Need a little help shrinking your waistline? Here are a few do-it-yourself projects that’ll boost your home’s value, and help you lose weight:

  • First: Install a dimmer switch in your dining room. A Cornell University study found that lowering the lights can save 50-thousand calories in a year, or enough to lose about 14 pounds. That’s because a little ambience makes us slow down, and enjoy our food. And when we eat more slowly, our body has enough time to register that it’s full – so we naturally eat less.

  • Another do-it-yourself weight loss booster: Install a shelf so you can stand up while using your computer. Weight loss expert Barry Braun says that standing while you answer emails and update your Facebook page can save you about 5 pounds a year. He says that standing burns a few more calories than sitting. And the extra strain on your leg muscles signals the brain to boost your metabolism.

  • And here’s a third slimming do-it-yourself project that doesn’t even require tools: Turn down your hot water heater. According to endocrinologist Dr. Scott Isaacs, cold temperatures activate brown fat – which burns calories, instead of adding the white fat that clings to our thighs. And since brown fat is stored in the neck and chest, taking colder showers is the easiest way to trigger the fat-burning effect, because that’s where the shower hits us most often. 

  • The final slim-down trick: Install a fan in your bedroom. The white noise from a fan helps block out sounds – like the TV down the hall, which helps you sleep more soundly. And that’s important because a recent study found that sleeping 5 hours or less a night can make you gain TWO POUNDS a week.