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SIT STRATEGICALLY

Eating out is always a tricky affair for dieters. Cocktails or dinners out are essentially invitations to overeat. Try sitting at the end of the table. The center seats are where the bread, chips, and other sharing plates are.

EMBRACE THE DARK
Experiencing more darkness at night could help you lose weight. Researchers at Ohio State University found that mice who sleep in total darkness are far less prone to obesity than those who sleep in bright light or dim illumination (e.g., a TV screen). Laura Fonken, a neuroscience student who led the study, says that the mice who slept with light exposure ate at odd times (the equivalent of late-night eating).

TAKE A VITAMIN
The International Journal of Obesity published a study where researchers assigned 96 obese women to take a multivitamin, calcium supplement, or placebo for 26 weeks. The vitamin group wound up with significantly less body fat than the others. It’s thought that some people may be over eating because they are deficient in certain vitamins. Taking a vitamin alone isn’t an effective weight-loss plan but doing so might reduce the need to consume as much food.

DONT GIVE IN TO GUILT
WE all make mistakes. If you fall of the wagon, don’t beat yourself up. Dieters are prone to overeating in response to stress—including guilt about what they’ve eaten.

WATCH LESS TV
The average adult spends a whopping five hours a day in front of the television. When researchers used an electronic lock-out system to force television hounds to watch 50 percent less, the participants burned an average of 119 more calories per day.

EAT OFF SMALLER PLATES
In one study nutrition professors and grad students were given either 17- or 34-ounce bowls and two- or three-ounce scoops. People with the oversize bowls served themselves about 31 percent more than the small-bowl groups did. And those who had big scoops and big bowls served 57 percent more than those with small ones

GET SPICY
When researchers put a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a bowl of soup, people ate 60 fewer calories at the next meal on average, compared to people who ate plain soup with or without a cayenne-pepper pill, according to the study at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Scientists say cayenne seems to rev metabolism when consumed in food, as opposed to pill form.

SAVE THE BREAD FOR LAST
In the fight against fat, restricting carbohydrates may not be as important as timing intake of them. In a 2011 Israeli study, 100 obese people went on a diet of roughly 20 percent protein, 30 percent fat, and 50 percent carbohydrates. Group one ate starches throughout the day; group two saved most carbohydrates for dinner. Six months later, group two reported feeling fuller during the day and had lost more weight, body fat, and abdominal inches.

SLEEP IN A COLD ROOM
A somewhat chilly bedroom could improve both your sleep and your metabolism. An article in Obesity Reviews noted that the average indoor temperature has ticked upward during the past few decades. What’s more, most of us keep the thermostat steady throughout the house, preventing the body from experiencing as many dips in temperature—and from having to stoke its own calorie-burning furnace. You will burn calories keeping yourself warm.

DRINK WINE
A 2010 study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, which followed more than 19,000 women for an average of 13 years, found that those who had one to two alcoholic drinks daily put on fewer pounds than nondrinkers and heavy drinkers. Weight gain was lowest among wine drinkers. While the researchers can’t definitively explain this, they say that the subjects who sipped a glass or two ate fewer calories—and that women burn more calories after drinking than men do.

CHECK YOUR ALLERGY MEDS
For some people who take medicine to control allergies, weight gain may be as common a complaint as a runny nose or itchy eyes. People on antihistamines are ten pounds heavier on average than their unmedicated counterparts, Joseph Ratliff, a postdoctoral associate in Yale School of Medicine’s psychiatry department, has found. This could be because H1-type antihistamines (such as Claritin or Allegra) block the immune system’s histamines, which play a role in appetite and fat breakdown. Allergy shots or corticosteroids are possible alternatives, but those whose symptoms are best controlled by antihistamines may have to adjust their diet or exercise to compensate.

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