Weight loss isn't easy (if it were, we wouldn't have a billion different diet plans and products to waste our money on). But even the smallest weight loss tricks or mind hacks can make a big difference when it comes to sticking to your diet or weight loss plan. Here are 10 such tricks you can easily incorporate today.
10. Fool Yourself with Your Plates and Glasses
A simple change in your dinnerware can trick you into eating less: With smaller plates, portions look larger and with taller, thinner glasses, beverages seem bigger (a trick restaurants like to pull on us too). The colour of your plate might matter too; choose plates in a colour that contrast the foods you normally eat.
9. Choose the Best Alcoholic Beverages (in Terms of Kilojoules)
If you drink alcohol, each beverage contributes to weight gain or at least your kilojoule count. You don't have to give up drinking altogether if you're trying to lose weight. Just select the alcoholic drinks that get you drunk, not fat.
8. Have Salad Dressing and Other Sauces on the Side
This is one of the tiniest changes you can make that can still make a difference: Order sauces and dressings on the side. Don't be afraid of coming off as a picky eater like Meg Ryan's character in When Harry Met Sally. With the dressing or sauce on the side, you control how much gravy or dressing you consume.
7. Imagine You're Going to Eat More Than You Want To
Your imagination could be a powerful tool to prevent overeating. One study found that people who visualised eating a lot of M&Ms before snacking ended up eating fewer of them than the control groups. Apparently, imagining overindulging makes us less motivated to eat more when we actually eat.
6. Put a Mirror on Your Fridge
Another study suggests keeping a mirror in our kitchen can trick us into eating healthier and losing weight, because it forces us to pause before making food choices.
5. Try Intermittent Fasting
With intermittent fasting, you eat your normal types and amount of food you regularly do — just within a smaller time frame. This is easier than counting kilojoules or radically changing your diet, and some have found intermittent fasting has helped them reduce body fat and increase strength. If the limited time window is too difficult, consider a two-day diet, perhaps cutting out carbs on those two days for effective and lasting weight loss.
4. Make (Relatively Painless) Food Substitutions
Simple food substitutions can help you cut kilojoules and fat while satisfying your cravings. There are plenty of healthier alternatives to commonly craved foods like chips of ice cream. You could also take a look at the "Eat This Not That" series of books.
3. Sneak in More Vegetables
You know what most diets boil down to? Three words: Eat more vegetables. That might not be a simple mind hack, but you can trick yourself into eating more vegetables by doubling the amount in any recipe.
2. Drink More Water
Water is the best thing we can put in our bodies — and it's great for weight loss. Drinking water before a meal can reduce hunger. If you find water boring, you can still learn to love it and trick yourself into drinking more every day. Weight loss or not, it's good for you!
1. Be More Mindful When You Eat
Mindfulness is a powerful practice for all areas of our lives, including how we eat. Simply paying more attention to our food when we eat can keep us from self-sabotaging our diets.
A few tricks to be more attentive: look closely at what you're eating and think about the meal descriptively, don't do anything except eat during your meal, eat more slowly and put your fork or spoon down between bites.
With these tricks, you might actually eat less and eat better without really noticing.
This article has been updated since its original publication.