Losing weight is more than just crazy fad diets and hitting the gym.
There are actually lots of simple lifestyle habits that can help you shed a few pounds – and luckily for those of us who are partial to being lazy, you’ll hardly even notice you’re doing them.
These ‘mindless’ tricks can help you eat fewer calories, reduce your weight and prevent weight gain in the future.
Here’s what you can do.
Drink a glass of water before every meal.
Drinking lots of water is important for your health anyway, so why not strategically do it before every meal?
A UK-based study on obesity found that people who drank a few glasses of water before every a meal lost 4kg over a three month period.
Chew your food properly and slow down.
Most of are guilty of eating quickly, which means we consume more food than we realise. But slowing down and chewing thoroughly can help you slim down. In one study, people who chewed each bite 40 times ate almost 12 per cent less than those who chewed 15 times.
Another tip? Eat without distractions. Put your phone down and turn off the TV – not doing so may make you lose track of how much you’ve eaten.
Use smaller plates.
The typical food plate is larger today than it was a few decades ago. So skip serving yourself twice what your portion should be and use a smaller plate – it can trick your brain into thinking you’re eating more than you actually are.
Eating something unhealthy? Serve it on a red plate. One study reported that volunteers ate fewer pretzels from red plates, compared to white or blue plates.
Drink green tea.
According to a number of studies, the compound EGCG found in the tea reduces fat absorption, encouraging weight loss, the Independent reports.
But if you’re turning to green tea for a bed time snack, you may want to reach for a glass of water instead. The Chinese drink contains caffeine, so it won’t help you sleep.
Walk five minutes more a day.
Taking a walk a day is kind of like that proverbial apple: There’s a good chance it’ll keep the doctor away. The more you do it, the healthier you’ll be. And a study by Dr Lute proved that.
By increasing activity levels by just a few minutes a day, it can help people lose weight. The idea is to increase the activity until you get to 30 minutes a day, so if you choose the elevator over the stairs at work, take the stairs and your body will thank you – given you don’t work on the 20th floor.
Get at least seven hours sleep a night.
When it comes to health, sleep is often neglected. But what many people don’t know is that those who don’t get a good night’s sleep tend to eat more.
That’s because poor sleep triggers a part of the brain that controls urges to eat, so people tend to eat more after a bad night and make poor food choices later at night. Sleep deprivation also decreases the body’s production of leptin, which makes you feel full.
Work out with friends.
We’ve all gone to the gym on our own and decided to head out early. If the motivation (or someone to motivate you) isn’t there, it’s easy to pack in earlier than intended. But if you choose to work out with friends, it’ll encourage success, and according to a study, people who work out in a group are 20 per cent more likely to lose weight.
Don’t be afraid to eat dairy.
According to a study published in Obesity Research, women who ate low-fat dairy three times a day lost 70 per cent more fat than those on a low dairy diet. There’s a good chance that trick will work with men, too.
Walk around when you’re on the phone.
Research from the Mayo Clinic had people eat 1,000 calories more a day for eight weeks. Those who moved around while they were doing everyday activities did not store the extra calories as fat.
Exercise during TV ads.
It’s easy to just sit on the couch and lose yourself in watching TV for hours, but if you treat your body to a two minute workout every half hour or so, you can burn 270 extra calories a day from a two hour stint in front of the TV.
Binging on Netflix? Take two minutes before and after every episode to do a quick floor workout.