Losing weight and keeping it off can be a struggle any time of year. But as the air starts to cool down outside many of us start bracing for the fall five.
Because when the leaves and the temperatures start to drop for many of us the means the numbers on our bathroom scale start to climb.
We tend to go into hibernation mode in the fall and winter. Spending far more time wrapped up on the couch watching TV then getting out and staying active. Which can lead to weight gain.
And then there’s the food.
From the steaming pumpkin flavored coffee drinks to the homemade macaroni and cheese that’s playing wingman to your Thanksgiving turkey, it’s no wonder that both men and women tend to put on four to five pounds at this time of year.
Weird but effective ways to stop overeating and slim down
But I’m going to share some downright bizarre mind tricks with your today that researchers say can help you stop overeating, effortlessly shed weight and keep it off no matter the time of year.
1. Kitchen counter fake out:
After analyzing hundreds of American households Cornell University researchers made a shocking discovery. Both men and women had a significantly lower body mass index when they kept a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter.1
In fact, folks who kept fruit within easy snacking reach weighed an average 13 pounds less than their peers did!
Put this mind trick to work for you by keeping your most enticing fruit front and center in the kitchen. Just the presence of the fruit will serve as a good reminder to make healthier choices. Which could keep you from overindulging in junk food or holiday treats.
And when a real snack attack strikes you’ll be more likely to grab an apple or pear than that second piece of pumpkin pie.
Want to supercharge this lose weight mind trick? Keep the rest of your food stored out of sight in a cabinet or pantry to stop overeating.
Because the researchers also found women who kept breakfast cereal sitting out on the counter, weighed an average 20 pounds more than neighbors who didn’t. And when soft drinks were stored in sight, the women weighed 24 to 26 pounds more.
2. Calm the chaos:
If you’ve ever found yourself mindlessly snacking when you’re feeling stressed, relax you’re perfectly normal. Experts say stress makes us far more likely to overeat.
But it turns out it’s not just work or relationship stress that can trigger that tendency to stuff our faces. According to researchers, a chaotic environment can stimulate overeating too.2
Researchers placed a group of over 100 female volunteers into one of two environments.
- A clean, well-organized and quiet kitchen
- A messy, disorganized and noisy kitchen
The volunteers then had to complete one of three different writing tasks. The first group had to write about a time they felt out of control, the second group had to write about a time they felt in control and the third group wrote about the last lecture they had attended.
Once they finished writing the volunteers tasted and rated cookies, crackers and carrots. The ladies in the messy and chaotic kitchen who wrote about a time they felt out of control ate significantly more cookies. And those who wrote about at time they felt in control ate the least.
Meanwhile the writing task had no influence whatsoever on the ladies in the clean and quiet kitchen.
We can put this mind trick to work on our own lives by actively practicing calm and in-control thinking when we find ourselves in a chaotic setting such as a party. Taking a few deep breaths and repeating a simple phrase to yourself such as, “I am in control,” could keep you from piling your plate full of unhealthy finger foods.
And keeping your kitchen well-organized could help stop overeating at home too.
3. Pay attention to the package:
Experts say the packaging our food comes in has a big influence on our eating habits. Several studies have found that the size of a package can lead us to eat more or less. Large packages can subtly influence us to eat more than the standard serving of a food.
Images on food packages can influence is too. They can cause us to serve bigger portion sizes, or underestimate how many calories we’re gobbling down at a sitting.3
In one study, researchers compared the calories listed on cake mix nutrition labels to what the actual calories of the cake and frosting used in the picture on the package would be. They found that on average the combined calories of the cake and frosting in the pictures exceeded the number of calories listed by 134 percent.
In three follow up studies the researchers used a cake mix box with a picture of a single slice of round cake on it. The scientists explained to some volunteers that the frosting wasn’t included on the nutrition label, and others didn’t get this information.
Then the researchers asked each volunteer what he or she thought a reasonable serving size of the cake would be. Those folks who had received the tip about the icing not being included cut way back on the serving size.
You can put these findings to work for you by paying closer attention to package labeling, and making mindful decisions. Many foods come in serving size packages these days, or try dividing larger packages into single serve sizes when you get home to stop overeating. And never eat directly from a package.
Don’t be fooled by packaging pictures. Carefully read nutrition labels instead. When in doubt assume the any extras included in the picture, such as frosting are not included.
Why not make THIS the year you say goodbye to the fall five forever? Give these three bizarre, but proven effective, tricks a try to stop overeating and lose weight starting today.
1. “Kitchen Counter Correlates of Obesity,” Health Education and Behavior, Vol 43, Issue 5, 2016
2. “Clutter, Chaos, and Overconsumption: The Role of Mind-Set in Stressful and Chaotic Food Environments,” Environment and Behavior, Vol 49, Issue 2, 2017
3. “Frosting on the cake: pictures on food packaging bias serving size,” Public Health Nutrition: 19(12), 2128–2134
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