Crazy crash diets are a no-no (you'll end up putting the weight back on, trust us) but there are plenty of weird weight-loss tips that actually work - like taking the time to chew your food more slowly.
They may sound strange, but the following diet tricks have all been backed up by research findings. Who knows, they might work for you too...
Cover your fridge with photos of healthy food
So you put a snap of yourself looking fat on the fridge, and it just depressed you and made you want to eat more - but have you tried pinning up some positive motivation? Research suggests that sticking pics of healthy food on the fridge could result in you making healthier choices. Scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that dieters who saw photos of low-calorie food ate less than those who looked at non-food images. Experts believe that looking at pics of fresh veggies and low-calorie meals helps concentrate your mind at just the right time.
Eat dinner in front of a mirror
It might feel strange at first, but try eating your dinner in front of a mirror. Research shows that people who watch themselves eat consume considerably less than those who do not. Experts from the Arizona State University and Erasmus University Rotterdam believe that seeing ourselves eat acts as a powerful trigger as it makes us aware of our bodies and weight loss goals.
Go for soft lighting
While you're giving your dining room a makeover, invest in some soft lighting. Researchers in America found that people who enjoyed dinner in dimmed lighting with soft music plaing ate 18 percent fewer calories than diners who ate a meal in the unmodified part of the restaurant. According to researchers from the Cornell University in New York, softening the lights and music didn't change what people ordered, but it did make them eat less and feel more satisfied.
Sniff vanilla extract – or peppermint
If your sweet tooth is your downfall, try sniffing vanilla extract. Researchers at St George's hospital, London, found that volutneers who wore vanilla-scented patches on the back of their hands reported a significant drop in cravings for sweet foods and drinks. Appetite control your problem? Sniff peppermint. A study from the Wheeling Jesuit University in America found that people who sniffed peppermint oil every two hours for five days reported lower levels of hunger and consumed 3,485 fewer calories over the course of the week than usual.
Set your alarm for 7.30 am or later
People who wake up before 07.21 have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol (which has been linked to weight gain) compared to those who get up just nine minutes later, according to a study from London's University of Westminster. Experts say that high levels of the stress hormone can intensify feelings of hunger - especially for calorie-dense, fatty and sugary foods.
Go to bed early
Bad news for night owls. People who stay up late eat 248 more calories per day on average than those who go to bed early, according to a study published in the journal Obesity. Several studies have concluded that the amount and quality of sleep we get is directly related to hormones which influence appetite. Men who were subjected to 48 hours of sleep deprivation experienced a 45 per cent increase in their desire for high carbohydrate, calorie-rich foods, during a study from the University of Chicago. Meanwhile, a separate study discovered that people who sleep for less than eight hours a night tend to have higher levels of body fat.
Turn the heating down
When you're getting all those extra ZZZs, make sure your bedroom isn't too warm. Turning down your thermostat at night may help you to lose weight according to a study by the National Institute of Health Clinical Center. Volunteers who slept in a 66-degree room burned more than seven percent more calories while sleeping than those who slept in a 75-degree room.
Scientists believe the body burns extra calories in order to raise its core body temperature to a stable 98.6 degrees. Over 24 hours of sleep you would burn an extra 100 calories. And make sure the room is completely dark. Researchers from Ohio State University found that mice who sleep in total darkness were considerably less prone to obesity than those who slept in dimmed or bright light.
Eat from a (little) red plate
Blue and green may be the best colours to suppress appetite but according to a study published in the journal Appetite, red plates are best if you want to lose weight. Researchers gave 240 volunteers popcorn and chocolate biscuits served on either a red, white, or blue plate. Those who ate from a red plate consumed less overall than those who ate from white or blue crockery.
Experts think we may associate the colour red with caution and so subconsciously eat less. It's not just the colour but the size of the plate that makes a difference. Brian Wansink, director of Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab, found that people who ate from oversized bowls ate 31 percent more ice-cream than those who were given a smaller bowl to eat from.
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