4 Weird Diet Tricks That Work

I’m always up for mind tricks to help me eat less, like eating off of smaller plates. Apparently, others are too. The editors of  SELF magazine asked me to share with you a few weird diet tricks they say really work. Would you believe things like eating an orange, talking to yourself, and carrying more cash can help you shed pounds?

Carry more cash: Keep dollars and cents on hand when you head to Starbucks, happy hour or dinner out.

People who pay for their food with cash make healthier purchases than people who pay with debit or credit cards, find researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Consider paper money an easy willpower booster: “It appears that people who pay with cash give more thought to what they buy and are more conscientious of the nutritional value of their purchases,” says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Mindless Eating. “So someone paying this way could be more likely to choose an apple than a cookie.”


Start with an orange: Peel the sweet, juicy citrus fruit before sitting down to lunch on a crazed day.

“The orange takes time and effort to peel, which forces you to slow down and helps stimulate the senses, so you’re more aware of what you’re eating automatically,” says Susan Albers, Psy.D., author of Eat, Drink and Be Mindful. Plus, the water-rich fruit can help you feel fuller before you lift a fork. “Even mild dehydration can lead you to feel hungrier than you are,” Albers says. To temper your tempo at other meals, mimic the pace you used to eat the orange, or sip water between bites.


Talk to yourself
If the opening notes of Saturday Night Live have you reaching for ice cream, announce to yourself and anyone else around, “I’m not hungry, but I am going to eat this anyway.”

Enjoy your favorite foods, because outlawing them can lead to a binge. But narrating your indulgence can make the difference between a small splurge and a sugar bender. “When you say out loud that you want a treat, you become aware of what you’re eating and why,” says Jean Kristeller, Ph.D., co founder of The Center for Mindful Eating in Dover, New Hampshire. You still might opt for Chunky Monkey, but you’ll be less likely to eat the entire carton.

Make like a monk
Eat one meal per week in complete silence. Turn off your iPod and the TV, and even tell your dining partner to pipe down.

Research shows that a noisy environment leads diners to speed-eat, so that by the time they realize they’re full, they’ve already taken in too much food. But slower tunes are not an antidote, because soft music can make you linger at the table longer, leading you to eat more, Wansink says. Dialing down loud distractions during meals also can enhance the flavors, smells and textures of each dish, so you actually enjoy every bite more.

You can see more weird diet tricks from SELF here.

Have you tried any of these? Got any weird diet tricks of your own you can share?