While what’s on your fork is important, half the battle when you’re trying to drop a few pounds is in your head. Cravings, snack attacks, stress and doubts about succeeding can all stand in your way when you want to lose weight.
Make the next time you commit to thinning down the last time too. With these surprising brain tricks you can bust through the flab armed only with the incredible power of your mind.
Break out the cards:
The name of the game here is distraction. When those cookies start calling to you from the pantry, or you feel tempted to head back to the kitchen for seconds or even thirds, give your brain something else to do. Playing a round or two of solitaire will engage your brain, forcing you to focus intently on the task, and within mere minutes the craving will likely have passed.
Visualize eating BEFORE taking a bite:
Carnegie Mellon University researchers say the key to curbing overeating might just lie in visualizing eating before taking a bite.1 In a fascinating experiment they had volunteers picture themselves eating either three or 30 M&M candies.
They were then offered a bowl of M&Ms to eat from and told it was for a taste test. But the researchers were actually collecting data on how many M&Ms they chose to eat. And it turns out the folks who had pictured eating the most M&Ms ate far less of the candy!
Experts say that simply visualizing eating the food suppresses appetite in much the same way that actually eating it does. Which means we may be able to use this trick to help ourselves eat less too. Before indulging in a treat, or even a meal, take a few moments to picture yourself eating it first.
Grab the mouthwash:
If your diet downfall is finding it hard to say no to foods stuffed full of bad for you fats such as potato chips, this mouthwash trick is just what the doctor ordered. After you’ve indulged in a couple bites to satisfy your craving switch off your snack attack by gargling with some minty mouthwash.
This simple solution will keep you from going back for more, according to research published in the journal Appetite.2 When researchers had potato-chip snacking volunteer’s rinse their mouths out with a menthol mouthwash, their desire to eat more chips bottomed out. And those that tried another chip found them unappetizing.
According to experts the trick works because the cool minty mouthwash is a sensory contrast to the chips. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that our brains associate menthol and mint flavors with after eating activities. For this reason brushing your teeth with minty toothpaste or chewing gum can help whack those cravings too.
Turn your phone into a friend:
If you find it hard to say no to the office doughnuts, or the two o’clock post lunch slump always has you heading to the snack machine for an afternoon pick-me-up, you’re going to love this slimming trick. You can use your smartphone to help you avoid these diet pitfalls. Set your phone to send you positive, motivating messages throughout the day to help you say no whenever your willpower is waning.
Picture your happy healthy future:
Feel yourself caving in to a snack attack? Stop and visualize your future self, slimmer, healthier and happier. Make sure to fill in all the details, such as how you look and feel in your new smaller sized duds.
A study out of the University of Buffalo found that when overweight women did just this—pictured themselves in enjoyable future scenarios—they found it far easier to step away from the table.3
Order up an appetizer:
Wait, you want me to eat MORE to weigh less?
In this case, yes. It turns out ordering up a diet-friendly appetizer such as a small side salad can help you make good decisions for the rest of the meal. Experts say you’ll end up eating around 21 percent less food with this trick.4
Researchers from the University of Leeds, who tested it in a study, say this slimming solution works for a couple of reasons. Foods such as fiber rich leafy greens, or a belly-filling piece of fruit, slash your appetite, while being moderate in calories. But equally as important, the healthy appetizer serves as a mental reminder that you’re trying to shed a few pounds. As a result you subconsciously make similar good-for-you choices for the rest of your meal.
It turns out the brain is a dieter’s best friend. Harness the power of your mind to shed those stubborn extra pounds stating today.
Got any slimming tricks of your own? Share them with us in the comments below.
1. “Thought for Food: Imagined Consumption Reduces Actual Consumption,” Science, 10 Dec 2010: Vol. 330, Issue 6010, pp. 1530-1533
2. “Modification of aftertaste with a menthol mouthwash reduces food wanting, liking, and ad libitum intake of potato crisps,” Appetite, Volume 108, 1 January 2017, Pages 57–67
3. “The Future Is Now: Reducing Impulsivity and Energy Intake Using Episodic Future Thinking,” Psychological Science, Vol 24, Issue 11, 2013
4. “Slimming starters. Intake of a diet-congruent food reduces meal intake in active dieters,” Appetite, Volume 71, 1 December 20
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