Winter’s limited sunlight reduces the body’s production of mood-balancing, hunger-dampening brain chemicals for up to 70 percent of women, making us cranky and snacky. Luckily, you can sidestep hangry moods just by…
Shutting off the TV.
And not because it’s a distraction. A recent Brigham Young University study found that snackers who focused on hearing the sound of their own eating — chewing, chomping, crunching — consumed nearly one-third fewer calories without even trying. “Being mindful of the sensations of eating triggers you to feel full more quickly,” says Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., author of Beat Sugar Addiction Now! ($4.11, Amazon). Opt for foods like apples, carrots and celery to maximize the curious “crunch effect” that noisy snacks have on the brain.
Taking a 20-minute catnap.
British researchers have uncovered a surprise culprit behind cravings: being just a little bit tired. King’s College London scientists showed that when mildly sleep deprived folks got merely 20 minutes more sleep a day, they subconsciously ate 10 grams less of added sugar. “Not getting enough sleep leads to an average 6½ pound weight gain and a 30 percent higher risk of obesity,” says Dr. Teitelbaum. That’s because a lack of sleep triggers the brain to amp up the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin and tamp down the fullness hormone leptin, tricking your body into thinking you need to eat — and now!
Turning up the lights.
Spending 20 to 30 minutes in bright light between 8 am and noon each day could help you shed up to 30 pounds, suggests Northwestern University research. Morning light synchronizes the body’s internal clock, say study authors, including regulating hormones responsible for metabolism. A good indoor option: a full-spectrum bulb like Chromalux Lumiram Full Spectrum Light Bulb ($7.84, Amazon).
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.