WHEN it comes to getting fit and healthy, we can all be guilty of being one trick ponies.
All we think about is what we eat and sometimes how we move.
But sustainable fat loss and weight management are actually about making small lifestyle changes that you can stick to and which work by retraining the mind about how we go about fuelling our bodies.
With that in mind, here are five non-diet-related tips that may help to keep you slimmer and healthier.
1. Pay in cash
Contactless cards have revolutionised the way we live.
No more fiddling around looking for change. No more trying to remember your gran's birthday for your pin.
But they've also made it a load easier to buy stuff without really thinking about it.
Back in the day, if you didn't have the money for a pint of milk and a chocolate bar on you, you'd have to choose between the milk and the chocolate.
Even with chip and pin cards, it still bought you that extra few minutes to really think about what you were buying and whether you needed it.
So why not go back to paying with cash?
Draw out money at the start of the week that you'll use for snacks, drinks and other small purchases and don't bring your cards out with you.
Cornell University academics found that paying in cash instead of card actually reduces our monthly junk food spending by 23 per cent.
Do your big shop online at the weekend and then live on cash the rest of the week.
2. Treat yourself to a cheat week
There once was a time when diet experts just expected you to stay on low-calorie plans indefinitely, with no breaks.
We all know how that ended: with everyone losing the plot, bingeing and falling off the wagon in a massive way.
Then we all started to cotton onto the idea of having one day a week when we could eat whatever we wanted, so long as we stuck to the plan the rest of the week.
But now, scientists are suggesting that we might be better off an entire week at a time.
Researchers at the University of Michigan say that upping your calorie intake by 30 per cent over seven days can stop insulin spikes the rest of the time – which tends to be the main reason we head straight for the biscuit tin.
So, set your calories a little higher for one week a month (hello, period week) and watch how you manage to stay more on track the rest of the time.
3. Slow it down
Next time you go into a fast food restaurant, have a listen to what music is playing.
The chances are, something upbeat will be on the radio because more lively jingles encourage us to eat faster and order more.
When we're surrounded by faster-paced sounds, we subconsciously feel the pressure pick up our own chewing pace.
One study found that those who ate with music on in the background spent ten more minutes eating and ended up consuming 450 additional calories, versus those who ate with no music.
But scientists say that if you eat with relaxing music on, you might spend more time eating and chewing your food – which gives you a chance to realise when you're actually full.
Mind you, your best option is probably to turn the music off altogether and actually talk to whoever is at the table with you.
4. Have a glass of milk
You might think that following a workout with anything remotely calorific is a bit of a waste of time.
After all, why bother going to the effort of burning off calories if you're just going to drink them back down again immediately after?
But scientists from McMaster University in Canada have found that people who drank a glass of milk after doing some weight lifting down the gym lost double the body fat over 12 weeks as those who followed their sessions with an energy drink.
They took three groups of young men through 12 weeks of weight training. One group drank skimmed milk, one had a soy drink and the other had a fizzy energy drink. They found that the milk drinkers both lost more fat and gained more lean muscle than the other groups.
"The loss of fat mass, while expected, was much larger than we thought it would be," says Phillips, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster.
"I think the practical implications of these results are obvious: if you want to gain muscle and lose fat as a result of working out, drink milk.
"Milk may be best known for its calcium content in supporting bone health, but our research, and that of others, continually supports milk's ability to aid in muscle growth and also promote body fat loss.
"To my mind – with milk being a source of nine essential nutrients – it's a no brainer: milk is the ideal post-workout drink for recreational exercisers and athletes alike."
5. Watch scary movies
Thinking about having a movie night? Want to burn more calories?
Forget the soppy stuff and go straight for the blood-curdling horror.
The University of Westminster experts found that when we watch scary films, we can burn up to an astonishing 184 calories.
The film with the highest calorie burning potential? The Shining.
Dr Richard Mackenzie, the physiologist who carried out the test, said: “As the pulse quickens and blood pumps around the body faster, the body experiences a surge in adrenaline.
“It is this release of fast-acting adrenaline, produced during short bursts of intense stress (or in this case, brought on by fear), which is known to lower the appetite, increase the basal metabolic rate and ultimately burn a higher level of calories."
And if you're terrified witless, you might be less likely to keep reaching forward for the sweet 'n' salty popcorn.
So there you have it: five easy lifestyle tips for aiding with fat burning.
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It's all about being mindful and being aware of what you do and when.
Buying with cash helps you to concentrate on what you're buying, while slowing down or switching off the background music allows for maximum enjoyment of what you're eating.
Milk can help change your body fat percentage, while scary movies and cheat meals keep your body working and burning efficiently.
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