We all know dieting is rarely easy, never fun and only sometimes successful. But recent studies have shown that your mental state could make all the difference when it comes to dropping those pounds. Try these easy quick-fix tips to kick-start your weight loss today.
To thwart cravings
- Tap your forehead. It may sound a little strange, but theres science behind this five-second trick to displace your craving thoughts. Since the working memory is small, you can crowd out your food desires by placing all fingers of one hand on your forehead, spaced slightly apart, and then, at intervals of a second, tapping each finger while looking upward and watching it. You may need to do some reps until your thoughts go elsewhere.
- Have a whiff of mint. A study at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia found that people who sniffed peppermint periodically throughout the day ate 2,800 fewer calories during the week (thats almost a pounds worth!) When you focus on the scent, your attention is driven away from cravings, says psychologist Bryan Raudenbush, Ph.D.
To damage-proof your weight loss plan
- Limit yourself to the really good stuff. Sometimes you may be more satisfied with a small amount of the real thing than with a lower-calorie substitute. What can happen is that you say to yourself, I want chocolate, but I dont want the calories, says Joan Salge Blake, R.D., associate professor of nutrition at Boston University. So you start with some cocoa, then go on to other foods that dont satisfy your craving, and you end up having the chocolate anyway.
- Never eat a treat by itself. Feed your yen for chips, but have only a few with a low-fat dip (like hummus or a yogurt-dill mix). Including something healthy and low-calorie, too, like red pepper strips and celery, will help you resist downing the whole bag of chips, suggests Dr. Susan Roberts, Ph.D., Director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at Tufts University. The same holds true for dessert: Enjoy a square of dark chocolate or a small cookie with a bowlful of berries or a piece of fruit.
- Go the distance. Dont keep treats in the house. If you really want something special, go to the store and buy a snack-size amountjust one small pack of cookies or chips.
- Clear your palate. Once youve had your little taste, have a drink of water or brush your teeth, suggests weight-loss coach Janice Taylor: If the taste of that food lingers in your mouth, it will trigger more eating.