There's much more to weight loss than meets the eye. Shedding those pesky pounds isn't just about eating right and exercising regularly, but also about creating a space where you're more likely to do those things. Depending on your organization, your home won't always be where the health is and your workplace may not be working for you. But with a few changes, you can help your surroundings help you. And while it certainly couldn't hurt to own all of the 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have In Their Kitchen, these tiny tweaks won't even require a trip to the store.
1. Turn Off The Music
You need to munch with more than just your mouth—get your ears involved, too! Thanks to a study published in Food Quality and Preference, we know that the sound of our eating has an effect on our consumption. Tune in to your crunching and swallowing; otherwise, you could end up cramming in more calories. The researchers found that to be the case when people blocked eating sounds with music from their headphones.
2. Ration Your Snacks
Don't get caught with your hand buried in the chip bag. Regardless of what you're snacking on, it's always better to set aside the perfect portion before you dig in; otherwise, you may end up consuming more than you planned. In fact, researchers at Cornell University found that people given a bag of 100 Wheat Thins ate 20 percent more than those given four smaller bags of 25. So limit your snack sesh beforehand to help stick to your daily calorie budget.
3. Use Routine Reminders
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but who remembers to reach into their fruit bowl every single day? It's not a vital part of your morning routine like brushing your teeth or tying your shoes, which is why you need to force it into your morning methods. Start by sticking your keys on the counter next to your fresh produce. When you reach for those on your way out the door, you'll be more likely to bring along a banana while you're at it or grab a Granny Smith. Eventually, the forced action will become a mindless healthy habit.
4. Keep Snacks Out Of The Office
So you've taken care of temptations at home—but what about the unhealthy options at your office? Although you don't have control over whether or not the candy bowl is set out at work, you do have control over how often you walk by or which route you take to get to your cubicle. You also have a say in what's on your own desk. Keep your snacks safe by burying them in your bag so you'll only dig them out when you're hungry, not when you're bored, and meal-prep healthy, satiating lunches so you don't snatch up the first thing you find in the caf. There are other ways to lose weight at work, so don't let your daily grind get in the way of your goals.
5. Fix Your Fridge
It's no secret that you're more likely to eat what's front and center. That's why your counter and desktop should be junk-free, and it's also why you should consider reorganizing your fridge. Make sure that the first thing you see when you open it up is a fresh produce, a healthy snack, or a meal you've prepped. By stashing the sweet stuff on the bottom shelves or in the backs of drawers, you'll forget about those diet-derailers and go for the gold.
6. Always Be Prepared
There's no excuse for indulging in sweet or salty snacks if you've got cut-up veggies waiting in your fridge. That's why prepping your meals (and your munchies) is so important. The odds are good that you won't reach for a bag of processed junk or pick up fast food on your way home when you've already spent time whipping up something else. Write out your grocery list with that in mind. You can never be too prepared!
7. Choose Your Tupperware Wisely
When it comes to nutritious noshing between meals, ditch the aluminum foil and store your healthy snacks in plastic wrap or Ziplock bags. According to a study in the Journal of Marketing, people are more likely to binge on treats in transparent packages. That means opaque wrapping for those leftover brownies, but see-through storage for any of these 40 Healthy Snack Ideas To Keep You Slim.
8. Keep Snacks Off Your Kitchen Counter
It's time to clear those kitchen countertops. When Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, looked at pictures of 200 kitchens, he found a link between a woman's weight and the food she leaves sitting out in her kitchen. In fact, women weighed 26 pounds more on average when they stashed soda on their counters, 20 pounds more when they left cereal out, and 8 pounds when cookies were involved compared to those with pristine countertops. Get all that junk out of sight and out of mind unless you're looking to widen your waist.
9. Use Petite Plates
Wansink didn't just look at countertops. He looked at tableware, too, and what he found may have you cutting your dinner plate down a size. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that you'll serve yourself less food when there's not as much space to put it. So by simply downgrading from a 12-inch plate to a 10-inch one, you could actually end up giving yourself 22 percent less food to start. And even better, if you use a tablespoon over a serving spoon, you could save yourself 14 percent. With less in front of you and less pressure to polish so much off, starting with a smaller portion may have you rethinking that second helping.
10. Clean Your Kitchen
Whether you consider yourself a clean freak or a slob, keep your kitchen tidy. According to a study in Environment and Behavior, getting your munch on in a messy kitchen over a clean one can actually lead to eating 40 percent more. When women were given cookies in kitchens overloaded with mail, newspapers, and dirty dishes, they consumed almost double the calories as women eating in a spick and span space. Looks like ditching the clutter might be the key to slimming down once and for all, so give this a go. What's the worst that could happen? You'll have a squeaky clean kitchen either way.
11. Choose Chopsticks
We know you didn't order Chinese takeout, but break out the chopsticks anyway! Since it takes up to 30 minutes for your body to finally realize it's full, stop scarfing your meals and slow things down with some different eating utensils. A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found restaurant customers of a healthy weight to be three times more likely to use chopsticks than obese customers. Don't know how to use chopsticks? Even better. Your snail's pace chomping will give your body time to recognize its satiety signals.
12. Get A Text
While we don't always recommend screen time, there are ways to slim down using your cell. Simply enlisting a friend to send motivational messages every week reminding you of your weight loss goals may be the key to finally reaching them. And if you want to go at this on your own, set alarms for yourself with daily calorie count reminder. It may feel silly, but it's worth a shot! According to a study in Health Promotion Practice, people getting weekly check-ins like this made better choices when munching. And that's just one of the 5 Amazing Ways To Lose Weight Using Your Phone.