Happiness Is a Bagel Away

How food and nutrition impact our mood and behavior.

Clean your cupboards to drop a dress size?

How rearranging your kitchen can help you drop the lbs.

Could Spring Cleaning be the secret to successful weight loss? Is a little elbow grease the answer to the perfect diet plan? A new Cornell University study seems to suggest this relationship.

Thanks to a new study by the brainchild behind the blockbuster diet book and mindless eating school of weight-loss success, Brian Wansink presented some new results this last week in Anaheim, Calif. In a three-month study of 200 students, the subjects were offered diet tips from three separate pathways for success:

Change your environment

Change your eating habits

Change your food choices

The Cornell team found that those subjects who had to practice various techniques that mixed up their usual settings when they got down to eat, from swapping out a large dinner plate for a smaller salad plate to rearranging their cupboards, adhered to their diets at least two days longer than those who just had to change their eating behavior or food choices. 

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The result? An additional two pounds were reported to have been lost per month. Wansink claims that if the subject was able to follow this plan for at least 20 days, weight loss changes were successful.

Wansink, the director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, has an intriguing approach to weight loss. It has less to do with conscious food choices (such as eating more protein than simple carbs, say) but more to do with environmental changes that can add up to weight loss (such as diners in a well-lit room consume less than those in a candle-lit setting).

Obviously, if eating healthier and better was as easy as swapping in a smaller plate, there'd be no need for diet pills, books, and exercise videos. Nevertheless, a combined effort may be the best course for those who lose the battle with calorie-counting over and over again.

Erinn Bucklan is a New York City-based journalist who writes regularly about nutrition, diet, food behavior, and fitness.

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