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6 Not-So-Obvious Weight Loss Tips


Tired of hearing the same old slim-down advice? These 6 off-the-wall tips are totally effective

By Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RDN

It goes without saying that watching your portion sizes and stepping up exercise can help you slim down. But sometimes, less obvious techniques can give you the boost you need — and keep your weight loss motivation from going stale. Read on for 6 off-the-wall but totally effective (and expert-backed!) tips that may help you lose weight.

Make time for tea

It’s true that certain hot beverages — green and pu-erh teas, in particular — can slightly bump up your metabolism. But the real benefit in drinking teas is more about giving your hands a job that doesn’t involve putting food in your mouth. “Drinking a warm cup of tea helps calm the urge to grab something to eat,” says Beth Warren, MS, RD, CDN, author of Living Real Life with Real Food.

Turn down the lights

When people ate in a dim area of a restaurant with soft music, they ate 18% fewer calories than those who ate in a brightly lit section with the radio on loud, according to a study from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Added bonus: the people who ate less actually enjoyed their meals more. At home, use the dimmer switch or add candles to your table to create soft mood lighting.


“People who fidget a lot burn many more calories than those who don’t,” says Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD, a Seattle-based nutritionist — as many as 350 per day, according to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Try tapping your toes or wiggling your legs while clacking away on your computer keyboard. It won’t exactly count toward your daily exercise goals, but it can help you burn more calories without even noticing.

Call it quits

If you’re at a restaurant, it can be hard not to finish what’s in front of you. If you’re not going to pack up the leftovers and bring them home for tomorrow’s lunch (also a good strategy), make it undeniable that eating time is over. Put a napkin on your plate or pour a little too much hot sauce on the leftovers to make them undesirable.

Downsize each bite

People who took smaller sips of soup ate 30% less than people who took bigger ones, according to a study published in the journal Plos One. If gulping is more your nature, eat a few meals alone, without the distractions of friends, television or music, and see if you can train yourself to take delicate nibbles.


Brush your teeth

Oral health aside, brushing your teeth following a meal can help signal to your brain that eating time is over and pre-empt the likelihood of snacking, says Warren. Just allow at least 30 minutes after eating before scrubbing those pearly whites to preserve tooth enamel and the protective layer below it, called dentin. Minty toothpastes work especially well; to really drive the point home, it’s helpful to floss and use mouthwash as well. No bathroom nearby? A piece of mint gum will work in a pinch!

Published on February 8, 2016. 

Rachel Meltzer Warren is a NYC-area based nutrition writer, educator, and counselor, and the author of The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian.

Flying Colours Ltd/DigitalVision/ThinkStock
Reviewed by Bill Sukala, PhD, MSc, AEP on January 11, 2016.
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