So you want to lose weight the easy way, huh?
Well, the following psychological hacks will definitely help you achieve that over time (think: 3 - 6 months).
#1 Drink a glass of water before every meal.
This tactic takes advantage of your stomach's limited volumetric capacity of storing food and drinks in one go. So drink some water before every meal and watch how fast you feel full afterward.
And if you still don't believe us, read this: Studies have shown that 44% people who adhere to this practice of drinking water before meals lose weight over 3 months as compared to those who don't.
#2 Chew slowly.
It has been proven that people who eat fast gain weight faster than those who don't.
The reason is simple. Those who chew slowly realize it as soon as their stomach is full. And so they stop eating. While those who eat fast, don't realize this and end up overeating.
In fact, one study has shown that your brain realizes you are full 20 minutes after you start eating. So make sure you eat slowly to take advantage of this brain hack.
#3 Eat without electronic distraction.
It is very easy to getimmersed in a TV show or a podcast and overeat because you are not aware you are full. So keep these distractions away while you are eating, and try and enjoy the meal before you!
Note: If you want the full scoop on why you should eat without distraction, read this health article by Harvard.
#4 Use smaller plates.
This psychological hack tricks your mind into thinking that a small portion size is actually quite large. This way you end up feeling as if you have eaten enough once you finish the food on your plate.
On the other hand, using larger plates makes your regular portions of food feel smaller, so you end up piling on more (remember buffet lines?), and this not only causes you to overeat (because you don't want to waste food) but also causes you to waste more food (because you cannot stuff in beyond a certain limit).
So use smaller plates to hack your mind and lose more weight!
#5 Increase the amount of protein in your meals.
Proteins build muscles, repair tissues, and increase your basal metabolism (which in turn burns more fat).
In fact, one study found that simply increasing your protein intake by 30% can help you lose up to 5kgs of weight in 3 months without dieting.
So stack up on the chicken, eggs, and fish (if you are a non-vegetarian), and consume more nuts, cottage cheese, and legumes (if you are not).
#6 Eat more fiber-rich food.
Fibers fill up your stomach fast but do not add any calories since they are not absorbed by your body.
So eat more roughage, like beans, drumsticks, oats, apples, and oranges. In fact, all fruits are rich in insoluble fibers.
#7 Remove cola and sugary drinks from your diet.
Carbonated and fizzy drinks (like Coke and Pepsi) are so high in sugar that just one glass every day can pack on tires of fat in your body.
So cut them out entirely.
And that includes fruit juices that come in cans and tetra packs because the processing eliminates all the fiber from the juice, leaving you with just the natural sugars in the fruit (which is not healthy at all!).
#8 Keep unhealthy snacks out of sight.
"Out of sight, out of mind" is the mind hack that comes handy when it comes to losing weight without exercise or dieting.
So keep the crisps and nachos out of sight in a cupboard that is hard to reach (as it will capitalize on your laziness), and don't store them front-and-center in your refrigerator!
#9 Climb stairs to work.
Stop using the lift. Switch to stairs.
Why? Because this workout is so effective that with only a few minutes every day you will start noticing a big difference after a few weeks. Plus, it strengthens your leg muscles!
And don't tell me you live on the 25th floor (or your workplace is on the 37th floor). You can easily get off a few floors earlier and reap the benefit of this habit.
#10 Cook meals at home.
Eating out is easier. But cooking at home is better for your weight loss goals for two reasons.
One, you are more conscious of what you put in your food while you are cooking, like oil, salt, and butter.
And two, cooking has a weird effect on the cook - it makes you feel full and satisfied without even tasting the meal!
#11 Drink soup before your meal.
Drinking soup before your lunch or dinner is a great habit because it fills you up faster so you end up eating less.
Just remember not to drink the cream-based ones since they are prepared with a lot of butter and cream. Instead, stick to the clear soups.
#12 Reduce your alcohol consumption.
Alcohol slows down your metabolism. And we all know what that means - fat starts to accumulate in your body.
In fact, alcoholic drinks like beer are quite high in calories. Even more than carb-rich food (think: beer belly!).
#13 Practice yoga.
Yoga has many benefits, and one of them is mindfulness. That is, you are more aware of the activities you undertake throughout the day.
And when it comes to losing weight, being mindful of the moment you are full during a meal is a great way to prevent overeating.
#14 Use red plates to serve unhealthy food.
It's a psychological trick.
Red signals your mind that there is danger and so you should stop. And this is exactly what you need when you are eating unhealthy food like chips and pretzels.
In fact, a study of this unique phenomenon observed that people tend to eat less when unhealthy food is served on red plates, as compared to blue or white ones.
#15 Drink green tea.
Green tea may not be as strong as regular brown tea, but it is an amazing metabolism boosterand helps you lose weight over time.
#16 Drink water instead of ordering drinks when you eat out.
When we eat out, we often order extra drinks, like fruit juices and cola, to satiate our dry throats in between the meals.
Instead, drink water to satisfy yourself. Not only will this save you a lot of money over time, but it is also a much healthier option to chugging down drinks that are packed with sugar!
#17 Go to sleep early.
Sleeping early and sleeping for at least 8 hours every day is a great way to lose weight without doing anything.
Why? Because we are no longer slaves to hunger pangs at odd hours of the night.
Plus, a good night's rest keeps our body functioning smoothly and keeps our stress levels low, which is one of the biggest contributors to gaining weight.
#18 Have a cheat day.
It might sound counter-intuitive to have a cheat day on which you stuff yourself to the gills with unhealthy food, but the reality is that you will succeed in cutting out the unhealthy only when you have one binge day to look forward to.
Just remember: Don't binge all day long on your cheat day. Instead, just binge during breakfast and allow your body to wind down the rest of the day with your usual healthy fair.
#19 Have black coffee.
Having coffee on a regular basis with calorie-laden additives like sugar, flavored syrup, and cream is the kiss-of-death for your weight-loss efforts.
So if you are truly dependent on this early-morning caffeine hit, a better idea is to switch to black coffee as that will help you save 500 calories every week and will also lower your risk of insulin-resistant diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
#20 Carry a water bottle with you everywhere.
Almost 60% of the time we wrongly respond to thirst by eating rather than drinking. So keep a water bottle with you at all times to help you respond to your thirst correctly.
Plus, water keeps you full and prevents untimely hunger pangs.
#21 Use extra virgin olive oil.
It might be more expensive than your regular bottle of sunflower oil, but tell me honestly, which would you prefer more? Paying Rs. 500 for a more expensive bottle of oil now or paying Rs. 5,00,000 for a heart surgery later (or however much it actually costs!)?
Extra virgin olive oil is produced by cold-pressing olives, and therefore, has a better quality and flavor compared to regular olive oil.
This is because cold-pressing preserves the nutrients in the oil and thus, their benefits, which includes reducing your appetite and promoting weight loss.
#22 Don't go fat-free.
Going fat-free will not help you lose weight. This is because your body requires all three macronutrients to function properly - proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
And since your brain feeds predominantly on fats, it's a good idea to bolster your acumen and add more healthy fat-containing foods to your diet, like salmon, walnuts, olives, and avocados.
#23 Keep a healthy snack in your bag.
When you are hungry and running on an empty stomach, your body switches to starvation mode and increases the production of hunger hormones. This makes you overcompensate during your next meal and thus, causes you to gain more weight.
So do yourself a favor and keep a snack in your bag at all times. And since we are talking about weight loss here, why not make a healthy choice and switch your regular junk food for apples or even a healthy Granola bar?
#24 Eat at least one vegetarian meal.
Researchers have found that people who regularly eat high-protein vegetarian meals lose weight faster than those on meat. So if you are a non-vegetarian and don't want to go leafy, you can reap the benefit of this hack by having one vegetarian meal every day.
P.S. We recommend you to make your dinner green as it keeps your stomach light and helps you fall asleep on time.
#25 Keep a well-stocked fridge.
If you keep your fridge stocked with healthy ingredients like fruits, veggies and pre-portioned proteins, you will not resort to unhealthy delivery meals when you suddenly are struck by hunger.
#26 Bust your stress.
Stress can often make us do things we wouldn't do otherwise. Like eating boxes of chocolate when our boyfriend breaks up with usor munching on junk food as we try to crawl out of the mountain of work we are buried under.
And this isn't even taking into consideration the simple fact that stress causes cortisol, the stress-hormone, to shoot up in our body, which is known to carry fats from the peripheries of our body and deposit it around our stomach and heart!
So do yourself a favor and find a stress-busting activity that fits your lifestyle. And if you are not sure what you should do, here are a few ideas.
- Buy an intricate mandala coloring book and a box of color pencils and start filling it in every day.
- Meditate for 5 minutes every morning after you wake up.
- Play with your pet.
- Read a book.
#27 Don't stock up your workspace with random munchies.
If you are serious about curbing your junk food cravings, you need to first start by getting rid of all the junk food in your house and your workstation.
This is because when we are hungry, we always reach out for the food that requires the least amount of effort. Plus, junk foodsare known to create fakevisual-hunger in us, which is often the reason why we reach for them even when we are not hungry!
#28 Replace your side of fries with salad.
Do we really need to explain why fries are bad for you?
So do yourself a favor and order a salad instead of a side of fries if you are worried you will still be hungry after eating your main meal.
#29 Avoid "diet" food and drinks.
Diet foods and drinks are simple marketing ploys meant to increase sales in the health-conscious segment of the market. But what you may not know is that these companies simply replace real sugar with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which produce the same reactions in your body as natural sugars.
That's why having "diet" food will not stop you from growing fat or getting diabetes!
#30 If you have a choice, order small.
Portion control can save you from putting on more than 100 calories every day. So if you have the option, order the smallest size on the menu. And then eat out of smaller plates to trick your mind that you are eating enough.
#31 Reduce the number of social dinners you go on.
No, we are not asking you to stop socializing. We are simply asking you to cut down the amount of time you spend socializing over dinner.
The logic behind this is simple. When you are not focused on what you are eating, and are more focused on extending the fun you are having with your friends, you will always end up eating more.
Plus, social courtesy requires us to remain seated until the last person has finished their meal, which induces us to keep munching on something or another until it's finally time to get up.
#32 Keep your snacks under 300 calories.
Keep each of your snacks under 300 calories and make sure they are a healthy combo of all the essential macronutrients, namely proteins, fats, and carbs.
Want some ideas? Try granola bars or a bowl of fruits and vegetables mixed with cottage cheese.
#33 Have a meal every 3 – 4 hours.
If you have breakfast at 8 AM every day and go to bed at 12 PM every night, then this rule requires you to have at least 4 - 6 meals every day.
This is a great way to lose weight because having scheduled meals multiple times a day gets rid of untimely hunger pangs, which always induce us to reach out for the easily available junk foods. Plus, this kind of a routine keeps your metabolism up and running throughout the day, which is a great way to lose weight.
What Should I Do? Where Do I Start?
If the list above seems overwhelming to you, stop!
Adopting all these weight loss hacks in one go is a guaranteed path to failure.
Instead, choose one or two out of this list (that you are most interested in trying out) and try them for at least a week or two before you add more.
And remember: The tips I shared here will not work overnight. You need to be patient and keep at it for at least a few months to see the results.