From the basic to the bizarre, here are 12 weight loss tips you’ve very likely have never tried or even thought of. But hey, if they work, they work, so why not try them. Especially if you’ve reached a plateau or you’re struggling to shed those last five pounds, you should give these unique strategies a try.
1. Change Your Table Settings
Studies have shown many times over that eating off smaller plates leads to eating less. Not only will you put less food on your plate to begin with, but portion sizes look larger when plated on smaller dinnerware. Reduce the size of your dishes and bowls at home. When dining out, ask for a salad plate or bowl and transfer your food to it before eating.
2. Lock Yourself Out—Electronically
The average American adult spends five hours a day in front of the television. Five! That’s valuable time you could be spending on meal planning or exercise. Use an electronic lock-out system to force yourself to watch less, or set a stopwatch on your phone and regulate your tube time.
3. Eat More Fruit
Many health-conscious eaters often associate fruit with sugar. While it is a source of naturally occurring sugar, fruit can also be a rich source of fiber that works wonders for jump-starting your metabolism. Munch on raspberries, blackberries, oranges and apples (with the skin on) for a healthy serving of waist-slimming fiber.
4. Take a Multivitamin.
In a 2010 study, research participants were given either a placebo pill, a calcium supplement or a multivitamin for six months. In the end, the group taking the vitamins wound up with significantly less body fat than the other two groups. The researchers theorized that our bodies might signal us to eat more when we’re lacking certain nutrients, and that taking a multivitamin regularly makes up for these deficiencies.
5. Practice the 20-Minute Rule
Dish out proper portion sizes each time you eat. If you finish one portion and are craving a second helping, wait at least 20 minutes to see if you still feel hungry. It takes our bodies this long to recognize that we’re physically full. If your stomach’s still rumbling after 20 minutes, help yourself to more food.
6. Spice Things Up
As Emeril Lagasse would say, kick it up a notch! Add fiery seasonings like cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes to your meals. The more intense flavors will have you feeling satisfied with a smaller portion of food.
7. Sleep in a Cold Room
Switch on your body’s internal furnace and burn more calories during the night by sleeping in a cold room.
8. Check Your Meds
If you’re checking all the weight loss boxes and are still having trouble keeping the pounds off, take a second look at any medications you’re taking. Common antihistamines (allergy pills) block the body’s natural histamines and can impact your fat breakdown. Birth control pills may cause fluid retention, which can lead to weight gain.
9. Phone a Friend
Hold yourself accountable by telling a friend or family member about your weight loss goals, then keep them updated regularly on your progress. You might enlist their help by asking them to prompt you, checking in on how well you’re sticking to your weight loss plan.
10. Use the Glycemic Index
If keeping track of your health-conscious diet is making your head spin, try eating according to the Glycemic Index. The index, or GI, measures your body’s glucose response to certain foods. Stick to foods that rank low (below 50) or medium (between 50 and 70) on the scale, and practice proper portion control. Visit the Glycemic Index Foundation for more information and to see how certain foods rank.
11. Flip-flop Your Meal Sizes
For many of us, dinner is still the largest meal of the day, though nutritionists have long been telling us it shouldn’t be. Make breakfast your largest meal to rev up your metabolism and give you fuel for the day. Eat a light, medium sized lunch and a small dinner for optimal calorie burn.
12. Go to Bed Earlier
This one’s simple reasoning: the longer you’re awake, the more time you have to get hungry and fall into a snacking trap. Hit the hay earlier each night to curb cravings. Set the alarm clock a little earlier instead and enjoy the extra time to exercise, meditate or meal prep.