Candy wrappers, fruit peels, nut shells, chicken bones: When it comes to eating messy food, it may be better to let the garbage pile up on the table rather than demurely throwing it away as you go. Seeing the debris left from your food is a visual reminder of exactly how much you've eaten and can provide a reminder to stop when you're full, according to research
done by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. Don't miss these weight-loss tips thats nutritionists swear by
Hang out with friends of all sizes
Forget opposites attract. Researchers have long noted that people tend to gravitate toward those who are the most like them. We prefer people who share our political and religious views, who are of a similar heritage or geographic location and, it turns out, who have similar weights as we do. But if you're overweight and trying to drop a few pounds this could work against you, according to a study
published in Obesity.
Researchers found that dieters lost more weight when they hung out with thinner friends, possibly because of social pressure and because they followed their friends' examples. This doesn't mean you should only
hang out with people skinnier than you; just make sure your friend group includes plenty of people who are different than you and can challenge you to improve—in all areas of your life. (And don't forget to be a good friend; do these 24 things to be a true friend
Change one single word
If you think of eating veggies and hitting the gym as unbearable hardships, then they will always feel that way and you'll never do them. But if you can change your mindset to a more positive one, you can increase your chances of success. How? It's as easy as swapping out one little word,
according to Susan David
, PhD, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, co-founder of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, and CEO of Evidence Based Psychology. All it takes is reframing your thoughts from "I have to" to "I want to," she told Business Insider
. That expression puts you in the driver's seat. It makes being healthy your choice, not your burden. Here's how to develop a positive attitude in six easy steps
Turn up the lights
Dim, sultry lighting may be ideal for a romantic dinner—there's nothing more flattering than candlelight!—but if you're watching your waistline you're going to want to brighten the place up, according to a study
published in the Journal of Marketing Research
. Diners who ate in well-lit dining areas were 16 to 24 percent more likely to order healthy fare, the researchers found. Natural pessimist? Don't miss these 40 easy tips to slim down—fast
Ditch the diet drinks
Ordering a diet soda may seem like a good compromise between sticking to your diet and still having a beverage you love. But the artificial sweeteners used in most calorie-free drinks don't lead to weight loss and can even cause weight gain, according to research
published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.
The artificial chemicals interfere with important enzymes and hormones in your body, leading to increased waist size, they report. Here's more on how diet soda causes weight gain
Outsource portion control
Portion control is the unsexy basis of weight loss. But while that makes sense in theory, when you're faced with the reality of a gallon of ice cream and a bowl, how exactly are you supposed to know how much a half-cup serving really is? Fortunately, taking the guesswork out of portion control is as easy as buying a set of dishes or containers that are calibrated to measure out a single serving of different types of foods. Another option is to buy food prepackaged into single-servings, like frozen entrees. People who used outside measures of portion control lost considerably more weight than those who tried to figure it out on their own in a study
published in Obesity.
These are the best portion control tricks for weight loss
Dine in your dining room
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
Eat-in kitchens are great for convenience but may be not so great for your waistline, according to a study
published in Environment and Behavior.
Researchers found that people who ate in open concept areas—like the kitchen/great room in most new homes today—ate more food than those who ate in a separate room. Being able to see the extra food and having such easy access to it encourages people to eat more, even if they'd already eaten until they were full.
Dab a little vanilla on your wrists
Vanilla, one of the key smells in homemade cookies, may be a key to effortless weight loss, according to a study
done by St. George's hospital in London. Participants who wore a vanilla-scented patch reported fewer cravings, especially those for desserts and sweets. Got a little extra? Try these 6 unusual uses for vanilla extract
Clean your kitchen
Cluttered, messy kitchens take a toll on your sanity and your waistline, according to a study
published in Environment and Behavior.
People who ate in a cluttered kitchen ate twice as many snacks as those who had cleaned up their space. And the effect was even worse for people who reported being under a lot of stress. When you're having a hard day, doing chores may be last on your list, but if you're trying to lose weight, it may be worth it to suck it up and do it. Bonus: Clean spoons for breakfast tomorrow! Need some inspiration? Use these 8 simple hacks to clean your kitchen
Eat lunch with your boss
Women who ate with someone they considered "high status," ate significantly less than people who dined with those they saw as equals, according to research
done by Vanderbilt University. "Arguably people with higher status are more weight-conscious, they're more concerned about their own body image, and they're more likely to practice weight-related lifestyle such as dietary habits and physical activities and control their weight," says Lijun Song, PhD, lead author and professor of sociology. "And if you are surrounded by people like that, you're exposed to a stronger network norm of weight control. You're more likely to become more conscious of your body weight, more likely to receive assistance with weight management, and are more likely to observe and imitate weight-control behaviors."