The secrets to successful weight loss are all around you. Use these everyday items to help meet your goals.
Having the right tools to help with your weight-loss makes taking the steps to a new lifestyle infinitely easier. Luckily, you can support a healthful lifestyle with these 12 inexpensive home essentials—many that you already own.
Motivate yourself: List five reasons for changing your eating habits (more energy, cuter clothes) on a sticky note or note card. Store it in your wallet or post it on your fridge (or do both!); review it whenever you feel your resolve weaken.
Control pasta portions: A 16-ounce box of spaghetti should serve 16 people. If it doesn’t feed that many in your house, join the crowd. To cut back to the 1-ounce (½ cup cooked) serving, try the Classic Measure Up bowl ($20 at measureupbowl.com), at left, which has ½-, 1-, 1½- and 2-cup markers, so you know just how much you’re eating.
Make meals look bigger: If you hold a potluck and you’re tempted to grab everything on display, use a smaller plate. Eating off a 10-inch dish instead of a 12-inch one can help you consume 22 percent less, according to the Cornell Food and Brand Lab’s Small Plate Movement.
Eat less high-fat cheese: Rather than slicing hunks of cheese from a huge block or dicing it and eating it as cubes, grate your favorite cheese over salads or into soups or pastas. You’ll get the flavor you love but for far fewer calories per meal.
Add taste without calories: Give seared salmon and Brussels sprouts extra zip with a bit of olive oil and a few grinds of pepper. To save on calories and fat, pick up an oil mister, like the one ($20 at prepara.com), and put dried herbs into the oil before spraying your favorite healthful fare. The combo of oil and herbs also can improve steamed vegetables and other simple side dishes.
Skip commercials: The more food you see (even if it’s just in advertisements), the more likely you’re tempted to chow down. To avoid such triggers, record your favorite shows so you can fast-forward through the food ads. If you still have the munchies and are truly hungry, choose a nutritious snack, like low-fat popcorn, unsalted nuts, whole-wheat crackers, fruit or carrot sticks.
Inspire yourself: Look through your collection of family photos, find an image of you at a healthy weight and frame it. Hang the picture in a spot you’ll see often (like your bedroom closet door). Then imagine that slimmer you performing all your everyday tasks.
Stay hydrated: Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism shows that drinking about 2 cups of water increases your calorie burn by as much as 30 percent for more than an hour. If plain water is too boring, experiment with low-calorie add-ins such as lemon or lime peel, cucumber, mint or a splash of juice.
Calm cravings: Is that carton of ice cream in the freezer calling your name? Before you dig in, wait 10 minutes and occupy your mind with another activity such as painting your nails, playing solitaire on the computer or speaking to a friend on the phone. When you’re done, chances are your hankering for the treat will have subsided.
Be aware of your eating: It’s easy to forget all those little extra bites—and additional calories!—you take in throughout the day. To keep track, start a food journal and be completely honest about everything you eat (yes, including those free grocery store samples). Your aim is to determine where your unnecessary calories are sneaking in and why, so you can gradually weed them out.
Limit calories from drinks: When you’re sipping anything else besides water, choose a tall, elongated glass rather than a short, stout one—you'll drink less without even thinking about it. People typically pour themselves more of a beverage when they use a small, wide glass, according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Conceal junk food: Keep bad-for-you food in opaque tubs on high shelves in your pantry, not in full view or easy reach. Simply seeing snacks can lead you to eat them—workers consumed two more candies per day when sweets were on their desks in clear bowls than if the bowls were covered or opaque, found a study in the International Journal of Obesity.