So what do exercising regularly, working your booty off in the gym, eating right, counting calories, and always staying on your game have in common? If you said "they help you lose weight" you are, well, partially right. The other answer was THEY'RE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT AND REQUIRE A TON OF HARD WORK.
This is good. Losing excess weight is important and important things should take hard work. However, when you get tired or things get just a little too hard, you want something to be just a little bit easier. So, look no further: Here are 5 ways to lose weight without really trying...
Tip #1: Drink a full bottle of water before every meal.
The Science: If you start a meal with a completely empty stomach your body will take a while to start to feel full, so you'll eat more. If you drink a bottle of water before you eat it will jumpstart your "I'm full" feeling, causing you to eat less without really trying to.
The Psychology: Asking yourself to "eat less" will probably cause you to feel like you're denying yourself something, which leads to the dieting mentality and eventually leads you to "fall off the wagon" and eat exactly what you've been denying yourself. By drinking water before a meal, you're sending yourself the message that you can eat whatever you want, you just have to drink water first. Basically, you'll eat less without even meaning to.
Tip #2: Eat half, wait 10, decide.
The Science: It keeps coming back to knowing whether or not your body has had enough food. Unfortunately, your body is notoriously horrible at this. So here's an easy way to cheat the system. When you first get your food, divide it in half...exactly half of each item on your plate. Eat the first half then set a timer for 10 minutes. This time is to give the "I'm full, quit putting things in your piehole" message to make its way from your stomach to your brain.
The Psychology: You aren't saying you don't get to eat your food. You can eat every bit if you want. All you're saying is that you have to take a brief pause in between halves in order to see if you actually want to eat the second half. This is a great way to cut your calorie intake literally in half without feeling like you're giving anything up. If you ever don't eat the second half of your meal, it's because you legitimately have no desire to eat it.
Additional Bonus: This doesn't actually change the content of your meals. You still get to eat everything you normally would. No special diets, no denying yourself certain foods, no changing your routine, and no inconveniencing friends and family who want you to go with them to that special place they've been talking about...
Tip #3: Eat something green and leafy before each meal.
The Science: Leafy greens are both low in calories and high in fiber. This means that they will take up room in your stomach and make you feel fuller sooner. As was the case with water, this will lead you to eat less of whatever you eat next. They are also loaded full of vitamins and minerals and carry a great deal of health benefits.
The Psychology: Again, you aren't denying yourself anything, you're just putting one small manageable hurdle between you and your meal. You can still eat whatever you want, which means your little thinker doesn't log any feelings of stress or withdrawal as a result, making this change pretty effortless.
Tip #4: Eat foods that have high fiber content with every meal.
The Science: Whole grains, berries, anything bran, leafy greens, beans, peas, nuts, veggies...all of these things have the amazing common denominator of fiber. This magic little guy has no calories (yeah that's right no calories), it makes you feel fuller faster, and it helps make the digestive process much smoother.
The Psychology: Again, this one's all about feeling full. When you eat fiber, it helps your brain realize that your body has had enough to eat and makes you want to stop eating.
Additional Bonus: Unlike tips 1 and 3, fiber helps you stay full for a longer period of time after you eat, making you not crave something else 20 minutes after you put your fork in the dishwasher.
Tip #5: Plan all your meals and snacks in advance.
The Science: If you plan stuff in advance it's your rational brain that's doing the thinking. You're thinking about what's best for you and what you should be eating. If you eat based on what you want in the moment you're thinking "OM NOM NOM PERSON HUNGRY" and are probably not in the correct frame of mind to be making solid nutritional decisions.
The Psychology: Another benefit of preplanning your nutritional day is that if you have your meals planned ahead of time, you have something to look forward to. Instead of getting hungry and impulsively grabbing something from the vending machine, you get hungry and think "it's okay because I get to eat ____ in another 47 minutes".
Additional Bonus: Even if you don't eat when you're hungry when you don't have your meals planned, you tend to obsess over the fact that you're not eating. "Oh my gosh, I'm being so good by not eating that delicious donut in the break room that I really want" quicky turns into "I really want that friggen donut!!!" and then "ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT IS THAT DONUT" and pretty soon, slurp lick gulp the donut is gone. If you have a next meal planned, you know what to expect so you tend not to fantasize as much.
HOMEWORK: Try these 5 simple tips for a week or two. Try not to think about what you're eating, just use the 5 tips and let your body take care of it for you. Don't do any other diet changes. After two to four weeks, look at the scale and let it tell you how much less you've been eating.