11 Psychological Tips for Losing Weight Healthily – and with minimal effort
It's all about the mind...
Losing weight in a healthy way does not have to be difficult. It’s all about psychological tips for losing weight, found in credible scientific sources. You have to use your mind and maybe even trick it. Especially after big holidays and family gatherings you might be extra conscious of your weight. We all want to be as healthy as possible, and denying our body vital nutrients is not the way to go (i.e. starving yourself or fasting diets are generally speaking not very good for you). We wrote this so you can make it more easy for yourself to over-eat less. It should go without saying but if (not) eating is a triggering subject for you, you are warned. Be responsible and if you are worried try to seek professional help.
Here are 11 psychological tips for losing weight through making healthy things more psychologically appealing, and unhealthy things psychologically less appealing.
Make healthy stuff easily available by helping yourself
If possible, buy fruit, veggies pre-cut or take 10 minutes during the day to cut them up so they’re ready to eat whenever. Do the same with other kinds of healthy snacks. Put them in a clear container (a re-sealable bag or box) and the front of the fridge. Put unrefridgerated healthy foods in a place where they are easily available and easy to spot. This makes you more likely to grab some healthy stuff. This tips works great in combination with the research in #5.
You don’t have to cut out your favourite foods
When thinking about losing weight, most people think about not eating anything they usually like anymore. But the trick to eating healthier and losing weight is making changes you can keep up for a very long time. Saying goodbye to some of your favorite foods forever doesn’t sound very happy, does it? Use the psychological tips to lose weight in this article to moderate the way you eat without saying goodbye to your faves forever.
Don’t go food shopping on an empty stomach and…
…use a shopping list. Research found that people who hadn’t eaten during the afternoon bought more and higher calorie food than those who had a normal meal. Do you know that feeling when you’re so hungry that a lot of things look like a nice meal? Try to prevent yourself from feeling that when grocery shopping. It will both make you buy less unhealthy options and buy less in general. This will also save you money and make you less likely to throw food away, same goes for the shopping list. (source)
If you do buy snacks…
… buy portioned off packs and not one big one. Unless of course, a big one is economically better for you. Then you portion the snacks up at home. The way this works is that it forces you to pause between portions instead of allowing you to mindlessly eat until you realize you’ve eaten a whole bag. We’ve all been there. It really makes you think about whether you really need/want another one. This will easily make you eat less. (Source Secret Eaters)
Make unhealthy foods as…
…difficult to get as possible because the more difficult it is to get, the less likely you are to eat it. This includes putting them further away and putting them in opaque (i.e. not see-through) packaging. In a study by Wansink, Painter and Lee (2006) they looked at how adult secretaries snacked from the office candy dish. The candy was either on the desk or 2-3 meters away, and either in a clear or opaque bowl. After four weeks of rotating the options and counting the daily candy consumption it turned out it definitely mattered. The most was eaten from the clear bowls that were close, the least was eaten from the opaque bowls further away. Use this science to your advantage. Put less healthy stuff in an opaque box or bag, in a storage cupboard. If possible even a lockable cupboard. Even though you have the key, the extra steps it will take to get to the food will already make you less likely to grab the less healthy options.
Portioning will feed your brain
Clever portioning will make you feel as though you have eaten all of something, which will help your brain feel satisfied and sated. (source Goodson)
Top psychological tips for losing weight: eat off of smaller plates and use smaller cutlery
Yes, sounds odd, we know. But it works! We eat with our eyes too. When the plate looks fuller we will stop piling on food. What makes a plate look fuller? The same or slightly smaller amount of food on a smaller plate, correct! Smaller cutlery will force you to take smaller bites, making you more conscious of your food. This will send more signals to your brain’s satiety center. (source Secret Eaters)
Want another portion?
Better wait a couple of minutes and reassess. The “I’m full!” signals often take a while to get to your brain. Therefore, if you think you still need more food, wait a few minutes. This will give the signals time to get to your brain. If you still feel hungry after a few minutes it’s fine to take some more because if your brain isn’t getting any ‘I’m full’ signals your stomach is, logically, not quite fed yet.
Breakfast is key!
To lose weight we need to also burn some calories, and that required metabolism. Still with me? What kickstarts your metabolism is a good breakfast. If you skip breakfast your body will still be on a comparatively low metabolism throughout the morning and a lot of the afternoon. This means it’s also burning less calories, as well as not working optimally. It could make you lethargic. Get your metabolism working by eating something as breakfast, even if it is just one piece of fruit or toast. Eating small meals throughout the day will keep your energy levels healthy and help your body be active and burn calories. This will help you lose weight too, as long as you don’t eat too much, of course.
A good analogy is a bike. You’ll go further – and have a better average activity – on several medium pushes (small meals), than on one big push and staying still for the rest of the way (one or two big meals and nothing in between).
Keep some strong tasting mints and tea…
… or other and low calorie (warm) drinks nearby. If you are feeling hungry but it’s not mealtime yet, try one of these. The strong taste of sugar-free mints will give your taste buds some of the taste sensation they are craving. The warmness of the tea will give you taste as well as a delay the hunger for a bit by making you feel a little bit fuller. Drink something, because sometimes thirst can masquerade as hunger. This should help you for a little while until it’s mealtime.
Try not to eat dinner with the TV on
One of the best psychological tips for losing weight is being conscious of what you eat. And by that we mean all the bites you take. Eating while you are very distracted will make you eat more.
These were 11 psychological tips for losing weight. Which will you definitely try? Do you know anymore?