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10 Daily-Life Hacks That Blast Belly Fat

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    Wake Up Earlier

    Hitting the snooze button for an extra hour of sleep in the morning may be just as bad for your weight as it is for your job, according to research from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. In the study, people who were exposed to bright light in the morning had a significantly lower BMI than participants who got light exposure later in the day. The shorter wavelengths of the light in the morning have a strong effect on the circadian system, which affects digestion and energy balance. The study authors suggest getting most of your rays between 8 AM and noon.

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    Switch the Size of Your Plate

    Want to know how to lose belly fat fast? For your next meal, try letting your plate determine your portion size. When researchers at Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab served food on 10-inch plates instead of 12-inch plates, the diners consumed 22 percent fewer calories. This can be attributed to the Delboeuf Illusion, which makes portions feel larger when they are on a smaller surface.

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    Change the Color of Your Dinnerware

    According to the same study, not only does the size of our plate determine how much we serve ourselves, but so does the color. You'll eat less when the color of your plate contrasts with the color of your food. When party attendees at a luncheon served themselves food that matched the color of their plate—like pasta with Alfredo sauce on a white plate or pasta with tomato sauce on a red plate—they helped themselves to 22 percent more food than diners with plates that contrasted with the color of their food. Don't forget that this same tactic will work if you want to trick yourself into eating more healthy foods—a green plate may be the key to finishing that extra helping of veggies!

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    Chew Your Food

    What you eat is an important part of weight loss, but so is the speed at which you chew it. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, when 30 men sat down to eat a meal, those who chewed their food 40 times took in 12 percent fewer calories than the men who only chewed 15 times. The number of times you chew correlates directly with hormones that tell the brain when to stop eating.

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    Take Your Vitamins

    Taking a multivitamin every day may help break down fat into usable energy, says a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. When researchers assigned three groups of obese women to take multivitamins, calcium, or placebo pills, the women taking multivitamins had significantly lower BMI and body weight. Another study showed that taking vitamin D supplements can also improve exercise performance.

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    Prepare Your Own Meals

    Don't be tempted by the plethora of delivery options that technology has allowed us. When the American Heart Association studied people who ate two homemade meals per day, they found that homemade meals were associated with less weight gain. If you're worried you won't have enough time to prepare your meals, Margaret Floyd, NTP, founder of EatNakedNow.com, recommends "soup-ifying" (adding leftovers to broth to make a soup or stew) or "salad-ifying" (putting leftovers over a bowl of mixed greens) leftovers for an easy-to-prepare, healthy lunch or dinner. Either way, "when you make your own food, you can control the ingredients and portion size," she says.

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    Stage Your Kitchen Counter

    It's harmless to indulge in a Diet Coke every now and then, but leaving it out in plain sight may cause you to go overboard. Women who leave soft drinks in plain view in their kitchens weigh up to 26 pounds more than those who don't, according to the Cornell Food & Brand Lab. To stay on track with your healthy eating, keep a fruit bowl out on the counter—women with fruit on display weigh 13 pounds less than those who stash their fruit away.

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    Sleep at a Reasonable Hour

    Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, recently concluded that the time we go to sleep is just as important as getting our recommended eight hours. When they analyzed data from children and adults over a 15-year period, the researchers found that for every hour later a person's bedtime was, their BMI increased by 2.1 points. When we train our bodies to sleep at a later time, it adjusts our circadian rhythm, which regulates metabolic functions.

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    Drink Water Before Each Meal

    Doctors constantly tell us to drink eight glasses of water per day to replace the body fluids we lose, but drinking water also keeps us satiated. In fact, researchers from the University of Binghamton recently showed that when obese adults drank 500 ml of water half an hour before every meal, they lost almost 10 pounds over 12 weeks.

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    Believe That You Can Make a Change

    The first step to beginning your weight-loss journey is truly believing that you can make a difference in your life. You may think this is corny, but it's true—a study published in Health Education and Behavior showed that individuals who believe that they can control their weight have healthier BMIs, eat better, and go to the gym more often. A positive attitude may be the supplement your diet needs.