By Tan Sher Lynn
Tired of using the same old methods to lose that extra weight? Here are some fresh ideas to try out. They may sound a little weird but they’re actually backed by research!
Turn off the lights
Experiencing more darkness at night could make your body lighter. Researches from the Ohio State University found that mice that live with light at night got fatter although there were no differences in activity levels or daily food consumption. However, they ate at different times. This shows that weight gain also depends on our own body clock or circadian rhythms. Persistent exposure to light during nigh time changes your metabolism and makes you pile on the pounds without any change in the amount you eat. So, remember to switch off the light before you sleep – it doesn’t only contribute to a greener earth, but a slimmer waistline too.
Eat Off Small Plates
Using a small plate to eat your meals – whether at home or at the buffet table – can significantly reduce the amount of food you take in. Researches from Cornell University found that people with oversize bowls served themselves 31 percent more ice-cream than those with small bowls and those with big scoops and big bowls served themselves 57 percent more. Larger plates can make a serving of food appear smaller, tricking us into believing we have eaten less. Similarly, smaller plates can lead us to misjudge that very same quantity of food as being significantly larger.
Use Chopsticks to Eat
Using chopsticks to eat forces you to take in food much slower, giving sufficient time for your stomach to send signals to your brain that you are satisfied, thus preventing overeating. A 2008 study published in the journal Obesity found that people at a healthy weight were three times more likely to use chopsticks at a Chinese restaurant than obese people. Besides, eating with chopsticks allows you to savour every bite — so you may even find that your food tastes better.
Eat With Your Non-Dominant Hand
A study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology found that snackers who typically ate popcorn at the movies consumed less when using their non-dominant hand. This happens because eating with your non-dominant hand doesn’t feel natural and in turn, makes you eat slower and less likely to eat mindlessly.
Blue is the Colour
Odd as it may seem, immersing yourself in blue can actually suppress your appetite, as shown in a study by Dr Val Jones and the Parsons School of Design in New York. Participants were asked to be in rooms of different colours — namely red, yellow and blue. They were then served identical plates of food. Those in the blue room consumed about 33 percent less food than in the people in the other two room. So, if you’re trying to control your food intake, use blue plates, blue utensils, blue tablecloth, or better still, paint your dinning wall blue!
Smell these foods
Although the delicious smell of your neighbour’s curry may make your stomach growl, certain smells can actually curb the appetite. A study of 3,000 people at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago shows that catching the scent of banana, apple or peppermint when hunger strikes led to an average drop of nearly 30 pounds (14kg) during a six month period. Inhaling these scents regularly seems to be able to trick our brain into thinking we actually ate the food.
Try the “Toothpaste Diet”
Despite its name, this diet doesn’t recommend you eat your toothpaste (it can be toxic!), but to brush your teeth after a meal. Using a mint-flavoured one is especially beneficial as the minty flavour signals the brain that the meal is over and helps to curb cravings for desserts or other fattening foods. Moreover, the strong minty taste in your mouth doesn’t mix well with many types of food and will make each one taste less appetising.