So I have a few extra pounds to lose.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s probably not a big deal. But then again, those few extra pounds do put me at risk for such delightful medical conditions as heart disease, diabetes, and depression, not to mention the most frightening of all—hate-to-shop-for-new-clothes-it is and swimsuit-season-is-here-help-me-noma.

Scary, right?

While I definitely struggle with losing weight, the good news for me (and you!) is that I have looked into some shockingly simple and effective methods that I fully intend to implement. And trust me, there’s no annoying advice such as “exercise more!” or “eat more veggies!” included. Don’t insult me like that, okay?

Special K It Up.

All right, so tell me if I’m the only one who does this. I’ll drink a Slimfast shake in the morning or have my bowl of Special K, and then later I’ll think, “Well, I was so good this morning, one bowl of ice cream won’t hurt….” For whatever reason, I am thoroughly tempted to cheat if I’ve eaten some kind of “health food” meal earlier in the day. Tell me you haven’t done the same thing!

Shockingly, it turns out that we are still doing our bodies some good. A recent study by Cornell University found that eating just one portion-controlled meal replacement (like these of Slim Fast or Nutrisystem) during the day still contributed to an individual’s weight loss, no matter what he or she ate the rest of the day. Apparently it has something to do with energy joules and calories. But whatever—the important thing is we win!

The study, published in the scientific journal Appetite, is titled: “Losing Weight Without Dieting” because, as its author Dr Levitsky points out, once you substitute one of your daily meals with a meal replacement you don’t have to worry about how much you eat the remaining part of the day. You lose weight although you are not dieting. Here is the proof: The test subjects in the study did not overeat throughout the day to compensate for the low-calorie meal replacement. Substituting one meal with a small portion commercial food “caused a 250 kcal daily deficit”, writes Dr Levitsky in his study, concluding that “small portioned, commercial foods can successfully be used to control body weight”.

Eat Dessert for Breakfast.

dessertDo I have your attention yet? Yeah, I thought so. Just thought I’d get that one out there, because (clearly) it’s a favorite of mine. As any woman knows, there is nothing as tempting as leftover birthday cake first thing in the morning. Mmmmm. Interestingly, someone thought to study this dessert-for-breakfast phenomenon and actually found it can help you lose weight.

Researchers from Tel Aviv University studied women like me, who may occasionally have their cake and eat it too—for breakfast—and found that indulging earlier in the day actually helped study participants burn off the calories throughout the day and curbed sweet cravings. So go ahead and celebrate with that leftover cake—just keep it light during the rest of the day

Chocolate is Like a Drug

Like a happy, healthy drug, that is. A study done at the University of California at San Diego found that people who eat chocolate regularly (defined in the study as more than two times per week) actually had lower BMIs than those who abstained from chocolate. While I have always suspected that I am a smarter person for loving chocolate, this study has sealed the deal. Even more promising, we aren’t limited in our chocolate choices—the study found no difference in the types of chocolates consumed by participants. So dark, milk, or flavored—bring it on!

Take a Nap

I know, I know, I’m a glutton for punishment. Chocolate, cake for breakfast, and now naps? It sounds too good to be true! But this one in particular had a lot science behind it, I swear. When we scrimp on sleep, our bodies crave quick sugar for instant energy—sugars, sweets, and simple carbs top the list. As a nurse who worked the night shift for several years, I can attest to these intense cravings—and the weight gain that follows. So pay attention to your body. If you find you are consistently missing your beauty sleep and simultaneously craving sugar and sweets, put the junk food down and catch a quick catnap instead.

New research shows that sleeping less than 7 hours a night is associated with being overweight. Plenty of evidence exists to explain this relationship. First, very recent research by Maastricht University confirms that short sleep or reduced sleep quality affects hunger hormones and increases the desire to eat. Second, research has shown that lack of sleep creates a permissive environment for our inherited “obesity” genes to manifest themselves. So, if you have inherited a “fat” genetic profile,  you better sleep at least 7 hours a day in order to keep it dormant.

It’s the Best Part of Waking up

The question being, of course, “What is coffee?” But it’s time to look at a coffee in a new light—as in no longer necessarily in your cup. A study done by Dr. Joe Vinson looked at the effects of green coffee—simple unroasted coffee beans—on overweight individuals in a twenty-week period. By grinding the coffee into pills and taking one pill before each meal, participants lost an average of seventeen pounds each! And it wasn’t just water weight—the study proved participants actually lost fat. Because it’s just unroasted coffee beans, green coffee extract is completely safe and all-natural, and it has no side effects. Makes you rethink that favorite coffee mug, huh?

About the Author

Natasa Cabrol wrote this article. She likes to read the latest research on weight loss and nutrition. For those who want to lose weight using a scientifically proven diet program, Natasa recommends Nutrisystem. First, get the picture of how the program works, the coupon codes that are available, and then decide if it is for you. Natasa endorses Nutrisystem because through the specially designed (and decently tasty) meal replacement food it provides, it helps melt unnecessary fat off of you relatively fast, teaching you portion control--a way of eating that will keep you slim and healthy for life.