There’s countless advice out there on how to lose weight. “Eat lots of vegetables.” “Exercise.” “Avoid sugar.” The list goes on. But if you’re interested in losing weight – and keeping it off – it’s important to find a way to turn these tips into daily habits so that you’re actually taking manageable steps toward your goals (as opposed to focusing only on shortcuts that you’ll get tired of after a week).
Below are seven habits you can build into your normal routine to help you shed those extra pounds. The good news is that these are all doable!
1. Always have healthy options easily accessible to you
The phrase “Out of sight, out of mind” can’t be more true when it comes to food. If you stock up your fridge, freezer and pantry with good-for-you options, you’re more likely to grab something healthy when you’re feeling hungry. On the flip side, if your kitchen is peppered with chips, cookies and loaves of white bread, you’ll be that much more tempted to nosh away on those things – even when you’re bored and not necessarily hungry.
To be prepared, leave nuts out in the open on the kitchen counter and throw out unhealthy foods. Or you can pre-blend a green smoothie (throw some Primal Plants in there for good measure!) and leave it in the fridge to drink as a snack. You should also carry around a handful of nuts (no more than a quarter cup!) with you at all times to help minimize the risk of you making decisions while you’re out and about. The key is preparation!
2. Include aerobic and resistance training
Aerobic exercise isn’t just a good stress reliever. Your favorite cardio routine on the elliptical can help you burn calories and lose fat in your stomach area. 1 To supplement that, incorporate resistance training into your weekly routine. Studies have shown that it can help prevent you from losing muscle mass, which is important since it keeps your metabolism at normal levels. 2 Whatever exercise you choose to do, make sure you enjoy it!
3. Drink plenty of water
Ever notice how fit people always seem to have a water bottle with them? That’s because drinking water has been shown to reduce your appetite (and therefore calorie intake), which not only makes you eat less but also prevents you from confusing thirst with hunger. On top of that, research has shown that drinking water helps your body burn more calories! 3
4. Eat without distractions
It happens to the best of us. While we mindlessly devour our food, we watch TV or tap away at our smartphones. But when was the last time you focused only on your plate while paying attention to the flavors and textures of your meal? Research says that when you’re distracted, you may eat more in one sitting. If you are more mindful, you’re more likely to eat less later on in the day. 4
5. Start your day with breakfast … at home
It’s hard enough getting out of the coziness of your bed in the morning – you might as well have something delicious and comforting to look forward to! Research shows that eating breakfast at home is linked to a lower chance of regaining weight. 5 This makes sense, since eating breakfast at a restaurant or even your office carry-out cafeteria will have fewer healthy choices (think: sandwiches with white bread filled with cheese). But when you’re preparing your morning meal, eat foods known to help with weight loss, such as goat’s milk yogurt or high-protein items that keep you satiated for longer. 6, 7 Sorry, no croissants for breakfast!
6. Use smaller dishes
In a well-known study conducted by the founder of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, it was found that people serve themselves more food if they have bigger plates. 8 For instance, if you have an eight-inch plate, you’ll put less food on it than if you had a ten-inch plate. If you’re at a restaurant, implement this habit by asking your server to deliver your food on an appetizer plate and wrap up the rest of your food to take home. It might be weird, but it’s a great way to keep your weight in check (and save money, too).
Getting a good night’s rest doesn’t only prevent you from yawning all day long, but it also helps with your weight loss efforts. Research shows that poor-quality sleep is associated with a whopping 89 percent increased risk of obesity in children, and a 55 percent increased risk for adults! 9 This is the best part: Something as pleasant as sleeping can help you manage your weight. Now that’s easy!
Losing weight is both an exciting and daunting task. You know you can’t change overnight, but the good news is that the smallest changes can make a huge impact over the long term. Start by incorporating some of these healthy habits and the next thing you’ll know, you’ll starting shedding the pounds without even noticing.
1. Ohkawara K, et al. “A Dose-Response Relation Between Aerobic Exercise And Visceral Fat Reduction: Systematic Review Of Clinical Trials. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2007. Web. 6 Feb. 2017.
2. Hunter GR, et al. “Resistance Training Conserves Fat-Free Mass And Resting Energy Expenditure Following Weight Loss. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2008. Web. 6 Feb. 2017.
3. Adda Bjarnadottir, MS. “How Drinking More Water Can Help You Lose Weight”. Authority Nutrition. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 Feb. 2017.
4. Howard LeWine, M.D. “Distracted Eating May Add To Weight Gain – Harvard Health Blog”. Harvard Health Blog. N.p., 2013. Web. 6 Feb. 2017.
5. Brikou D, et al. “Breakfast Consumption And Weight-Loss Maintenance: Results From The Medweight Study. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2016. Web. 6 Feb. 2017.
6. “The Best Diet: Quality Counts”. The Nutrition Source. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 Feb. 2017.
7. Paddon-Jones, Douglas et al. “Protein, Weight Management, And Satiety”. Ajcn.nutrition.org. N.p., 2008. Web. 6 Feb. 2017.
8. “The Large Plate Mistake | Food And Brand Lab”. Foodpsychology.cornell.edu. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 Feb. 2017.
9. Francesco P. Cappuccio, Michelle A. Miller. “Meta-Analysis Of Short Sleep Duration And Obesity In Children And Adults”. PubMed Central (PMC). N.p., 2008. Web. 6 Feb. 2017.