We Tested 14 Popular Weight Loss Tricks
The Internet is full of secrets to get a great body quickly and easily. But which ones should you trust?
One of Bright Side's editors decided to test all of them firsthand to be able to tell right from wrong, so you don't have to repeat her mistakes.
We should warn you that everybody is different, and what works for one might not work for someone else and vice versa. Here we want to share our own experience and observations.
Tip #1: Drink water before a meal.
What to do: 15 to 20 minutes before eating, drink a glass of water at room temperature. Water fills you up and doesn't let you eat a lot. You also burn calories warming the water up to body temperature.
What happened: I managed to trick my stomach for maybe 10 minutes, after which the hunger returned, and I ate no less than usual.
Our verdict: #nope
Tip #2: Aromatherapy.
What to do: While cooking, the appetite might decrease or disappear completely because smells deceive our brain into thinking we are full. This is why aromatherapists recommend inhaling smells of apples, mint, or vanilla when dieting.
What happened: The intense smell of aroma oil really does reduce the appetite but not for long. After half an hour, the hunger returns stronger than before.
Our verdict: This does work but not for long.
Tip #3: Brush your teeth instead of eating dessert.
What to do: Another way to fight a craving is to brush your teeth instead of eating. Feeling the menthol of the toothpaste in your mouth, your brain gets a signal that the meal is over.
What happened: Exactly what was promised, as strange as that was. Even if there was a pang of hunger, going for lunch wasn't on my mind for another hour or two. That is because, for me, brushing my teeth is associated with the end of a day and going to sleep.
Our verdict: This works.
Tip #4: Eat standing up.
What to do: Many dieticians recommend standing while eating because standing burns more calories. You get full faster and eat less.
What happened: I did eat less than usual but not because of getting full faster: I just got tired of standing around with a plate.
Our verdict: Yes, this works but not how it should. Also, when we are standing, the stomach is not compressed as compared to when we are sitting, so I'm surprised it works at all.
Tip #5: Hold cutlery with the "wrong" hand.
What to do: Psychologists assure us that when we snack with the "wrong" hand (our nondominant hand) we eat less eagerly. That way we end up eating much less.
What happened: I am a rightie and not great at using my left hand. Even then, eating with my left hand was as easy as with my right.
Our verdict: #doesnotwork
Tip #6: Use cool shades in the kitchen.
What to do: People who tend to overeat are advised to use crockery of cool shades because blue and green colors supposedly suppress the appetite and calm us down. They aren't associated with food because food is usually not in such colors (especially junk food).
What happened: I was surprised to find that when surrounded by cool colors I really didn't want to eat that much. Perhaps the effect is stronger if the food is not truly desired...I didn't finish this bowl of soup.
Our verdict: This works!
Tip #7: Dine in twilight.
What to do: Here is a tip popular from Europe. During a meal in a darker space, we don't notice how much food is left on our plate and end up eating exactly as much as we need.
What happened: To me, eating in semidarkness appeared festive and almost like a ritual. Enjoying the atmosphere, I ate more slowly. I savored the food and got fuller faster.
Our verdict: This works but possibly for another reason.
Tip #8: Choose foods that are digested more slowly.
What to do: Dishes approximately equal by weight or number of calories could take a different amount of time to digest. For example, sometimes in the morning it's better to have eggs than oatmeal. This will help you stay full until lunch.
What happened: I digest morning oatmeal quickly, and hunger returns in an hour. An omelet, however, "lasted" much longer, maybe because there is more fat in it. Thanks to that, I felt good and didn't have to snack until lunch.
Our verdict: It's better to eat eggs than oatmeal for breakfast. Will experiment with other options.
Tip #9: Dress up for meals.
What to do: When eating while dressed up, we subconsciously behave more formally. We are neater, we eat slower, and we chew more diligently. Plus, a tight dress won't let us overeat.
What happened: It's true. When wearing a nice dress you constantly worry about staining it. Moreover, you try to sit straight and eat carefully. As a result, I ate quite little but got quite full.
Our verdict: Works great! But then again, the time it takes to dress up...
Tip #10: Eat 2 pieces of dark chocolate when hungry.
What to do: In small quantities, dark chocolate supplies energy, curbs appetite, and doesn't make you fat.
What happened: I've used this trick for a long time and rather successfully. A couple of pieces of dark chocolate (cocoa percentage 70 and above) reduces hunger, and cravings for something else disappear. I feel full for at least an hour. Sadly, dark chocolate is not always readily available.
Our verdict: #yes
Tip #11: Acupuncture.
What to do: According to acupuncture, one of the main points for reducing appetite is located between the upper lip and the nose. Place your pointer finger a bit above the upper lip, and massage the point with some pressure for a few minutes — this will help
What happened: I heard that acupuncture is a tried and tested ancient technique. However, for me personally, it did nothing whatsoever.
Our verdict: #fail
Tip #12: Food separation.
What to do: Nutritionists recommend separating the food on your plate into halves. One you eat now, the other one later. You also decrease the number of calories from breakfast to dinner. For instance, for breakfast you can eat more unhealthy food. This "extra" energy received in the morning can be used throughout your waking hours.
What happened: This is my favorite tip, and it works really well. By eating a little every hour or two, I didn't want to snack on junk food. Besides, my stomach was always comfortable, neither empty nor full. I felt good all day.
Our verdict: It works!
Tip #13: Chew everything 40 times.
What to do: The longer we chew, the more time there is for our brain to realize we are full. Dieticians say that 40 is the optimal number of chewing motions.
What happened: This is an old method, and my grandma told me about it. And it partly works. Of course, I didn't manage to chew 40 times because after this there was no food left to chew, but I did end up eating less. Maybe I just got tired of chewing so much.
Our verdict: Works, to an extent.
Tip #14: Use a smaller plate.
What to do: This is considered an effective way to lose weight. The trick is to fill up a plate taking its size into account, so with a smaller plate one will take and eat less.
What happened: The same amount of food looks entirely different on plates of different sizes. When using a big plate, I feel like I've eaten like a bird; a small one makes me think I'm eating like a horse. In the end, I didn't even finish the salad.
Our verdict: This works!
Previously, I thought that eating healthy meant greatly reducing your meal options. Saying no to fatty, sweet, and fried foods! Eating only vegetables. Boiled vegetables. I had to withstand hunger, stick to broccoli, and drink water. But the effect of such a diet is not lasting, and the practice is not good for one's emotional health. All of us crave something from time to time, and not cutting ourselves some slack is brutal.
It is true that to be healthy one should focus on unprocessed foods and drink water if possible, but it turns out that some nonstandard tips and tricks work too, perhaps letting us have that ice cream a bit more often! I will definitely use some of the methods I tried for this article. Please don't blindly follow my verdicts, though, as something that didn't work for me might well work for you.
Do you have interesting or unusual weight loss hacks? Please share them with us in the comments!