If losing a few pounds is on your list of resolutions, you have
lots of company. In fact, weight loss tops the list of common New Year’s goals
year after year. But shedding some pounds doesn’t have to be painful. Here are
some surprisingly effective—and often enjoyable—ways to jumpstart weight loss,
backed by solid science.
1. Eat dessert for breakfast
Eating chocolate, cookies or cake with breakfast can help reduce cravings during the day, according to a 32-week long study published in the medical journal Steroids.
In fact, study participants who added dessert to their breakfast lost around 40
more pounds than those who avoided them. Moderation is key—an ounce or two of
chocolate will do the trick—so while gorging on candy bars each morning isn’t
recommended, cutting sweets from your diet completely isn’t necessary.
Tightening your muscles actually firms your
resolve and can help you avoid food temptations, according to multiple studies published in the Journal of Consumer Research. Strengthen our willpower by clenching
your fists next time you are about to binge on a box of donuts, and you just
might find yourself better able to resist the temptation.
3. Pay in cash
The mere act of putting the plastic away can affect the food you
eat, according to a series of studies published in the Journal of Consumer Research. Paying
with credit weakens your impulse control, and makes you more likely to buy junk
foods. Sticking to paying with cash, on the other hand, means you’re more
likely to pick up a healthy snack or meal.
4. Snack on almonds
It’s not as nuts as you think. Grabbing some almonds twenty minutes before a meal can actually help slim your waistline, according to research published in the International Journal of Obesity. In fact, the participants in the study reduced their body mass index by 18 percent. Almonds and other nuts can even reduce the risk of heart disease, lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol. While almonds do contain fat, it’s the healthy monounsaturated type.
5. Have a glass of wine
If you think dieting means giving up even a trace of alcohol,
and perhaps replacing it with grape juice, think again. Obese patients who
consumed moderate amounts of white wine actually fared better in weight loss
than those who had a similar amount of grape juice, according to
research published in the International Journal of Obesity. This isn’t to say that all-night benders are the ultimate
weight loss solution. Moderation is key, so stick to just one drink a day if
you’re a woman, or two drinks a day if you’re a man.
Keeping serving dishes on the kitchen stove instead of hauling
them to the dining room reduces the amount of calories you scarf down by as
much as 20 to 29 percent, according to a Cornell research study of 78 adults. Keeping healthier foods in plain sight and using
smaller size plates (rather than large ones) are two other ways to improve
eating habits without putting a lot of thought into it.
7. Eat vegetable soup before lunch
Adding a bowl of vegetable soup to your lunch is so satiating that this strategy
is actually an effective weight loss tool. This simple addition will reduce the
amount of food you need to feel full, at a fraction of the calories.
Surprisingly enough, you just might consume less food in a room
painted blue than in one painted red or yellow, as I’ve reported previously. This might be because blue is associated with toxic or moldy
food, so we proceed only with caution. Yellow and red—the favored colors of
fast food establishments—are much more appetite stimulating. Using blue plates,
napkins and tablecloths could very well have an effect on how much you eat.
10. Reach for a fruit popsicle
Give hunger pangs the big chill by eating a flavored popsicle. A small study by the Smell &
Taste Foundation in Chicago found that women felt fuller after consuming a
Tropical Breeze-flavored popsicle (made with Sensa Quench, a low-cal drink mix)
than they did after eating a 110-calorie slice of bread or plain ice. And even
the ordinary ice helped curb the women’s appetites, suggesting that iced foods can
contribute to weight loss.