Losing weight can improve your health in numerous ways, but sometimes, even your best diet and exercise efforts may not be enough to reach the results you’re looking for. If that’s the case, you might consider exploring weight-loss surgery — also called bariatric surgery — as a treatment option to help you shed pounds and potentially improve other health conditions you’re experiencing as a result of obesity. Bariatric surgery is an involved treatment that’ll require you to make some lifelong changes, however, so it’s important to learn more about what to expect before you pursue this procedure.
The weight-loss equation is pretty simple: Eat less, move more, burn all the fat. But frankly, that equation stinks. (In fact, humans are scientifically designed to suck at dieting.) We are always looking for ways to beat the system—we're talking weight loss methods that don't involve counting calories or logging more time at the gym.
What can we say? We're not ready to accept that weight loss has to be difficult. And actually, neither is science. There are decades of research devoted to the habits, both the unusual and the everyday, that can aid with weight loss. In other words, scientists understand the struggle and are willing to spend their grant money and lab time to help. So we thank you, science, for discovering the following 13 easy tricks for losing weight without even trying.
Serving the same meal on a smaller plate (think eight to 10 inches versus 12) can help you consume less food, with the same amount of satisfaction. Why? It's all an optical illusion. The eyes, not the stomach, count calories. Seeing the white space around your food makes your brain think there's less food compared to the same amount of food on a smaller plate with no extra white space showing.
Better yet, make your small plate blue. Studies show the color blue has the least appealing contrast to most food, acting as an appetite suppressant. Unless, of course, you're eating a blue food. The same found that people eat more when their plates matched the color of the food on it. Just don't eat your quinoa mac 'n' cheese on an orange plate and you'll be good.
Eating slowly is probably the simplest trick on this list, and it comes with serious benefits. It takes the brain about 20 minutes to register fullness, so you need to give your body time to get there. One proven way to slow yourself down is to chew each bite more. A study found that participants who chewed each bite 40 times lost 12 percent more fat than participants who only chewed each bite 15 times. Yes, 40 chomps sounds like a lot, but start small (aim for 20) and work your way up to it.
You have bad fat (white fat) and you have good fat (brown fat). Brown fat burns energy (aka calories) to keep your body warm. You can activate it and thereby accelerate fat loss by exposing your body to cold temperatures. Take a cold shower, turn the thermostat down, or drink ice water. Most of your brown fat is located on your neck, chest, and upper back, so icing those areas works too.
We're all familiar with the virtues of keeping a food journal. But if you've ever tried to keep one, you know it's kind of a lot of work. Good news! A new study found a better way: photo journaling. Taking photos of everything you eat is more effective than writing it down. So download an app that makes it easy (we like BiteSnap), start documenting, and stay accountable to your healthy diet.
Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to your meals to boost your metabolism by up to 25 percent for three hours after you eat. Studies show capsaicin, the natural compound that makes spicy foods hot, also curbs hunger and cuts the craving for sweet, high-fat foods.
Chewing sugar-free gum between meals acts as a short-term appetite suppressant. Studies show that at least 45 minutes of gum chewing significantly lowers feelings of hunger, appetite, and cravings for sweets. Not surprisingly, it also helps cut back on snacking. So, stock up on the Trident ($8 for a pack 12).
You probably already know that our bodies tend to confuse hunger with thirst—don't let that happen. Drink more water throughout the day and especially before meals. Drinking a large glass of water before eating may help people shed more weight than cutting calories alone. And don't forget to take water breaks during your meals to help you avoid speed eating.
How can you make your workout more effective? First, get a cup of coffee before you hit the gym. Consuming caffeine before a workout boosts endurance. Caffeine slows the release of glycogen (what our bodies use for energy to fuel exercise), which encourages your body to use fat for fuel first. And second, set your workout to an upbeat playlist—songs with 180 beats per minute or more naturally encourage your body to move faster.
If you want to be accountable to your goals, tell someone what they are. Research shows that you lose more weight when you use social media, like Twitter and progress-tracking apps, in conjunction with diet and exercise. Find an online community to share your successes and setbacks with to reach your goal faster. We love MyFitnessPal (free in the App Store).
The old adage rings truer than ever when it comes to junk food. If the first thing you see when you open the pantry is a box of cookies, you're going to think about (and eventually eat) the cookies. Stash your less-than-healthy treats in the back of the cabinets and fridge. The same logic applies when you're serving yourself a meal. Fill your plate in the kitchen, leave the rest there, and eat your meal at the table with the remaining food out of sight. Do this at restaurants (which are notorious for their too-large portions), too. Ask the server to box up half your meal before you even see the full portion. When you increase the distance between you and food, you're more likely to listen to the feeling of fullness, rather than visual cues.
It may sound cheesy, but envisioning yourself achieving a goal makes a difference. Studies show that visualizing goal attainment—cranking out those last five push-ups, crossing the finish line of a 5K, or beating your personal best time—enhances your performance. Plus, picturing how good you're going to look in your skinny jeans once you've dropped those last few pounds isn't a bad motivator either. Dream it, believe it, and achieve it.30 Days One Dress Size Challenge rewiews