Six sneaky weight loss tips

Monday, April 16, 2012
Six sneaky weight loss tips

Are you struggling to slim down? Try these six tricks to tip the scales in your favour.

1. Stand up
According to Danish researchers, standing up dampens your appetite because it affects how heavy you feel. When you sit, your brain receives a signal that the bones and muscles of your legs aren't carrying enough weight, and this increases your appetite.

Walking around makes your brain think you're heavier, so it tries to lighten the load by telling you to eat less.

In pictures: How to lose kilos without noticing

Therefore, taking a few short walks every day could help convince your body you don't need more food.

2. Press the point
Traditional Chinese medical theory says the body is criss-crossed with a network of meridians that carry energy.

Inserting needles at different points will increase or slow the flow of energy to different areas.

A study at Egypt's Alexandria University found that volunteers who had needles inserted in acupuncture points for reducing hunger had a significantly lower appetite.

Acupressure is a do-it-yourself version of acupuncture: an easy spot to find is the "gum point", in the dip in the centre of your top lip. Press it gently for 90 seconds when you get a snack attack.

3. Smell something special
According to research by Dr Alan Hirsch, a psychologist and neurologist at Chicago's Smell and Taste Research Center, sustained sniffs of perfume can stave off hunger.

He asked over 3000 volunteers to inhale a favourite fragrance, essential oil or scented soap whenever they felt peckish, over a period of six months — and each lost an average of three kilos.

"One possibility is that the smells changed their state of mind — maybe people eat more when they're anxious and the perfumes had a calming effect," Dr Hirsch said.

4. Listen to dreamy music
Playing slow, restful music during a meal encourages you to eat more slowly — at an average of three mouthfuls a minute, say researchers at Johns Hopkins University, as opposed to five mouthfuls when listening to upbeat music.

The faster you eat, the more you gulp down before you realise you are actually full. Savour your food, and take time to enjoy it — you'll find you're content with less.

5. Try hypnotherapy
If there is a serious underlying problem, like poor self-esteem or depression that is making you overeat, a hypnotherapist will help you deal with it so you don't go back to the same old behaviour when you've lost weight.

If it's something simple — and people often overeat because they're bored, for instance — try a self-hypnosis tape. These teach you to picture yourself as you want to be, doing the kinds of things you want to do when you feel healthy and happy.

Related: Weight loss superhero

6. Distract yourself
Scientists have a special term for doing something that helps break a habit; they call it a "displacement activity". Examples would be calling a friend, or taking the dog for a walk, so you can't physically touch food.

Your say: What are your weight loss tips?

Video: The psychology of weight loss

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