Sometimes the simplest remedies really are the best: Here’s how to lose weight by eating apples, dancing in the kitchen, and getting some morning sun.
1. Don’t clear the table
Don’t tell your mom, but we’re giving you official permission to make a mess. As you eat, leave the candy wrappers, fruit peels, nut shells, and other scraps on the table. According to a study published in the journal Appetite in 2011, people who kept a bowl of pistachio shells on their desks consumed significantly fewer calories than those who periodically threw out the shells. Seeing the shells (or other discarded items) can serve as a visual cue, reminding you of exactly how much you’ve eaten and to stop eating when you’re full.
2. Curtail your cocktails
Happy hour isn’t so happy when you consider the toll it takes on your waistline, says Fiola Sowemimo, MD, who practices internal and bariatric medicine in Freehold, New Jersey. Booze is one of the biggest factors in weight gain, especially if you’re drinking alcohol combined with sugary mixers, like margaritas or a rum and Coke. “One of the top tips I give to my patients looking to lose weight is to avoid excess alcohol,” she says.
3. Ditch the mood lighting
Low lighting may be ideal for a romantic dinner, but you should turn up the lights if you’re watching your waistline, according to a study published in the Journal of Marketing Research in 2016. Diners who ate in well-lit dining areas were 16 to 24 percent more likely to order healthy foods, the researchers found. Y
4. Clean out your medicine cabinet
First, it probably needs to be cleaned out anyhow. (See the baby ibuprofen you got for your baby…who’s now 12.) Second, some meds for common conditions, like high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression, can cause weight gain or make it harder for you to lose excess weight, Dr. Sowemimo says.
5. Follow an eating schedule
What you eat is only half the equation. “Regardless of which diet you choose, when you eat is important, too,” Dr. Sowemimo says. Starving all day is a recipe for bingeing later, she adds. Instead, eat small, healthy meals and snacks at regular times throughout the day to curb cravings.
6. Snack on yogurt
The bacteria in your gut influence your entire body, and that includes your weight. Give the good bugs some backup by filling up on probiotic-rich foods, like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods. Yogurt makes you gag? Another option is to take a probiotic supplement every day, says Chanté Wiegand, a naturopathic physician and the director of science and education at the Synergy Company. “Certain healthy bacteria in the gut predispose you to a faster metabolism,” she says.
7. Stop charging your phone in your bedroom
Resist the urge to wind down before bedtime by scrolling through Facebook on your phone. Not only do you not want to dream of your ex’s fabulous vacation (and why are you still following him anyway?), but the blue light from your smartphone, tablet, or TV screen is also messing up your circadian rhythm, according to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in 2014. Not only can this prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, but it can also disrupt the production of the hormone melatonin, which could slow down your metabolism.
8. Bring back afternoon tea time
Ever notice how it’s only at very specific times that your willpower crumbles? For most of us, temptation usually hits in the late afternoon and before bed—the two times when we’re likely the most tired and stressed. Head off a snack-tastrophe by eating a mid-afternoon mini-meal that contains healthy fats and protein to fill you up, says Suzanne Fisher, RD, a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist based in Florida. “Ghrelin (a hormone that increases appetite) will increase during periods of hunger, so a mid-afternoon snack can prevent overeating later in the day,” she explains.
9. Start the day with hot water and lemon
Lots of people love to jump-start their day with a warm beverage, but if you’re looking to lose weight, try a cup of hot water with a squeeze of lemon, suggests Lacey Hickox Lehman, co-founder of Sacred Paths Yoga. “It boosts metabolism and aids in digestion,” she explains.
10. Set the table with salad plates
A simple solution to the portion problem may be to use smaller dishes. Eating off 8-inch salad plates instead of 10-inch (or larger) dinner plates, and using small bowls instead of large soup bowls may help you feel like you’re still getting a full plate‘s worth of food but with far fewer calories, according to studies at Cornell’s Food Lab. Although questions have been raised about the quality of studies from the Cornell Food Lab, it’s true that many of us are members of the Clean Plate Club, so it’s worth it to experiment with using smaller plates to see if we’ll naturally eat smaller portions without missing those extra bites.
11. Skip the soda tax…on your waistline
Giving up sweetened beverages like juice, soda, and even “healthy” sports drinks is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lose weight, says Holly Rilinger, a Nike Master Trainer and the author of Lifted: 28 Days to Strengthen Your Body, Focus Your Mind, and Elevate Your Spirit. “Don’t drink calories; drink water,” she says. “Save your calorie-packed drinks for when you really want them—like at a party or celebration.”
12. Chew Mint Gum
Peppermint, one of the key aromas in chewing gum, tea, toothpaste, and mouthwash, may help with weight loss, according to a small Belgian study. In the experiment, published in the journal Neurogastroenterology and Motility, people taking a peppermint oil capsule had a reduced appetite compared to people who didn’t pop the supplement. Try chewing sugarless peppermint gum or drinking peppermint tea to see if this effect works for you.
13. Hold your fork in your “wrong” hand
If you want to be more mindful of what you eat so you don’t miss your satiety signals and end up consuming too many calories, slow down. A simple way to put a speed bump between you and your plate is to hold your fork with your non-dominant hand, notes the Cleveland Clinic. This simple trick can help you lose weight—and keep it off. Chopsticks can also help slow things down, as can swiveling away from your desk when you snack at the office.