Losing weight is always tough, but with a few simple tricks you can give yourself an extra slimming boost.
From bite counting watches to diet-friendly interior design, check out these seven bizarre ways you can say goodbye to those unwanted pounds.
Track your eating with the Bite Counter
The world of diet and fitness trackers is constantly evolving – in just a few short years, we’ve gone from keeping food diaries to apps that can count all of the calories you eat in a day for us.
Aand now the experts at Clemson University have come up with a gadget that monitors every single bite of food you take.
The ‘Bite Counter’ is a watch-like device worn on the wrist that keeps count of each individual bite of food you take every day.
Depending on your sex, weight and height, the Bite Counter is able to set a target of bites to take throughout the day, and if you go over this amount it will warn you.
Bite Counter or not (and it's flipping expensive so probably not), we could all do with paying more attention to how we chew our food.
Studies have found that when when people take their time over their food with slower, more purposeful bite the eat fewer calories. So get chewing.
Use red plates
It’s time to dig out those bright red Christmas plates you haven’t used since 1994, because they could be the key to losing weight.
Researchers have discovered that red plates are the most appetite supressing type of coloured crockery out there. The study, published in the journal Appetite, investigated the effects of eating foods off red, blue and white plates, and singled out the red dishes as the clear winner.
Participants eating off the red plates consumed less calories overall than the people eating off the blue and white plates.
According to the researchers, the reason for this was simple. The human brain naturally translates the colour red as a ‘stop’ or ‘caution’ signal, which leads to a reduced appetite for unhealthy foods.
Create ‘vice-virtue bundles’
A proven weight loss method that involves eating pizza and chocolate? Sign us up. A team of researchers from universities in North Carolina, Nashville and Pittsburgh have come up with the concept of ‘vice-virtue bundles’ and put their healthy eating benefits to the test.
Their theory was, that by pairing small portions of ‘vice’ foods with larger portions of healthier ‘virtue’ offerings, people would be more likely to take on more nutrients, and eat few calories overall. And they were right.
They found that when people ‘balanced out’ their healthy foods with very small portions of unhealthier options, they were far less likely to binge on fattening foods.
Some great examples of the vice-virtue bundles used in the research are a small handful of fries paired with mountains of salad, or a whole sliced apple with one small cookie. Make sure you get your ratio right, though!
Take the TV out of your bedroom
Watching TV in bed before you hit the hay might help you relax, but it also leads to weight gain, according to researchers at Ohio State University.
They found that those who sleep with the lights on, or with the glow of a TV in the background, were more likely to be overweight than those who slept in complete darkness. It’s thought that this was down to the unnatural light causing disruption to the sleep cycle, which led to eating at random times throughout the day and night.
If you want to shift even more pounds, you should cut down on TV viewing time in general. Scientists at the University of Vermont reduced the TV viewing time of study participants by half, and found that each person burned an extra 120 calories every day.
Buy more mirrors
Ever taken a long hard look at yourself in the mirror and decided you need to lose some weight? Do the same when you’re eating your next meal and it might just happen if research presented in the Journal of Consumer Research is to be believed.
The study’s findings suggested that when we eat meals in front of a mirror, we eat more slowly, eat less food, and make healthier dietary choices.
The reason for this reflective reduction in eating? According to the researchers, when we see ourselves eating in a mirror, we are far more aware of how much we are eating, and how our bodies look.
Sniff peppermint or vanilla
The smell of food can be a powerful thing, and it turns out you can use this to your advantage if you want to lose weight.
For sweet-toothed sugar addicts who can’t stay away from unhealthy snacks, vanilla is the answer. In a study at London’s St George’s hospital, when people had vanilla-scented plasters placed on their hands, they were less likely to reach for sugar-filled foods.
If sugar is not a problem for you, but you have cravings for unhealthy savoury snacks, the smell of peppermint could put a stop to your unhealthy appetite. When participants in a Wheeling Jesuit University study were regularly exposed to the smell of peppermint, their appetites were reduced and they ate 3,485 fewer calories throughout the week.