains—while concentrating your shopping list on an influx of whole foods and colorful veggies. Stay hydrated and exercise, and you're well on your way to watching the pounds melt away.

But there are a lot of little tricks—many sneakily effective—that can help give your weight-loss efforts a much-needed assist along the way. We're talking about little clever hacks, surprising mental tricks, and other next-level weight-loss tactics that can help you finally reach your goals quicker and more effectively than you ever knew. To know what they are, read on—we've listed at least five of them right here. And if you're hungry for more expert-backed ways to lose weight fast, don't miss these 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips.

Fidget while you're watching TV

woman in pajamas staying up late at night eating pizza and watching tv

Leading scientists have made a remarkable discovery in recent years: When your muscles aren't moving at all—even for short periods—your metabolism may be taking a breather.

Here's why: A remarkable study published in the journal PLOS One examined the role of myosin, a motor protein in animal cells that is crucial to muscle function and metabolism. The researchers ultimately discovered that for many animals, myosin simply shuts off when muscles are inactive for even short periods of time. (The researchers noted that this is an evolutionary hunting tactic for many animals, such as spiders, who require a "sit-and-wait" strategy in which they conserve energy while waiting for prey.) But here's the thing: We humans have myosin, as well.

The breakthrough has led weight-loss experts to preach the merits of not only performing high-intensity exercises and running 10ks but also of simply swinging your arms or fidgeting if you're relaxing on the couch. "Moving throughout the day is important, says Clyde Wilson, Ph.D., of Stanford University. "Because a simple twitch from your nervous system to muscle is what gets you out of [that inactive] state." So even if you're being lazy, keep moving—and keep burning fat!

Watch yourself eat in front of a mirror

man eating dinner sitting on white couch

According to a study published in The Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, eating your food in front of a mirror can actually help you alter your eating habits for the better. "After eating unhealthy food in front of a mirror, individuals experience the discomfort of acting against the standards of healthy eating," the researchers write. "We argue that people attribute this discomfort to the food's taste since it is difficult to attribute the discomfort to the self while being self-aware." So if you really want to hold yourself accountable, watch yourself eat that greasy Seamless order! And for more amazing ways to lose weight, see these 25 Amazing Weight Loss Tips from Doctors!

Shop on a full stomach

produce shopping

Buying groceries on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Research has shown it inhibits your ability to make smart choices about what you wish to eat. In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that even short-term fasts can lead people to make more unhealthy food choices, picking a higher quantity of high-calorie foods. Want to ensure you buy healthy foods? Fill up before you shop!

Opt for athleisure clothing

friends walking

It may feel like years since you've had to wear business clothing. Well, that may not be the worst thing for your waistline, as more casual attire has been shown to come with some sneaky weight-loss benefits. A study by The American Council on Exercise suggests that wearing less-dressed-up clothing increases physical activity levels in our daily routines.

Ditch the white plates!

white dinner plate set with gold edge, monogrammed kitchen items

A study published in The Journal of Consumer Research found that the color of your eating surface matters just as much as the portion size of the food that may be on it. The researchers discovered that high color contrast between your food and your plate means that you're all but guaranteed to eat less. Study participants who ate off white plates weren't so fortunate: They ate 22% more food than those who ate off plates that were red in color! And no matter what color your plates are, make sure you're always avoiding these 50 Worst Foods for Weight Loss.

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