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7 Mind tricks that can help you lose weight

Kristen Fischer is a writer living at the Jersey Shore. In addition to writing for SheKnows, she has penned articles for Prevention, Health, Woman's Day, BELLA, and New Jersey Monthly. Kristen enjoys spending time with her family, friend...

Simple, but staple, tips that are guaranteed to help you lose weight

Most of us may balk at the concept of a weight loss pill, but there’s a new one on the market that tricks the mind to burn fat by thinking the body has consumed calories.

Not only did the pill — fexaramine — prevent weight gain, it decreased cholesterol and inflammation and better controlled blood sugar when it was tested on mice.

The imaginary meal fexaramine is different than appetite suppressants that dissolve in the blood. Instead, it stays in the intestines, where it doesn’t cause as many side effects.

Ronald Evans — director of Salk Institute’s Gene Expression Laboratory, which developed the drug — thinks it could lead to better obesity treatments.

Cool news — but, can you get the same results without popping a pill? Absolutely.

We put together a few mind tricks that you can use to lose and/or maintain your weight. Turns out, there are many ways to fool yourself into a fitter body.

1. Grab a pen

Sharon Palmer, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of Plant-Powered for Life, said that food journals have been proven to aid in weight loss. “You’d be surprised how much you eat during the day if you have to write it down,” she said. Going digital? Check out online journaling apps.

2. Bag everything

For a day, put everything you would eat in a bag. You can also guesstimate the calories to see how much you will save if you stop noshing on extras and leftovers.

3. Ditch serving utensils

To dish food up in smaller portions, it is a good idea to use regular utensils instead of using ones that let you pile on more food easily. Less scoops, fewer calories!

4. Go 80 percent

Palmer said the Japanese technique of eating until you’re 80 percent full — dubbed hara hachi bu — is customary in the country, where people weigh less than Americans. “It’s considered distasteful to stuff yourself in Japanese culture, so people do not eat until they feel entirely full,” Palmer said. “It does take a while for your brain to get the signals that you’re full, so try this. Leave the table a little bit hungry.”

5. Rethink your dishes

Fill up your plates at the counter, rather than eating family style at the dinner table. Studies show people eat less that way. Also, white plates with colorful food lead to less consumption, studies have shown. Sharing plates is another way to cut down on the amount of food you consume, as is using smaller plates. Or, try a portion plate.

6. Drink smart

“Don’t waste calories on beverages,” Palmer said, adding that studies have shown they don’t produce the same sense of fullness as eating the same calories in food. “The more fiber in the food, the more filling.”

7. Talk yourself into it

Don’t feel like eating veggies or doing another healthy thing? Recognize it and tell yourself that you are choosing to do it. That subtle mental shift could have some positive impacts.

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