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10 simple mind tricks to stop you over-eating

Losing weight doesn’t have to involve expensive gym memberships and blister-inducing runs.

The empty plate

Some of the most effective slimming methods available involve nothing more than the power of your mind, says neuroscientist and health guru Victoria Wills.

The 40-year-old hypnotherapist, founder of the NuBeginnings weight-loss plan, says you can THINK yourself to a better body. She says, “Often it’s just a case of thinking differently about food, rather than embarking on a punishing new gym regime.”

Here she reveals her fool-proof brain hacks…

1. Leave something on your plate

This goes against everything that was drilled in to you as a child but it’s good to give your subconscious the message that it’s OK to not finish your food. Most of us have been conditioned and cajoled by our parents into clearing our plates, simply because that’s what you’re ‘supposed’ to do. But un-learning this can help reduce you portion sizes.

2. Eat with your less dominant hand

A study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (PSPB) showed that research participants who snacked with their less dominant hand ate 30 per cent less than snacking with their dominant hand. When you are using your less dominant hand you are forcing yourself to pay more attention to what you are doing. And suddenly the act of snacking becomes less mindless.

3. Make your meals more interesting to avoid snacking

Everyone has some issues with food. A common problem is that we are bored of it by the time we’ve sat down to eat it. Try to keep interested in your meals by cooking different things and new meals with exciting flavours, and the chances are you might not reach for that bar of chocolate later on.

4. Try not to get stressed

Stress and weight are inextricably linked. The more energy you use up worrying about weight loss, the hungrier you will get, and the more you will eat – it’s a vicious circle! Salmon, turkey and sweet potatoes are all foods that reduce stress levels, because they either boost serotonin production or are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3.

5. Set your goals

Want to lose weight so that you can squeeze into that dress for an upcoming wedding? Write down that goal, stick it on your fridge, and make sure you see it every day. If that ambition is important to you, you’re more likely to stick to your diet, especially if your mind reinforces the idea each and every day.

6. Make small changes

Little changes make a big difference. Even something like cutting out margarine can help. The problem with spreadable ‘butters’ or butter substitutes is that they are marketed as healthy but really they are full of trans-fats, also known as ‘damaged’ fats. Damaged fats are something we really should stay away from – it’s ‘sticky’ and likely to cling to our arteries and cause internal damage.

7. Power your brain and body with sleep

I know it’s easier said than done, but sleep is essential if you want to lose weight. Sleeping seven to nine hours a night is a healthy sleep level, so you need to make sure you meet these requirements if you want to stay trim. If you’re sleep deprived, it causes the levels of hormone ghrelin to rise. Ghrelin makes you feel hungry, so the sleepier you are, the hungrier you are. In turn, if you’re sleepy, you’re less likely to put your trainers on and go on a brisk walk.

8. Recognise that you ARE overweight, sooner rather than later

A recent study by Slimming World found that it takes, on average, around five years for people to admit they’re fat. If everyone around you is also slowly expanding, then our expansion can go by unremarked and largely unnoticed until it reaches the point of being a genuine health concern.

Start challenging yourself whenever you can. It’s scary doing something new and the fear is real. But challenging yourself to try new experiences will give your self-esteem a boost, fill your body with adrenaline, and that feel-good factor could help you realise you CAN achieve your weight-loss goals.

9. Make movement part of your daily routine

Ditch the car. Walking is proven to lower spikes in blood sugar levels, even if you eat the same foods each day. So taking a few more steps here or there can greatly reduce your chances of becoming ill, even if you already eat well. After all, we’re meant to walk: human beings are made to stroll at a regular 4mph. It’ll also help you feel happier.

10. Avoid smelling nice food

This sounds pretty obvious, but an interesting psychological study conducted at Cincinnati University’s Obesity Research Centre showed that a waft of delicious food increased insulin levels in subjects by 20 per cent – despite them just having eaten a full meal. Just 20 minutes after their nostrils had been aroused, they had hunger pangs.

For information about NuBeginnings visit nubeginnings.co.uk

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