Many methods to help you lose weight are pretty straightforward: eat less, exercise more, get more sleep, drink more water, stop eating sugar – the list goes on. Others, however, are totally counterintuitive. The following 10 weight loss tips really do work—but they may leave you thinking twice.
1. Sniff a banana, apple or peppermint
You may feel silly, but it works. A recent study found that the more frequently people sniffed foods, the less hungry they were and the more weight they lost—an average of 30 pounds each. One theory is that sniffing the food tricks the brain into thinking you’re actually eating it.
2. Eat a bigger breakfast than dinner
In a recent study one group of obese women consumed 700 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch, and 200 at dinner. Another group ate the same foods but had 200 calories in the a.m. and 700 at night. After 13 months, the big-breakfast eaters shed 18 pounds, while the big-dinner eaters lost only about seven.
3. Tie a ribbon around your waist
A number of French women wear a ribbon around their waist and underneath their clothes when they go out for dinner. It keeps them conscious of the tummy—particularly if the ribbon starts to feel tighter as the evening goes on!
4. Hang a mirror opposite the your seat at the dinner table
One study found that eating in front of mirrors slashed the amount people ate by nearly one-third. Seems having to look yourself in the eye reflects back some of your own inner standards and goals, and reminds you of why you’re trying to lose weight in the first place.
5. Take pictures of your food
Rather than writing down every morsel, take a picture of it; a visual account may help curb your intake. Snapping photos and then looking back at them can make people stop and think before indulging. Even your virtuous salad may show your extra helping of cheese or deep-fried croutons – and you’ll realize that it was in fact a bad idea.
6. Just stick to wrapped candy (if you must indulge)
A Swiss study found that people ate 30 percent less candy when they had to unwrap it first. Peeling off the wrapper requires effort, which can make noshers eat less.
7. Light a vanilla scented candle after dinner
The aroma has been shown to dampen dessert cravings. One group of 160 volunteers actually lost an average of 4.5 pounds each by wearing vanilla-scented patches.
8. Surround yourself with blue
There’s a good reason you won’t see many fast-food restaurants decorated in blue: the color functions as an appetite suppressant. Researchers have found that people eat 33 percent less in a blue room; the bluish light that results evidently makes food look less appealing. So eat on blue plates, dress in blue while you eat, and use a blue tablecloth. Avoid red, yellow, and orange; studies find they encourage eating.
9. Turn up the lights and turn off the music
Restaurants don’t just dim the lights to create a romantic atmosphere; they do it so you order more food. Low lighting lowers eating inhibitions. As for music, soft tunes playing in the background actually encourage more leisurely chewing and goes against hurry-up, stress-related, mindless eating patterns.
10. Don’t eat or drink everything
Eat three fewer bites of your meal, one less treat a day, or one less glass of orange juice. Doing any of these can save you about 100 calories a day, and that alone is enough to prevent you from gaining the two pounds most people mindlessly pack on each year.