If you have been struggling to lose weight and not seeing results, it may not be what you are eating at all. After years of working with clients one on one to help them lose weight and keep it off, I can tell you that weight loss isn’t always just about what you eat or how much you exercise. Many times, it’s the simple lifestyle changes that can make all the difference in seeing results. That’s why I am sharing my top 5 ways to lose weight without dieting or without exercising more. And they are so simple, you can start implementing them today!
Tip #1: Organize Your Refrigerator and Pantry
Ever heard of the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind?’ Well it applies to food as well. Think about the last time you opened up your pantry looking for a snack. What did you end up choosing? Probably one of the options you saw first, am I right? There’s a reason why shelf space at eye level in the grocery store costs so much more. The food you see first tends to be the food you end up choosing.
Set yourself up to win by putting the foods you want to eat more of where you can see them. Keep your nutritious snacks like nuts, seeds, and air popped popcorn at eye levels. And put the cookies well in that back. That way they are there when you crave them, but you aren’t reminded of them every time you open the pantry. And do the same thing in your refrigerator. Keep the fresh fruits and veggies where you can see them easily. This will help you to choose them more (and also prevent you from finding some scary, moldy mess in the back of the fridge a month from now).
Tip #2: Put Your Food on a Plate
OK I know I am not the only person guilty of this. Have you ever eaten a meal (or a snack) without sitting down? I mean, who hasn’t done this, right? But think about what happens when you eat on the run and don’t take the time to focus on your food. You don’t feel satisfied.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s pretend you want to eat a cookie (who am I kidding- I can always go for a cookie, no need to pretend about that!). Now picture that you grab a cookie and eat it quickly as you run out the door with the kids to school. Do you even remember eating that cookie? Did you actually enjoy it? Probably not. And chances are, since you don’t feel satisfied, you want another cookie. But now envision you sat down with that cookie and put it on a plate. You ate it slowly, taking your time to pay attention to the taste, the texture, the smell. You made eating that cookie an experience. Now how do you feel? Pretty satisfied I’d imagine. Same cookie – two completely different eating experiences.
That example just highlights why it is so important to focus on not just what you eat, but HOW you eat. Take time to be mindful of your food. Sit down. Put your food on a plate. Eat it slowly. Involve all of your senses. The more you practice doing this, the more satisfied you will feel with smaller portions.
Tip #3: Downsize Your Plate Size
What size plate do you serve your meals on? As simple as it may seem, the size of your plate can make a difference when it comes to how much you actually eat at each meal. One study found that when participants were served meals on larger plates, they ate 45% more food. Were they that much hungrier? No, but we don’t always eat with just our stomach.
Our eyes are part of the eating experience too and they can help your mind determine if you will be satisfied or not before you ever even take your first bite. If you look at a large plate filled only halfway with food, it can appear visually as though the serving is too small. So before you even start to dig in, you may have decided you will need to eat more to truly be satisfied. But if you placed that same amount of food on a small plate, it visually looks more filling. And therefore you believe you will feel more satisfied after eating, which can help with portion regulation. Try eating off your salad plate versus your dinner plate this week and give it a try.
Tip #4: Turn Down the Lights
Have you ever noticed how fast food restaurants use bright, florescent lighting whereas upscale restaurants are often only lit by candlelight? Ever wonder why? It turns out the lighting has a direct impact on how fast and how much we eat. Research has found that eating in a brightly lit room can lead to consuming as much as 18% more calories whereas eating in a dim room not only led to eating less, but also provided the perception of a taster meal. So before you serve your next meal, turn down the lights. Not only will you eat slower and eat less, but your food may just taste better too!
Tip #5: Don’t Leave Food Out Where You Can See It
Have you ever worked in an office where there was a community bowl of candy left out all day? Did you find yourself eating more candy then you ever had before? You aren’t alone. When food is left out where you can see it, especially when it’s within arm’s reach, you are more inclined to eat it.
Of course, the best solution would be to stop leaving bowls of candy out in front of you, but you don’t always have control over this, especially in a work environment. But if you are in the situation, there is an easy solution. Just switch the candy bowl from a see-through container to an opaque one instead. One study found individuals ate as much as 60% more candy when they were exposed to it in clear bowls versus dark colored bowls they could not see through. And it makes perfect sense- if you have a constant reminder to eat something all day long, you probably will eat it. Take that reminder away (by getting rid of the clear jar) and you are more inclined to just seek out that food when you really want it.