The possibility that there are ways to lose weight without changing your diet or adding exercise to your routine sounds too good to be true. Crazy as it might be, there really are changes that you can make that have nothing to do with cutting calories or exercising. We have ten of those ways right here. Get this – they’re all easy, too.
1. Get some sun in the morning
We all have circadian rhythms1 that our bodies abide by. They regulate times of feeling awake and sleepy. It’s suggested that keeping your daily routine in sync with your internal circadian biological clock is healthy for your metabolism. Disruption of that circadian rhythm is strongly suggested to create metabolic imbalance2.
Opening the blinds when you wake up in the morning is a simple and straightforward way to allow more sun in – or go sit in the sun for a few minutes before beginning your day. These are ways to jump start your metabolism.
2. Make the healthy choice obvious
If you have a box of cookies sitting next to ripe fruit on your counter, chances are you’ll reach for the cookies over the fruit. Why not? Both will satisfy a craving for something sweet and cookies are far more tempting than an apple.
Don’t allow that to even be an option. Put the cookies in a cabinet and the unhealthier foods in the back of the fridge. Making the healthy foods more accessible3 makes yourself more likely to reach for them.
3. Get artistic with your food
The results of a study4 done at Oxford support the idea that presenting a meal in an aesthetically pleasing manner can enhance the eating experience. Participants in this study were presented with three salads: one piled together carelessly, one neatly arranged, and one arranged to look like a Kandinsky abstract painting.
The salads contained the same vegetables, sauces, and condiments but the art-inspired option was rated up to 18% tastier than the other options.
The conclusion? The more appealing your food looks, the more likely you are to enjoy it.
4. Prioritize sleep
Sleeping is beneficial to your health regardless of weight, but getting a sufficient amount of sleep every night can also help you lose unwanted pounds.
For one thing, lack of sleep dulls the part of your brain that’s in charge of decision making skills and impulse control, which translates into poor eating choices. Lack of sleep also affects ghrelin and leptin, the hormones that signal that you’re full or hungry.
Finally, cortisol spikes when you don’t sleep enough. Cortisol is a stress hormone that tells your body to conserve energy. In other words, insufficient sleep makes your body more likely to hang on to fat as an energy source.
5. Set a meal timer
It’s easy to overeat when you’re eating quickly. Your brain takes time to register that your stomach is full, so it’s best to eat slowly. If you’re actually taking your time and enjoying your meal, you’re more likely to feel satisfied. Set the timer for 20 minutes – that’s how long it takes your brain to register that you’re full. The hormone leptin is what tells you that you’re full, and it will continue producing for 10 to 30 more minutes after.
6. Have soup before a meal
We aren’t talking a creamy, carb laden soup. We’re talking about light, nutritious broths that will fill you up before a full meal without packing on calories. Drinking soup before you plan on eating a meal will curb your appetite so that you eat less later on. Plus soup is hot, so you’re likely to sip slowly.
7. Eat before you grocery shop
There’s nothing like a grumbling stomach to make you grab every enticing item off the shelf. It’s likely that you’ve heard this advice before, because it’s very true. Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach! A study by Cornell University5 found that participants who shopped while hungry were adversely affected. Turns out that grocery shopping while hungry doesn’t necessarily make you buy more food – but it does make you buy foods with higher calorie counts.
8. Don’t eat while watching TV
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition6 explored the correlation between video games and obesity in teenage males. The study found that a single session of video game playing resulted in increased food intake – regardless of hunger sensations.
Anything that distracts your attention from the act of eating can cause you to eat too much. This is because you simply don’t even notice how much you’re eating. This ties back into eating slowly – if you’re not paying attention to your food, you can end up eating a lot in a short amount of time, only to realize it 10 minutes after it’s too late.
9. Use smaller plates
To put it simply, eating from larger plates tends to cause people to eat more. The more space there is, the more you want to fill it up. Not only does a small plate hold less food, but it makes a healthy portion size appear much bigger than a big plate does. Using a smaller plate makes a smaller (but healthy) portion size look more satisfying. A study done by Cornell7 researchers even supports this theory.
10. Eat different veggies
Who wants to eat a ton of broccoli all in one sitting? Maybe if it’s covered in cheese, or if you happen to really like broccoli. For the rest of us, eating our recommended daily serving of vegetables can be a hassle. Vegetables are an important part of losing weight though. They’re low calorie and they fill you up.
Instead of aiming to eat one specific veggie per meal, eat a few different ones. That way you’re not only more likely to eat all of your veggies, but you might even enjoy it.