There are a lot of reasons for eating that go beyond simple nutrition. We eat to celebrate. We eat to mourn. We eat because we want comfort. We eat because we're bored. We eat because we're worried whether Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk can stop the evil forces of Loki.

Sometimes we eat just because it's there. And that's a big problem, because new science reveals that controlling when you eat can help you shed body fat and improve your health. (Check out the new book The 8-Hour Diet to learn more about this breakthrough plan.)

Your best strategy for all of these food temptations? Don't have one strategy -- have dozens. That way, no matter where you are, how you feel, or what crisis is at hand -- personal, financial, or fictional -- you're prepared. Try a few of these 30 small changes that can make a big difference over time.

30 Easy Ways To Cut Calories Slideshow


The Way Of The Fist

When a craving strikes, make a fist. In a study published in the "Journal of Consumer Research," people who tightened their muscles (regardless of which ones) while trying to exert self-control in their food choices were better able to overcome temptations. Our mind-body connection associates firm muscles with firm willpower.


Dream On

Imagine yourself biting into a big, juicy burger. A Carnegie Mellon University study found that simply visualizing yourself eating a certain food kick-starts a psychological effect called "habituation" -- and your motivation to actually eat the food decreases.


Fade To Black

Cover your desk with a black tablecloth during the day or change your computer background to black. According to the book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," the color black may naturally suppress your appetite. Violet works as well -- but we'll leave that one up to you.


Glory Days

Flip through old photo albums -- preferably, ones of you at your physical peak that bring to mind happier times. Not only will this give you a weight-loss goal, but researchers from the University of Southampton found that feeling nostalgic increases self-regard, social bonds, and positive feelings. Looking to finally get in shape this year? Follow these 30 Tips to Drop 20 Pounds and make 2013 your best year ever!



When you start to feel a food craving, hit the stopwatch on your cell phone. Record the time it takes for your crave to fade, and use it to count down your next pang.


Mind Games

Play "Words with Friends" with lots of friends (especially smart ones). You're less likely to dwell on your hunger when your brain is busy figuring out how to use Q, A, and T (tropical plant used as a stimulant). Really, any word game will do -- on a game board, online, or on your smartphone.


Blanket Coverage

Make your bed. Your brain is a creature of habit -- and having a routine can build willpower and discipline. Try something simple, like flossing every day or reading before bed; this will increase the likelihood of your following through on other healthy habits as well. Take hold of your health before you crash. Here are 11 Simple Health Habits You’re Doing Wrong.


Restraining Order

Don't be a refrigerator stalker. Put a note on the fridge door to eliminate the unconscious habit of repeatedly opening it. It’s the doorway to trouble, and you don't want to go there.



Switch from your jeans and T-shirt to something snazzier. Wearing business casual attire makes workers feel more authoritative, productive, and competent than everyday causal, according to a study from the University of Southern Indiana. Giving yourself a confidence boost can translate to greater confidence in your ability to stick with a diet. It can also help you score that promotion! Try one of these 30 Ways to Give Your Appearance a Boost .


A Fluid Situation

Sip your way to satiety. You've heard it a million times -- for good reason. Water is the most natural, inexpensive, and effective appetite suppressant around. Drink it.


Yuk It Up

Watch a funny YouTube video. Scientists in Brazil say that laughter may really be the best medicine -- activating your "happy hormone" serotonin could reduce appetite. Can't choose one? We think you'll enjoy this (for more reasons than one): Hottie Washes Dog.


Minty Fresh

Prepare a cup of peppermint tea. It can help fight cravings, improve digestion, alleviate headaches, and even boost your brain power. (Click here for 27 Ways to Power Up Your Brain.)


Citrus Splash

Add a little zest to make your water a little more satisfying. Squeeze sliced oranges, lemons or limes into your glass for a boost of antioxidants that can temper your hunger.


Early And Often

Walk to a water fountain -- the one on the other side of your office. Frequent, short breaks to fill your glass provide a quick energy lift. Just a few minutes of brisk activity makes your heart pump and your lungs expand, increasing oxygen flow throughout the body and stimulating brain chemicals to shed fatigue.


Hit The Road

Set a timer for 30 minutes and hit the road running. Just a half hour of hard running can reduce appetite by 50 percent for up to 2 hours, according to scientists at Loughborough University. Running increases production of peptide YY (an appetite suppressant) and reduces ghrelin (an appetite stimulant), and the jarring motion disturbs the digestive tract, quieting the impulse to eat. Get the right kicks for your workout: Here are The Best Running Shoes for Men.


Or Hit The Gym

The study also found that strength training reduces ghrelin production by up to 25 percent. And the muscle you build will boost your metabolism.


Animal Instincts

Spend more time with your pet. Not only will it keep you moving and busy, but studies have shown that pet owners have significantly fewer stress-related increases in blood pressure. Stress and appetite are closely linked.


Busy, Busy

Occupy your hands and your time by woodworking or washing your car. It’s hard to visualize the food-to-mouth motion while your hands are covered in sawdust or soap.


Fast And Furious

Do a one-minute blitz. Pick an exercise (burpees, pushups, squat jumps, whatever) and see how many you can do in one minute. Trust us, your mind will be more focused on the burning in your legs than any faint hint of hunger. Need another quick exercise routine? Try this Unbelievable 4-Minute Cardio Workout.


Stretch It Out

Stationary stretching will warm your muscles without burning extra energy and it will help you shed stress and feel calmer.


Be A Pedaler

Go on a bike ride or cycle at the gym. A Surrey University study in England found that an hour of biking helps reduce your appetite by signaling an increase in appetite-suppressing hormones.


Get Down, Dog

Take a yoga class. Studies have shown that yoga improves levels of serotonin -- the molecule of willpower that, if kept at too low a level, can mean being unable to control your impulses. Here are more tips to Get Rock-Hard Abs with Yoga.


Fake It

Chew a piece of sugar-free gum. A University of Rhode Island study found that chewing stimulates nerves in the jaw that are connected to the area of the brain responsible for satiety. Males in particular felt less hungry and more energetic after popping a piece of sugarless.


Fight Fire With Fire

Burn away stomach growling. Light up candles scented with peppermint, banana, green apple, and vanilla. Studies have found that these fragrances in particular can trick your brain into thinking you've eaten. Pick up your copy of The 8-Hour Diet to discover how controlling when you eat can help you lose 10, 20, 30 pounds or more.


Soak The Rays

Let the sun shine in. Stress causes your body to pump out cortisol, which creates a resistance to leptin -- the satiety hormone. Just 10 minutes in the sun can make a tremendous difference in your stress level and give you a surge of energy.


Get Pampered

While your body rebuilds inside, give your outside some TLC. Go to the spa, have a facial, or reward yourself with an expensive moisturizer. Soothe yourself, calm your appetite.


Wash And Dry

Partner up and do the dishes. Anything to keep your mind and hands occupied is a hunger suppressor, and, according to a Pew Research Center survey, sharing chores ups your odds of having a happy marriage. (It's ranked third in importance, after faithfulness and a healthy sex life.)


Take Control

Learn the ancient art of tai chi, a form of Chinese martial arts that combines slow movements with meditation and breathing to calm your body and mind. It can burn as many calories as moderate-intensity activities, such as walking. Focusing on learning a new physical skill that involves the mind will distract you from any other annoying, recurring thoughts. Or, try a new exercise from Men's HealthExercise of the Week newsletter.


Have A Fling

Play your pup's favorite game -- Frisbee. This keeps your hands activated and provides some face time with your dog, friend or partner. Busy life, busy hands, less stray time in front of the refrigerator. (Bonus points: Playing Ultimate Frisbee for 30 minutes can burn 330 calories.)


Turn It Up A Notch

Schedule more exhilarating exercise, like a martial arts class, rock climbing, or mountain biking. Physical activity, combined with a little risk taking, will make you look forward to your workout. Need a challenge? Try this fast-paced plan that will give you a body of a warrior, check out The NEW Spartacus Workout from Men's Health -- now on DVD!

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