While having a scale in the house isn’t right for everyone, research has shown that it can help encourage weight loss by providing a level of accountability. When Cornell University researchers observed dieters who weighed themselves daily, they discovered that the routine of stepping on a scale helped those people lose more weight than those who weighed themselves less frequently. To avoid being thrown off by natural fluctuations in body weight, try stepping onto the scale the same time every day.
Instead of labeling foods as good or bad, think about which foods you can eat a lot of, and which ones you should just eat a little of. Then, plan ways to eat the foods you really like in portions that fit with your overall goals. “A good example of this would be having a slice of pizza alongside a club salad with chicken breast, avocado and a bit of dressing,” Kamp says. “This is vastly different than 3 slices of pizza, 4 breadsticks with cheese sauce and half of a liter of regular soda.”
Yes, it sounds weird, but it might actually work. A study found that participants who regularly smelled peppermint reported lower hunger levels, significantly lower calorie intake, and fewer calories from saturated fat and sugar during the research period. Plus, says dietician Vanessa Rissetto, R.D., you may begin to create associations between the smell of peppermint and better self-control—as long as that minty aroma isn’t coming from peppermint candy, of course.
There’s some truth to the old adage that breakfast is the “most important meal of the day,” and if you’re looking to blast belly fat, what you eat at the start of each day can make all the difference. According to a study from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a high-fiber, high-protein breakfast may be the most important investment you can make for your waistline. The study showed that eating breakfast triggered women’s brains to release dopamine, a feel-good chemical that helps to control impulses. In other words, eating a balanced breakfast decreases your chances of reaching for that 3 p.m. candy bar and keeps your belly slim.
Setting lofty weight-loss goals may actually set you up for lasting success, according to the same American Journal of Preventive Medicine study. Researchers found that those who lost the most weight initially ended up losing the most weight long-term, too. The study authors stress that large weight losses come hand-in-hand with greater health benefits, including increased sustained weight loss overall.
Take time to toss the junk. If you’ve got favorite not-so-great items you’d like to save as a treat, tuck them in the back of the pantry with healthier items, like whole grain pasta, rice, beans and nuts up front. We know that just because the bag of lentils are right in front doesn’t mean you’ll forget about the brownie mix, but it can help. Just seeing or smelling food can stimulate cravings, and increase hunger (especially for junk food).
You can write down what you ate, but when looking back a week later, it may be tough to visualize exactly what a meal looked like. A quicker, and perhaps more telling, alternative is to take photos of each meal. A small study showed that photographic food diaries could alter attitudes and behaviors associated with food choices more than written diaries. Grab a camera and get snapping.
Weightlifting isn’t going to make you look bulky — that’s just a myth. Something it can do, though? Help you lose weight — and super effectively. In a 2017 study published in the journal Obesity, researchers found pumping some iron (along with consuming less food!) helped the participants lose more weight. And in comparison to the participants who walked as their form of exercise or didn’t exercise at all, the weightlifters dropped more fat and gained more muscle.
Believe it or not, weight loss isn’t just about exercising and eating right; research suggests what motivates you to get in shape can play a role in your success. A 2014 study in the journal Body Image looked at 321 college-age women and found that long-term, those who exercised primarily for appearance-based reasons had a harder time sticking to their fitness plans than those who worked out to maintain their health. In other words, stop envying those fit models on Instagram and instead remember that you and your loved ones are the people who really benefit when you slim down.
Fill at least half of your lunch and dinner plate with vegetables. Vegetables are nutrient-dense, high in satiating fiber, and low in calories, making them ideal weight loss tools, says registered dietitian Danielle Omar. “By eating the veggie half of your plate before anything else, you will take the edge off your hunger, eat less overall calories, and still feel full and satisfied. Keep eating this way and the pounds will painlessly melt away.” For more super easy weight loss hacks, check out these