1. Eat with your non-dominant hand.
One intriguing new study offers a simple antidote to the mindless munching that often accompanies watching movies or TV: Just switch hands—and you’ll eat less.
The researchers randomly handed moviegoers a bucket of fresh popcorn or “cold, wet, spongy week-old” popcorn. Those who said they usually ate popcorn at the movies shoveled down just as much whether the popcorn was fresh or stale. But in a separate experiment, the scientists found that when people were asked to eat with their non-dominant hand, they consumed 30 percent less.
2. Take a look in the mirror.
While you eat, sit in front of a mirror. One study found that when people watch themselves eat, consumption of high-calorie food (such as full-fat cream cheese) drops by nearly a third, possibly because seeing themselves eat reminds them of their diet and health goals.
3. Immerse yourself in blue.
Use blue plates, blue napkins, a blue tablecloth, even paint your dining room walls blue or use blue lights. According to a 2006 study by Dr. Val Jones, gala attendees ate 33 percent less in a room bathed in blue light.
That’s probably because we associate blue with toxic or moldy food, so we eat less. Yellow and red had the opposite effect, which is why fast-food restaurants favor those appetite-stimulating colors.
4. Use your sense—smell, that is.
Sniffing a banana, apple or peppermint helps the weight come off. Just ask the 3,000 people who tried this during a study at the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago.
The more often they sniffed those aromas, the more weight they lost, with an average drop of nearly 30 pounds during the 6-month study among those who inhaled the scents the most frequently. Some participants shed up to 18 pounds in a month. Apparently, by frequent smelling we trick the brain into thinking we actually ate the food.
5. Skip the food journal—take a picture.
Writing “salad with blue cheese dressing” in a journal may not be as effective as showing a photo of the salad, heaped with creamy cheese. Keeping the photos and looking at them before you eat again can make you think twice about over-indulging the next time.
6. Eat in silence.
Research shows that eating in a noisy environment makes us eat faster, so our brains sometimes don’t know we’re full until we’ve overeaten. And here’s a good reason to turn off the tube during meals: A 2009 study found that when people are distracted by watching TV or using a computer during lunch, they’re more likely to snack later in the day, compared people who focused on savoring each bite of the meal.
7. Wear tight clothes to dinner.
We tend to grab a loose t-shirt or sweater when we’ve packed on a few extra pounds, but researchers say we’re just enabling ourselves—our chances of losing the extra weight are better if we wear tight clothes when we eat.
That way, if we start to overeat, our clothing will remind us that we’ve had enough. Or hang the skinny jeans up in your kitchen as a weight loss incentive.
8. Try the “toothpaste diet.”
Instead of reaching for a sweet treat after a meal, brush your teeth with mint-flavored toothpaste. The minty flavor signals that the meal is over, helping curb cravings.
Plus, mint doesn’t mix well with most foods, so the food doesn’t taste that good anyway—and the feeling of fresh, clean teeth is so enjoyable, grabbing a donut or candy bar may not seem worth losing the freshness.
Disclaimer: I just received this in my email. I didn’t write this one.