We all know that the key to losing weight is eating fewer calories than you burn – but sometimes that seems easier said than done. Help is on the way: A few studies have revealed four sneaky, proven ways to lose weight that can help your slim-down efforts. Try one of these weight loss strategies to increase your chances for success.
1. Eat with people whose eating habits you’d like to copy. In a 2015 study at the University of New South Wales, researchers reviewed the results of 38 studies that examined how much food people eat when dining with others. Those whose companions ate small amounts tended to eat less than they would if they’d been alone. Thanks to a psychological phenomenon known as “social modeling,” if your dining partner eats reasonably and has healthy eating habits, so will you.
2. Stick to the same brand. Whether you’re buying frozen pizza or cereal, being loyal to a single brand has benefits. Psychologists at the University of Liverpool and the University of Bristol studied the eating behavior of 66 people who chowed down on pepperoni pizza. They found that those who ate a variety of brands were more likely to find the pie less filling and eat more food later. The research suggests that buying the same brands means you’re more apt to be familiar with the calories and nutrition content — increasing your awareness of what you’re putting in your body.
3. Snack [healthily] before you grocery shop. We know that a starving shopper can be an out-of-control shopper (which of us hasn’t been the person to open the bag of chips while still in the store?!). Fortunately, the opposite is also true. A 2015 study out of Cornell compared the shopping habits of people who had a healthy snack (an apple slice), an unhealthy one (a cookie) or none at all before hitting the grocery store. The results showed that people who had the apple bought 25% more fruits and vegetables. Conversely, those who ate a cookie filled their cart with less healthy selections.
4. Factor in what you like. Willpower will only get you so far, say researchers at the University at Buffalo. Trying to constantly deprive yourself of foods you love takes so much mental energy that it’s not sustainable (besides, it’s just plain miserable). Create a plan that takes into account your tastes, lifestyle and time restrictions to set yourself up for success.
This content originally appeared on Sharecare.com.