You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again — the key to weight loss is about eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising.
But what you may have not heard before is that a long-term, impactful weight loss plan involves more than just that. And it’s got nothing to do with frequent gym visits and giving up sugar.
Here are 10 weight loss hacks that have nothing to do with diet and exercise.
1. Eat at a kitchen or dinner table.
It’s easy to get in the habit of parking in front of the TV for dinner or taking lunch back to your desk. The problem is that those behaviors lead to mindless eating, meaning our minds aren’t listening to our bodies to tell us when we’re full. Instead, sit down at a table with your meal and focus on every bite. Pay attention to how your stomach is feeling and, when you’re full, put down the fork.
2. Dishes — use them.
How many times do you find yourself with a bag of potato chips in your hand? Or a cookie in a napkin? Or a box of cereal on your lap? The problem with that is we’re not thinking about how much we’re eating when we’re just reaching in a bag or box for handfuls of snacks. Make a rule for yourself — every single thing you eat will come out of a bowl or off a plate. This is an easy way to control better for portion size and lessen the amount of empty calories you’re consuming.
3. Go blue (and small).
No, we’re not talking about your mood. We’re talking about the color of your dishes — and the size. Studies have shown that people consume fewer calories when the color of the food contrasts with the plate. Plus, smaller plates make it easier to divvy out smaller portion sizes.
4. Go with a skinny glass.
You know that glass they served your mojito in the other night? That shouldn’t be just for cocktails. A study found that people who regularly use tall, skinny glasses pour less liquid, which ultimately could mean fewer calories when drinking things like cocktails, juice and milk.
5. Slow down and chew.
When something tastes good, it’s really (like really) easy to scarf it down without thinking about what it tastes like. That’s even more the case given our busy, go-go-go lives. But that’s a big problem, because it takes away from our ability to enjoy what we’re eating. Next time you have a meal, take the time to really chew every single bite, savoring the flavor and texture. Doing so may also keep you from overeating.
6. Hide the junk — show off the good stuff.
Out of sight, out of mind. It’s literally one of the truest mantras, especially when it comes to weight loss. Conceal the high-calorie, low-nutrition junk food in pantries you hardly ever open or shove it in the back of the freezer and refrigerator. Better yet, just get rid of it altogether. While you’re at it, put on the fresh fruits and veggies on display, on the counter, on the kitchen table, everywhere. That will increase the likelihood that you reach for the healthy stuff instead.
7. Break out the games.
“The next time you’re hungry, ask yourself if you want an apple. If the answer is ‘no,’ you’re not really hungry.” Yeah, yeah. You’ve heard that one before. But that’s way easier said than done. Instead, the next time you have a craving, sit down with a computer game. One study found that playing Tetris (other computer games will work, too) reduces the strength, frequency and vividness of cravings.
8. Dress up (not down).
There are days when you’re going to want to rock the whole sweat pants and T-shirt look, but the baggier your clothes, the less likely you are to care about your appearance and what you’re eating. Choose nicer clothing (yes, even around the house), and you’re less likely to munch on bad food.
9. Nix the soda.
Diet or not, soda has been tied to a whole host of health issues — obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, to name a few. Cut it out of your life completely and opt for water instead.
10. Build a support net.
Perhaps the most important element of embarking on any weight loss plan or journey to a healthy lifestyle is having a strong support system in place. Make sure your friends and family know what you’re doing and will help you stay on-track. Stay positive and surround yourself with the positive people who are on your side and want to see you succeed.
Author: Caitlin Hendee
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.