Slim down – once and for all – with these scientifically proven weight loss strategies.
Step 1: Eat only when you're hungry Eat only when you're hungry, and stop when you're full. Over time, this can retrain your brain to eat out of hunger, not habit – a key to permanent weight loss. Studies show that much of our eating is done on autopilot.
TIP: Eat slowly: It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register fullness.
Step 2: Avoid addictive foods Avoid sweet, salty, and high-fat foods. They've been proven more addictive than other foods because they over-stimulate the brain's reward pathways, making us want to eat more of them.
TIP: When you have a craving, distract yourself for 15 minutes; by that time, the urge is likely to have passed.
Step 3: Learn calorie counts Know the calorie count of whatever you're eating. Studies show that people routinely underestimate caloric values, especially when it comes to low-fat foods.
Step 4: Practice portion control Practice portion control. The more food you have on your plate, the more you tend to eat, according to numerous studies.
Step 5: Out of sight, out of mind Keep food out of sight. In one study, people ate 71 percent more candy from a see-through dish than an opaque one. Other studies show that we eat more food if it's left within our field of vision, so serve yourself the proper portion and then wrap up any leftovers immediately.
Step 6: Drink up Drink more water. Downing six to eight daily glasses of water helps people consume fewer calories – 194 less calories per day to be exact, according to one study.
Step 7: Move it Once you've lost your excess weight, keep it off with exercise. Studies show that several hours of physical activity per week is more integral to keeping weight off than it is to losing it in the first place.
FACT: Only 3 percent of slim people can eat whatever they want, not exercise, and still remain thin, according to a Consumer Reports survey of nearly 22,000 people.