3 Mind Tricks to Help You Lose Weight

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

Salt and vinegar potato chips—those are our diet downfall. Just a couple with lunch inevitably morphs into grabbing a couple more, a few after that, and then a handful every time I walk by the bag. They’re just so good, and I swear I can hear them calling my name from the countertop. And that’s part of the reason why I just. Can’t. Stop. A better idea: Keep unhealthy junk food out of your line of sight (like, in the pantry, behind closed doors). You’re far more likely to beat mindless eating if you change your environment, instead of relying on pure willpower. Here are three more mind tricks to help you lose weight:

Tap your forehead. It sounds bizarre, but really it’s just form of distraction that a study showed can help curb cravings. Scientists tested three, 30-second techniques on participants: tapping their own forehead and ear with their index finger, tapping a toe on the floor, or staring at a blank wall (as the control task). All the techniques worked to reduce favorite food cravings, but the finger to the forehead was the most effective.

Eat with your left hand if you’re a righty. And of course, vice-versa, as a way to disrupt automatic eating habits. Think about it: you’re sitting in a movie theater with a tub of popcorn on your lap. The previews roll, and you start munching—whether the popcorn tastes good or not. Researchers did an experiment with pretty much this scenario. Using stale and fresh popcorn, they asked participants about to enter a film screening to eat the popcorn either with their dominant or non-dominant hand. When using the non-dominant hand, moviegoers ate much less of the stale popcorn than the fresh; the trick seemed to make people pay more attention to what they were eating.

Put utensils down between bites. That helps you slow down your eating, enjoy the meal a little more, and be more mindful of your food—all of which may lead to eating less.