Losing weight is hard. It often means you have to completely change the way you live — everything from your morning routine to how you spend your money. If you don’t exercise, you have to start. If you can’t stop eating junk food, you have to figure out how to curb your cravings.
You can trick yourself into making these changes, once you know where to start. If you’re struggling to lose weight, these eight simple mind tricks might help you achieve your goals.
1. Keep high-calorie foods out of sight
Do you give into your sugar cravings the moment you see that unopened package of Oreos in your cabinet? The easier it is to indulge, the more likely you are to dive in. If you have a bad habit of mindlessly snacking on things as soon as you see them, keep them out of reach. Rearrange your cabinets so that healthier foods sit in front while those Oreos stay hidden in the back. You might forget they’re even there.
2. Swap soda with water
Thankfully, losing weight doesn’t mean saying goodbye to fizzy drinks forever. Research has shown that drinking even one less soda every week could help you shed pounds. You can easily accomplish this if you swap out soda with water for at least one meal per week to start, if not more. We often associate soda with less healthy foods, and water with healthier foods — it’s a trick that just might work.
3. Tell yourself you can eat anything you want
Your constant “I can’t eat this” mantra isn’t doing you any good. While it’s true processed foods are terrible for you, telling yourself no might only make you crave them more. You don’t gain weight because you’re eating the wrong food — you gain it because you’re eating too much of everything. When nothing’s off limits, you might find it easier to practice self-control.
4. Turn the lights down
There are many things you can do during mealtimes at home to trick yourself into eating less and losing weight. Atmosphere matters. Some research suggests eating in dimmer light might decrease your average calorie intake per meal, for example. Eating without distractions — such as your phone or TV — can also make a difference.
5. Put junk food on the menu
Losing weight doesn’t have to involve cutting out junk food for good. In fact, trying to resist your cravings could be one of the biggest weight loss mistakes you’re making. Think of how much easier it would be to get through your afternoon if you knew that after dinner, you were going to eat a few scoops of ice cream? Planning out your indulgences makes you less likely to overeat throughout the rest of the day.
6. Take pictures of your food
We have a tendency to underestimate how calorie-dense our meals and snacks are. This is why some food and activity tracking apps allow you to take pictures of what you’re about to eat to help you calculate its nutritional value. Snapping photos of your lunch might help increase your awareness of what you’re eating, allowing you to think more critically about the food choices you’re making throughout your day.
7. Eat before you shop
There’s nothing worse than wandering through the aisles at your local grocery store and seeing something you absolutely need to buy. It’s almost never healthy, and it wasn’t originally on your list, either. You can shop healthier if you don’t do so on an empty stomach. You’re much less likely to splurge on junk food if you’ve just eaten (hopefully healthier) food.
8. Use smaller plates
Have you noticed bigger plates never seem to have empty space on them? The more plate we have available, the more we want to fill it with food. It’s like buying a bigger house for space but once you have it you naturally want to fill every room and corner with something. Try solving the problem before it has a chance to show up on your waistline by using smaller plates and bowls.
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