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How to trick yourself into losing weight

Do you find yourself always reaching for the same, less-than-healthy snacks? It doesn't matter how often we tell ourselves we should choose the carrot sticks instead, chances are, we're still going to reach for the junk. Research shows that we eat whatever is quickest, easiest and more importantly, whatever we see first.

So basically, if you've got cookies front and centre, you're probably going to choose them over the kale chips that are lurking in the back of the cupboard. While this may feel fine in the moment, it's not doing any of us any favours in the long run. 

Incorporating five simple psychological hacks by way of strategically organizing your fridge and cupboards will almost certainly get you eating healthier and losing weight without even realizing it. Better still, do this without telling your family and watch as they unknowingly reach for healthier alternatives. 
 

Create a healthy snack centre

Hungry for a snack? If you have to do any slicing or dicing to eat your fruits and veggies versus diving into a block of cheese, guess which one you’re more likely to pick? That’s right. The quick and easy option.
 
Your goal: make the healthy choice the easy choice. Pre-package healthy snacks so that’s what you reach for first. You’re three times more likely to eat the first thing you see compared to the fifth thing you see, so put them in a clear bin, so you don’t have to do any digging.
 

Keep healthy foods in clear containers at eye level

At the grocery store, companies pay a premium to have their products put at eye level. The reason? Research shows people are more likely to choose healthy foods when they’re in the centre. And you’re far more more likely to pick the items in your line of sight. Use this knowledge to your advantage by putting healthy foods in the middle shelf of your fridge, like pre-chopped veggies and fruit.
 
Forget everything you know about fridge placement, because you don’t want to put your veggies and fruit in your crisper drawers where you’ll forget about them. That’s where you put the food that you want to forget!
 

Put less healthy foods in opaque containers (and then toss in a drawer)

You can use that same food psychology tip to help you eat less of the high calorie, low nutrition foods in your fridge. Of course, it’s best not to bring them into your house at all, but what if you have your child’s favourite peanut butter balls or leftover mac and cheese? Or what if you have trouble saying no to that perfect aged cheddar when you want a quick snack?
 
Store those high calorie options where you don’t see them and you’ll be way less likely to choose them. Use opaque containers and put them in the drawers where no one looks. And yes, the container matters. A food psychology study found that when people are given chocolate in a clear bowl, they'll eat almost 70 percent more than when the chocolate is in an opaque bowl.
 

Pre-portion leftovers

After dinner, do you package up all the leftovers into one big container or put things into portion-sized meals? If you're anything like us, you do the quicker option (see a trend here?) and throw it all in one container. Instead, you should do the opposite and fill smaller containers with 1 cup of pasta and 1/2 cup of sauce for quick and portion-wise meals. You'll thank yourself the next day when you need to run out the door and lunch is already packed. 
 
Not only is it more convenient, it's also a smart way to prevent yourself from overeating. We all know that even if we tell ourselves that we'll only eat a quarter of it, we're probably going to take the whole ting to the couch and keep going until we're totally stuffed. 
 

Make spa water

One of the easiest ways to stop the mindless snacking is by drinking more water. Few of us drink enough each day as it is, so any tricks to increase hydration will improve our overall health in addition to keeping off the weight.

Putting a jug of water directly in your sightline when you open your fridge will remind you that sometimes when you’re feeling peckish, you’re actually just thirsty. Start with a large glass of water, and if you’re still hungry, then you can come back to the fridge for a snack pack.
 
By infusing your water with citrus fruit and fresh herbs, you're making it taste better so you’re more likely to want to drink more and stay hydrated.
 


Christy Brissette, MSc, RD, Dietitian and President of 80 Twenty Nutrition