Nobody likes counting calories and trying to lose weight. If you’ve tried it you may have found it’s slow, grinding and frustrating. Lose three pounds. Gain two. Repeat. But 32% of the population are overweight and another 40% are actually obese. And shedding the pounds is great for your health, as well as your self-esteem.
The good news? You can cheat at dieting, sort of. Everybody who’s looked at those little screens in their office elevator knows there is a new scientific study every day that overturns the one from yesterday. Everything that used to be good for you might be bad for you, and vice-versa. But, subject to that, here are 10 hacks, tricks or work-arounds that, according to scientific research, may help you if you’re struggling.
1. Weigh yourself every day
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine tracked 1,042 middle-aged adults over the course of a year. They presented the results to the American Heart Association last fall. In a nutshell: Just the act of weighing yourself every day helps weight loss. Participants who never weighed themselves, or weighed themselves only once a week, ended up losing no weight over the twelve months.
2. Keep a food diary
It doesn’t really matter whether you’re using a notebook or a smartphone app, say researchers. What matters is making sure you record every single thing you eat every day. A recent study by Duke University found that people who tracked their daily food intake lost a healthy six pounds on average in three months, regardless of what diet they chose to follow. This follows a Kaiser Permanente study that suggested keeping a daily food diary could double the average weight loss.
3. Go to bed earlier
Struggling to shed the fat? Try getting more sleep. Ten overweight, middle-aged people took part in this experiment at the University of Chicago’s Sleep Research Laboratory. Over a two-week period, each participant ate a strict, balanced, calorie-controlled diet and got a healthy seven and a half hours sleep per night. In another two-week period, each participant ate the same diet, but only got about five and a quarter hours sleep per night. The result? In both cases they lost about the same amount of weight, around six pounds.