Over the next year I will…
Sleep on my side
The Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service says that other positions interrupt your breathing. This wrecks your shuteye and puts 1 318 more food kilojoules in your grocery basket the next day. Dr Colin Chapman of Uppsala University says lack of sleep makes you “less capable of self-control, leading to impulsive, craving-driven purchases.” Duvet-tugs-of-war also sabotage sleep.
Be vague about my weight- loss target
When establishing your goal, think of the number of kilograms you want to lose, then subtract two. Giving yourself a range for weight loss keeps up your motivation when you step on the scales for your daily weigh-in, found the Journal of Consumer Research. Broadening your goal also makes you more likely to hit your target.
Make eating an effort
Load up on snacks that take a bit of work to consume, such as pistachios in shells, unpitted olives or reluctantly deskinned oranges. “Foods that need to be shelled or peeled curb the autopilot eating that leads to massive consumption,” says Caroline Farrell from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition.
Crack some eggs
Research has shown that people who like theirs in the morning lose 65% more weight than those who scoff a bread-based breakfast with the same number of kilojoules. An omelette with two eggs and cheese “utilises the protein and calcium to increase satiety for the day,” says nutrition consultant Drew Price.
Break the breakfast habit
If you eat breakfast regularly and then start cutting it out occasionally, you may feel hungry, but it will also stop you from overeating at subsequent meals, says Dr David Levitsky, a nutrition scientist at Cornell University. He found that occasional breakfast dodgers ate 1 700 fewer daily kJ than usual.
Play it cool
Researchers at Brunel University have discovered your workout playlist is most effective if it makes keeping time difficult. “Jazz creates interference between your body and brain, blocking out the sensations of fatigue,” saysDavid Lee Priest, a bio-psychologist at the University of East Anglia. Ungroovy as that may sound, it means you’ll burn more weight each session.
Scent out the appeal of an orange
Just the sight and smell of healthy foods can improve your self-discipline. “Smelling an orange reduces the kilojoules eaten by subjects by more than half,” says Nicola Buckland, a researcher at the University of Leeds. “Just looking at a picture of healthy food has a similar effect.”
Eat an apple, just for starters
Apples have been found to produce a hormone called GLP-1 in the body, which turns off hunger alerts in your brain. Researchers from the University of Iowa discovered that participants in a study ate 15% fewer kilojoules after chomping on the fruit before they consumed their biggest meal of the day.
Buy food online
It doesn’t matter whether it’s on your browser or your phone, but ticking off your food shop on a list helps you lose an extra half a kilo every month, according to a study at Monash University. “A predetermined list commits you to buy only the items on that list,” says researcher Dr Nicole Au. Note: this falls apart if a family pack of Lay’s is on there.
Exercise on empty once a week
“When you wake up in the morning your body is depleted of carbs,” says conditioning coach Rob Blair. “Cardio will cause your body to raid its fat stores to get the energy necessary for 30min on the rower.” A “cardio-fast” session like this equates to just over 1 255kJ.
Drink tea in the afternoon
If your Friday-afternoon treat is usually doughnut-shaped, a fruity brew at 3pm will boost your willpower. This is when your blood sugar slumps and leaves you vulnerable to treats. Tea will save you from getting your glaze on.
Finish workouts with a glass of milk
Research published in the International Journal of Obesity shows that people reward themselves with a post-workout, kilojoule-dense treat to the tune of 920kJ. Swerve it by necking a glass of the white stuff and you’ll only take on 343kJ while receiving the muscle-repairing benefits of a protein shake too.
Complete a brick session
This triathlon drill burns 1 839kJ and leaves you with a raised metabolism: ride a bike for 15min, followed by a 15min run. Without rest, hop back on the bike for 10min and finish with a 10min run. Easy.
Swim like a butterfly
Front crawl or breast stroke are nothing to swim home about, but get a couple of lessons in the butterfly and you’ll master the most fat-burning stroke in the pool. It burns 627kJ for every 10min you can keep it up. Not so easy.
Take a hit (or two)
Impact sports like rugby and squash cause your body to convert cells into lean tissue, not fat. A study in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport found these sports send signals to the body that it needs to be protected by muscle – so at a cellular level it does just that.
Switch my exercise programme
By now, results should start to become visible, but according a Mayo Clinic study, your metabolism slows as you begin to lose body mass. To stop your results from flatlining, swap your usual gym session for half an hour of kickboxing (to burn 1 804kJ) or don your wetsuit and get out on the water with a surfboard for an hour (2 656kJ).