The advice we often hear for losing weight is to eat less and exercise more, but we all know this is easier said than done. A strict diet regimen can lead to hunger pangs, and intense workouts can lead to post-workout binge eating, especially if we're not disciplined with ourselves. To easily shed a few pounds in a healthy way, make these six sensible changes to your lifestyle:
1. Use Smaller Plates
It’s time to dish out the food in a smaller plate, usually 8 to 10 inches, to curb your appetite. Changing your eating environment by replacing dinnerware can be an effective visual “trick” to encourage healthy eating habits. When the brain sees a large plate with white space surrounding food, it assumes the plate contains less food than a smaller-sized dish with no white space. Therefore, the optical illusion, makes the brain think the body is eating less, making it more likely to want a second serving. A 2005 study found participants who ate in larger bowls of soup consumed 73 percent more than those eating from normal soup bowls. However, these participants neither believed they consumed more nor did they perceive themselves as more sated than those who ate from the normal bowls.
2. Eat off a Blue Plate
It’s important to know what color plate you’ll be using when it comes to effective weight loss. A 2012 study found a high color contrast between food and plate makes you eat less. For example, spaghetti with red marinara sauce blends in on a red plate, but on a white plate, the serving size looks bigger because of the color contrast, although the plates are the same size. The rule of thumb is the more contrast between a plate and food, the less likely you’ll eat more of it. Choose blue plates when eating, since the color has the least appealing blend with food.
3. Choose a Tall and Thin Glass
Size matters when it comes to serving your drinks, especially if it's sugary drinks like juice and soda. People tend to pour less liquid into tall narrow glasses than into shorter and wider glasses, suggesting we’re more likely to drink less. A 2005 study found when it came to the shape of glass and the amount of alcohol poured, students and bartenders poured more into short, wide glasses than into tall slender glasses. Tall, thin glasses could be especially helpful when it comes to monitoring alcohol consumption during weight loss.
4. Drink Water Before Every Meal
Rather than drinking water during your meal, try guzzling down a glass of H2O before your meal to limit energy intake. A 2008 study found participants consumed less energy during a meal after they drank water beforehand compared to those who didn’t drink water. There was a 13 percent reduction in meal energy intake during breakfast for these participants. Think of drinking water as pregaming before your next meal.
5. Chew a Piece of Gum
Chewing a piece of bubblegum may not be the ideal weight loss tool, but it can curb your appetite when it comes to snacking. A 2007 study found chewing gum suppressed appetite, specifically the desire for sweets, and reduced snack intake. This suggests gum can help you cut down on snacking, decreasing hunger between meals. Therefore, keeping a stick of gum while cooking a meal or at a buffet can be a short-term tool to use to curb your hunger pangs until your next meal.
6. Add a Dash of Cayenne Pepper
If you can handle spice, try adding some cayenne pepper to your meals to cut cravings. The bright red spice can effectively reduce energy intake during meals. A 2011 study found the desire to consume fatty, salty, and sweet foods decreased more after the longterm spicy food intake.