Losing weight doesn't have to be time-consuming and difficult, as Dr. Brian Wansink has revealed to The Daily Mail. Here are some of his top tips on how to shed the pounds without the effort, which he's devised after analyzing tens of thousands of people's behavior and content of their fridges and cupboards among other factors.
It all begins when you do grocery shopping. Dr. Wansink notes that whatever you purchase is what's taken home and eaten. His first pearl of wisdom: don't shop on an empty stomach as you're bound to reach for whatever your appetite desires. Cravings can strike when full too, so he recommends chewing on gum in the supermarket.
"Our studies show the minty freshness can effectively short-circuit cravings, making it harder to imagine the sensory details of crunchy chips or creamy ice cream," he revealed. "Astonishingly, one piece of gum is enough to cut your junk food purchases by seven percent." Impressive!
He also suggests mapping a route, beginning with fruit and vegetables in your trolley/basket alone as they will appear more tempting without anything next to them, and dividing your carrier into sections for what you need.
Use contrasting colors
Dr. Wansink invited 60 volunteers for a free pasta lunch, during which they had a red or white plate with either tomato or cream sauce. After serving themselves, participants' plates were weighed. It was found that people piled up 18% more food when the carbohydrates matched the color of the plate than when the colors clashed.
Another way to cut down is using smaller plates and bowls to restrict your overall food intake.
If you've cooked up enough for five helpings, but there's only two of you, make sure you store away the leftovers as Dr. Wansink notes you could end up eating 19% less food if it isn't in reach. When extra food is left in easy access, people are more likely to continue helping themselves, even if they're not hungry.
The doctor suggests serving salads and vegetables in big portions first, keeping them in sight, but hiding the rest of the food after serving.
Don't avoid buffets
This may go against the last point, but you don't have to turn down the offer of a buffet dinner if you're trying to lose weight. After researchers studied eating habits at a Chinese restaurant, they found overweight people were twice as likely to pick up large plates and fill them with everything, before sitting back at their table close to the food.
However, more slender people tend to "scout" the buffet and pick their favorite foods to put on a smaller plate, further away from the counters. They also appeared to chew three times more than bigger people, with each mouthful taking 15 seconds before swallowing. Of course, this is just an example of one restaurant, but it may be worth keeping in mind next time you go to an all-you-can-eat-resto.