Decorate for diet success!

The key to weight loss is simple: Eat less and exercise more. Unfortunately, that’s never quite as easy as it sounds. If your husband isn’t bringing home a jumbo-size bag of potato chips, you’re faced with the candy jar at work. If it’s not your friend’s birthday party that conflicts with your favorite class at the gym, it’s must-see TV. Those of us looking to control our weight need all the help we can get.

We’ve put together some surprising moves to help transform your home into a diet success zone. You won’t need any costly fitness gadgets or diet books, but you will need a paintbrush, some candles, a mirror and an open mind. Here are eight ways to revamp your dining-room decor in order to shed pounds.

Turn on the lights

Research says to do it with the lights on. A study of more than 400 people found that dieters are more likely to binge when the lights are dim. When you’re under bright lights, you’re more aware of yourself and what you do. But when the lights are dim, you’re less focused on your actions. In other words, diffuse lighting lowers inhibitions, making you more likely to reach for a heaping second helping of pasta.

Hang a mirror

Giving the old adage “Watch what you eat” new meaning, a study found that people who chewed fatty foods in front of a mirror ate 22% less than those who weren’t gazing at their reflection. (Interestingly, subjects didn’t consume less reduced-fat or fat-free foods, probably because they thought those eats were good for them. Hang a mirror in your dining room or on the fridge to keep you from diving headfirst into the ice cream bucket.

Light a scented candle, but keep the lights bright

Think yummy smells spell diet danger? Think again! Another study found that people who wore a vanilla-scented skin patch lost nearly five pounds after just four weeks of wearing the stick-on. Participants reportedly ate less sweets and had fewer chocolate cravings. Don’t have a patch? Simply light a vanilla-scented candle whenever you crave a Hershey’s bar, or keep one lit during dinner.

Close the door

If your kitchen and dining room occupy a big open space or you have a clear view of the kitchen from your eating nook, you’ll find it much easier to head straight to a snack. The simple solution: Install a door, a drape or a screen between the two rooms to obstruct the view.

Hang a seascape

While your bowl-of-fruit watercolor or campy chocolate bar ad from the 1950s seems to be a perfect fit in your kitchen, you may want to consider an art change. Art related to food or eating makes you think about — and crave — food. Replace your wall hanging with a painting of a landscape, a vase of flowers or an abstract print.

Pick up a paintbrush

Red or orange walls are bad for your diet. Those colors stimulate the appetite. Alas, there aren’t any colors that have been proven to suppress appetite, so paint your dining room and kitchen any other color you like.

Set the table for one

You may think that breaking bread with friends is good for your diet — after all, how much can you eat when you’re gabbing nonstop? Think again. Those who dine with friends and family swallow 44% more calories and fat than solo diners. And the more dinner-mates you have, the more you eat. When you do chow with others, make a conscious effort not to keep up with the group; pay attention to your hunger level, and hold off on seconds.

Turn off the mobile phone

Researchers have found that dieters eat more chips, candy and cookies while they are concentrating on memorizing picture slides than did dieters who didn’t have to look at the visuals. That’s probably because you’re more likely to eat beyond satiety when you’re distracted. So when dinner’s ready, turn off the television, shut off the computer and close your books.

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