Losing weight is seldom as straightforward as it sounds.
Perhaps you were plugging along, but then hit a plateau. Or maybe you’re accidently sabotaging your efforts by giving in to cravings.
But whatever the case, you need some help getting the numbers on the scale to move in the right direction again. And these simple but effective weight loss tricks could do the trick.
Simple weight loss tricks that work
Following are two weird weight loss tricks that on the surface sound like they shouldn’t work. But strangely, they do.
1. Ditch your diet:
If you’ve been counting calories, slashing carbs and watching your diet like a hawk but aren’t losing as much as you’d like, try ditching your diet. Because, believe it or not, taking a break from your eating plan could be the key to losing MORE weight.
In one study, a group of obese guys using this weight loss trick lost significantly more weight than the guys who stuck to their strict diet.
Researchers divided overweight volunteers into two groups, according to the study published in the International Journal of Obesity.1
- The first group of guys followed a stringent diet that slashed their calorie intake by one third for 16 weeks.
- The second group of men followed the same diet. But every two weeks they took a two week break from it, for a total of 30 weeks.
Despite the breaks–and eating more—the second group of guys dropped 50 percent MORE weight than the guys who stuck to the strict diet the entire time.
So what’s the deal? According to experts, this strange phenomenon is actually an ancient trick your body once used to protect itself during times when food supplies were scarce.
When you drastically reduce your calorie intake, your body senses the drop in energy-boosting fuel. It then flips into famine mode, making some adjustments to help conserve and restore your energy reserves.
As a result, your appetite increases and your body adjusts your metabolism to begin hoarding as much energy as it can.
In other words, now that food is plentiful the famine response backfires on us. Causing us to burn fewer calories, and sometimes even gain weight.
But you can stay ahead of the slow down by taking periodic breaks from your diet. In the end the guys who ditched their diet from time to time, managed to keep off 18 pounds more on average than the guys who had eaten the strict diet for the full length of the study.
2. Retrain your brain:
Snack attacks are your worst enemy when you’re dieting. Because no matter how hard you’ve been working, giving into junk food cravings can undo your progress.
But experts say the key to overcoming those cravings could be to retrain your brain with a weight loss trick called mindful eating.2,3
The next time you feel a sweet, salty or crunchy craving starting to sneak up on you you’re going to tackle the craving head on with a substitute.
So for a sweet craving skip the candy bar and choose a healthier sweet such a single dried apricot or raisin. For salty it might be a single salted almond or piece of popcorn. And for the crunch craving perhaps a small cucumber chunk or piece of a carrot stick.
Now comes the retraining part. Before eating anything pick up your piece of food and examine it very carefully. Notice each line, bump or wrinkle. Take in the color variations and smell.
Next, pop it into your mouth and roll it around feeling the texture. As you slowly chew it, note exactly how the flavor of it unfolds. And as you swallow, picture it moving down your throat into your stomach and feeding your body the energy it needs to survive.
By the time you’re done your craving will usually be gone.
Junk food cravings rarely last longer than five minutes. But few of us have the willpower to wait through them. This mindful eating trick works for three reasons.
First, it allows you to give in to the craving, without doing the damage. Second, it serves as a simple distraction from the original craving.
And finally, it triggers your brain to release calming GABA. This helps dull the craving and retrains your brain to associate the healthier food with the calming reward.
Which means when it comes to weight loss tricks, this one could really work.
1. “Intermittent energy restriction improves weight loss efficiency in obese men: the MATADOR study,” International Journal of Obesity advance online publication 19 September 2017
2. “Mindfulness meditation as an intervention for binge eating, emotional eating, and weight loss: a systematic review,” Eat Behav. 2014 Apr;15(2):197-204
3. “The effect of an 8-week mindful eating intervention on anticipatory reward responses in the midbrain,” bioRxiv – preprint server of biology, posted July 21, 2017