These simple tweaks can help you lose big.
In a recent post on her app, Kendall Jenner explained why she decided to paint her living room a very specific shade of pink. “Baker-Miller Pink is the only color scientifically proven to calm you AND suppress your appetite," she wrote. "I was like, 'I NEED this color in my house!'"
In Jenner's Instagram post below you can see the result. And so far, the model and reality star is very pleased with her choice. "I'm loving it!" she wrote on her app.
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But can the color really help relax you and curb your cravings? Baker-Miller Pink is named for two United States Naval officers who, in 1979, experimented with the effects of the hue in prison cells, and found that it seemed to calm inmates down. A 1985 study that took place at correctional facilities, psychiatric hospitals, and universities confirmed the preliminary findings. But a 2014 study wasn't able to replicate the results.
As for the color's power as an appetite suppressant, it's possible it may have a placebo effect, says Health’s contributing nutrition editor, Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD. "Some may see the color and think about candy, and pink frosted cupcakes, while others might see the color and feel a sense of calm and centeredness that helps them better tune into their hunger and fullness cues.”
The takeaway: It's probably not worth changing the colors of your walls. But there are other, simpler tweaks you can make at home that can help you eat less (and enjoy your food more). Here are six small changes that may make a big difference for your waistline.
Pick up new plates in a different hue
Rather than repainting your walls, you may want to grow your dinnerware collection with dishes in a lighter or darker hue. A study from the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University found that when diners had low contrast between their plate and their food (think fettuccine alfredo on a white plate), they served themselves 30% more food than diners who had high contrast between their food and their plate (picture fettuccine alfredo on a red plate). So when you have fish for dinner, you might try using a darker plate. Black bean soup for lunch? Choose a light-colored bowl. You get the idea. (Try this 16-piece dish set by Fiesta, which includes settings in four colors.)
Put smaller dishes within reach
It’s hard to estimate proper portion size, and using a large bowl or plate can make it more challenging, even for experts: A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that when nutritionists were given a larger bowl, they scooped themselves 31% more ice cream than those who were given a smaller bowl. Using your smaller dishes may be a painless way to better control how much you eat. (Check out these 13 other easy portion control tips.)
Hang a mirror near the table
The kitchen may not be the most traditional place for a mirror, but it could help you wean yourself off sweets. A 2016 study revealed that people who ate chocolate cake in a room with a mirror found the treat less enjoyable than those who ate it in a room with no mirror. (Being around a mirror did not affect the taste of fruit salad, however.)
"The presence of a mirror can make unhealthy food less tasty by increasing self-awareness," author Ata Jami, PhD, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Central Florida, wrote in the study, which was published in the Journal for the Association of Consumer Research. In other words, catching a glimpse of your reflection as you dig into a sugar-laden snack may remind you it isn't the best choice for your body, and help you choose a more nourishing treat next time.
Create mood lighting
It turns out ambiance can make a real difference in terms of calorie consumption: When researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign made over a fast food restaurant with dimmer lighting and mellow music, the study participants consumed 175 fewer calories, on average. They also enjoyed their food more. Your can set the right mood in your own kitchen by turning down the lights (here's a cheap and easy lamp dimmer you can buy), and turning on some jazz.
Move the TV out of the kitchen
And while you're at it, establish a no-phones-at-the-table rule. One British study found that eating while distracted caused participants to eat more food not only during that meal, but later in the day too. When you remove distractions and eat more mindfully, you're better able to tune into your body's hunger cues, which can help you avoid consuming more calories than your body actually needs.
Use an essential oil diffuser
The right scent may be just want you need to curb your cravings. Researchers from Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia found that people who sniffed the scent of peppermint every two hours ate 2,800 fewer calories over the course of a week than those who didn't. "It may induce something called olfactory sensory-specific satiety," Alan Hirsch, MD, neurological director of the Smell and Taste Research Foundation in Chicago explained to Health in a prior interview. "The odor makes you feel full, so you eat less." Add water and a few drops of peppermint oil to an essential oil diffuser to fill a room with a fragrant mist.