We are a society of do-ers. Especially when it comes to weight loss; it’s the ultramarathoners, the uber-vegans, the cleansers, the Crossfitters, and the calorie-counters who keep the weight off.
When it comes to health and fitness, sometimes it can feel like you’re doing it wrong if your journey’s not marked by blood, sweat and tears. Or so the diet and fitness industry would have you believe. But we’re here to assure you that working towards a weight loss goal doesn’t have to be crazy difficult. These nine simple tweaks can help the laziest of dieters drop a few pounds without lifting a finger. Stay in your PJs, throw on some Netflix, and feel smug about your slim-slacker status, while the rest of them slave away on the treadmill and you read about the fastest way to lose weight. And to eat yourself skinny, don’t miss The Best Ways to Lose Belly Fat for Good, Say Doctors.
Invest in a spice pantry
Finishing a meal with grind of black pepper and a sprinkling of fresh herbs isn’t just très gourmet, it’s a double-duty weight loss trick. A study in the journal Appetite found participants ate significantly less of a wildly aromatic dish than a mildly scented variety. Adding herbs and sodium-free spice blends is an easy take advantage of sensory illusion that you’re indulging in something rich—without adding any fat or calories to your plate.
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Make healthy foods prominent and hide unhealthier foods
Everyone follows a see-food diet. The foods you see are the ones you eat. A study published in the Journal of Marketing found that people are more likely to overeat small treats from transparent packages than from opaque ones. For a lazy way to lose weight, capitalize on this human preference by putting healthy foods front and center and hiding your guilty pleasures in hard-to-reach places. Better yet, keep them off your grocery list in the first place! (You can’t eat what you don’t have, right?) Replace them with The Healthiest Foods You Should Be Eating Every Day, According to Experts.
Clear your desk and counters of food
It’s one thing to make sure the snacks you see first on your counter or when you open your fridge or pantry are healthy, but it’s another to keep these foods out of sight completely. That’s because the simple act of seeing food—even if it’s just a photo—is enough to increase levels of the hormones that make you hungry, according to a PLoS ONE study. So those cute bowls of candy, jars of cookies, or bags of chips you stock in easy-to-see places should be hidden immediately to avoid eating excess calories when your body isn’t actually hungry.
Drink more water
Can weight loss really be as simple as drinking a glass of water? Yes, yes it can be. A study published in the journal Obesity found that people who drank two cups of water before eating lost an average of 9.5 pounds over the course of 12 weeks. This may simply be because water is filling, but researchers note the added H20 may well be displacing calories otherwise spent on calorie-laden beverages.
Chew some gum
It won’t just make your breath smell better. In fact, this trick would even work if you chewed on flavorless gum! According to a Frontiers in Psychology study, chewing flavorless gum was able to reduce appetite and help prevent impulsive eating almost as much as actually eating food. Getting cravings but only have access to junk food? Grab some gum to tide you over till you get to the veggies in your fridge.
Snack in the afternoon
Americans are serial snackers. In fact, about two-thirds of adults snack at least twice a day, according to a study by the U.S Department of Agriculture—a habit researchers associate with the accumulation of belly fat. But you don’t have to go snackless to snack less. Just watch the clock. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that mid-morning snackers tended to consume more throughout the day and experienced less weight loss over the course of 12 months compared to afternoon healthy snackers. Afternoon munching was associated with a slightly higher intake of filling fiber and fruits and vegetables.
Wear comfortable clothes
Forget the suit and tie, leave the heels at home, and take advantage of every casual Friday. A study by The American Council on Exercise suggests casual clothing, as opposed to conventional business attire, can increase physical activity levels in our daily routines. Participants in the study took an additional 491 steps, and burned 25 more calories, on days they wore denim than when wearing traditional suit wear. That may sound trivial, but the calories add up! Researchers say keeping it casual just once a week could slash 6,250 calories over the course of the year—enough to offset the average annual weight gain (0.4 to 1.8 pounds) experienced by most Americans. Get more insightful a.m. tips with these 30 Best Breakfast Habits to Drop 5 Pounds.
Take a minute to enjoy your food
“Mindful eating” has the power to make food more pleasurable and may help prevent overeating. In one Behaviour Research and Therapy study, participants who were assigned to eat a chocolate bar more mindfully with a particular breaking and unwrapping ritual found the candy much more enjoyable—and even more flavorful—than a group who ate the bar informally.
Take a nap
The best piece of exercise equipment for the lazy dieter? The bed. No, you can’t love make your way lean. You can absolutely sleep your way to slender, though. In fact, getting enough quality sleep is crucial for healthy weight loss. A recent study found sub-par sleep could undermine weight loss by as much as 55 percent! Inadequate or broken sleep can throw hunger-regulating hormones out of balance. Ghrelin, the “I’m hungry” hormone, shoots up; leptin, the “I’m full!” hormone, decreases. The result? You’re hungrier, and you eat more food.