Smell fresh produce (think apples, pears, and bananas)
Drink a glass of wine before bed
Drink your coffee black
Daydream about candy
Wear jeans when possible
Have a spoonful of PB
Take a leisurely walk
Sip on green tea
Down a glass of water
Eat at the table (with no TV!)
Have dinner early
Switch up your dinnerware
Sprinkle on black pepper and fresh herbs
That's right, you don't even need to peel or bite it—just smell some produce to lose weight. Really! A 2014 study conducted for the journal Appetite at the University of Bourgogne in France found that just being exposed to the scent of a pear led subjects to make healthier food choices afterwards, especially when it came to sweets. Keep a fresh bowl of fruit out in the kitchen or on your dining table to keep your appetite (and waistline!) in check.
Yes, this is still real life! Red wine contains resveratrol, a much-lauded anti-aging compound that also has serious weight-loss properties. Resveratrol converts white fat into brown fat, according to research from Washington State University, which is more easily burned off—even when you snooze. Talk about a win-win, right?
Basically, have fun. A genuine belly laugh may cause a 10 to 20 percent increase in basal metabolic rate, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. That's up to a 170-calorie burn for a ten-minute laugh fest. So, you can basically burn off those baked cheetos just by watching Inside Amy Schumer. Not too shabby, eh?
A cup of coffee has zero calories and about 200 mg of caffeine. Not only will the caffeine be more likely to propel you to the gym (or, realistically, to school drop-off first), but if you normally take yours with milk and sugar, you'll be saving yourself around 100 calories a day.
We know that thinking about candy can be pretty tempting (oh hey, Snickers bar), but it turns out, if you fantasize about it you may not actually end up eating it. Landmark research out of the University of Carnegie Mellon overturned the notion that dreaming of food means eating more food. In fact, they found that by fantasizing about treats, consumption was actually reduced. So think about the fun size M&Ms you put in your kids' lunchboxes—just don't have them yourself. Easy enough, right?
This is a common-sense style tip: When you wear baggy, loose clothing, you literally lose sight of your own body. By putting on some flattering, form-fitting jeans, you'll be hyper aware of what you're eating—and when you should stop. Dr. Austin says you can also use a pair of jeans every two weeks as a marker to see how much or little weight you've lost. "It keeps you toeing the line."
By nibbling on peanut butter before going out to a party or big meal, studies confirmed you'll be less likely to binge later. "Peanuts and peanut butter support satiety and are nutrient dense," says Craig Johnston, PhD. "Peanuts aren't a miracle food that make calories disappear, but they can hold you over and help you eat more mindfully."
Need somewhere to fantasize about those sweets? Get out of the house and walk for like, 20 minutes. You don't need to run, jog, or even power walk. Dr. Phoenyx Austin, an exercise physiologist, swears that the LISS (that's low-intensity, steady-state) workout is as effective, if not more, at burning fat than other, often sweatier and harder, kinds of workouts. "Your body is going to adapt to a workout as it gets more and more intense, so if you need to crank it up, you can wear ankle weights or try walking hills," Dr. Austin says.
Even better than that black coffee? A mug of green tea (or iced, if it's too damn hot out). Not only is this beverage calorie-free, but a 2011 study found that it helps keep weight in check, too. While the study was performed on mice, the authors concur that having a few cups a day can have the same effect on humans, too.
Maximize your sweat session by working your entire body, not going section by section. Instead of hopping on a leg press machine followed by a few bicep curls, try a burpee, which targets your entire body, says Dr. Austin. And since they're bodyweight moves, all you need is yourself, which means no excuses because of a lack of equipment or space. (Seriously, you can do them in your living room). "The calorie burn is awesome, and it's cardio plus strength training. It's an all-in-one move." However, Austin notes there are also variations within burpees: She adds a jump and push-up to hers, but you can modify them to your own fitness level. Count time, rather than reps, she adds—you'll be able to see progress faster.
Similar principle for water except it doesn't have the caloric value that PB does. So when it comes to pregaming a meal with H20, feel free to do so with abandon. A study published in the journal of Obesity found that people who drank two cups of water before eating consumed 75 to 90 fewer calories over the course of a meal. So start chugging.
In 2016, it feels like we're always multitasking. And while multitasking is indeed an excellent time-saver, skip it when it comes to the dinner (or lunch, or breakfast) table. That means no TV watching, music listening, or cell phones at the table. You can do it. A 2013 study conducted by Harvard Medical School found that these kinds of distractions at meal time contributed to weight gain, and drew two main conclusions: One, that being distracted led to eating more, but also that two, being mindful about what was consumed actually led to eating less calories overall by the end of the meal. Sit the fam down, put out the good plates, and ask everyone how their day was—it's better than another episode of Wheel of Fortune.
The beauty of this tip is that it has nothing to do with your plate or what's on it. In fact, theoretically, you could employ this tip, stay on whatever non-diet you may be on, and still drop pounds. That's because research published in the International Journal of Obesity found that dieters who ate their main meal before 3 p.m. lost significantly more weight than those who ate later in the day. And while eating dinner at 3 may not be feasible, you can try to get the whole family around the dinner table as early as possible.
Another easy trick lies in the place setting—or rather, two tricks do. For example, Amanda Goldfarb, RD, recommends using a salad plate for main meals. "It provides you with built-in portion control," says Goldfarb, and helps to naturally lessen your overall intake. Likewise, there's also research that suggests using chopsticks can help with weight loss. In fact, a whole book was penned on the subject. The author, Kimiko Barber, says that eating with chopsticks slows you down, so you eat less.
Different ways to season, but both guaranteed to help you lop some inches off your waistline. Black pepper has piperine that's been shown to decrease inflammation and interfere with the formation of fat cells, says Goldfarb. Fresh herbs, on the other hand, have a similar effect to that of smelling fruit—the more aromatic a dish is, the less likely you are to overindulge. Bring on the cilantro and mint!