While a lot of people believe that the only way to lose weight is by following an extremely restrictive diet or putting in hours in the gym, some small and easy healthy habits can go a long way. As a matter of fact, the best way to achieve healthy, and sustainable weight loss is by making minor changes to your current lifestyle.
Weight loss is not a sprint but a marathon, and it takes consistent effort to get the pounds off for good.
While fad diets may seem like the simplest and fastest way to lose weight, they are unsustainable and will fail long-term. Especially when the diet does not have an off-ramp that transitions you back to normal eating – this is always true when looking at crash dieting. When you lose weight quickly on a crash diet, it comes back just as quickly, sometimes with some additional pounds.
Instead of punishing your body, below are 14 tips to help you lose weight and achieve better overall health. You can use these tips independently, or if you are already losing weight, these are significant considerations to support you in maintenance:
1. Watch Your Food Portions
Studies have shown that many Americans consume two to three times the actual serving size of foods.
Most restaurants serve extra-large large portions, which can make you believe that is the amount of food needed by the body.
To understand the correct serving sizes of foods, try to read nutrition labels or conduct some research to know how much of a particular food equals one portion for a person. To understand precisely how many calories your body needs, you can have a Resting Metabolic Rate test done. This testing will help you finetune not only your daily caloric requirements but also figure out meal sizing and macronutrient if you’re really into the details.
2. Put Down Your Fork After Each Bite
Eating more slowly is an effective way to reduce the number of calories you take in.
When you consume food slowly, your body more efficiently registers the feeling of fullness, which may take several minutes to reach your brain. Moreover, according to a study in the PNAS journal, eating more slowly can even improve food taste.
Putting down your fork creates a delay in taking the next bite and hence slows down eating. This simple yet healthy habit can in turn help you to lose weight.
3. Drink Water Throughout the Day
Although the human body is an excellent machine, it can also make mistakes. At times, what you believe is a pang of hunger is actually caused by dehydration or thirst. That false sense of hunger can cause you to nibble on snacks when the body only needs some water.
So, drinking plenty of water can be a very healthy habit when trying to lose weight. As a general rule, aim for half of your body weight in ounces. Increase this if you are exercising or spending time in hot or humid conditions.
Note: Take a sip or two NOW as you are reading this!
4. Make Time to Prepare Your Lunch
Aside from helping you save money, preparing your lunch will also make sure that you know exactly what you are putting inside your body and that you’re receiving the essential nutrients.
This is why many of our dieters prefer to meal prep for better management. Besides, you are less likely to skip lunch on hectic days when you have already made meals in the fridge instead of needing to go outside to purchase food. While it may seem like missing those calories could help you lose weight, not eating regular meals can increase your chances of overeating later in the day.
5. Concentrate When You are Eating
It can be challenging to concentrate on what you are eating when you have work to do or are going through your Instagram feed. Moreover, eating while doing other things can make you consume more calories than necessary.
According to a 2013 review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), distracted eating does not only cause you to eat more at the moment but makes you consume more food than you need later on in the day.
6. Always Have Your Breakfast
This one may feel counterintuitive for those trying to lose weight on a restrictive diet but it’s 100% true.
Your metabolism is fastest in the morning, and the body needs fuel to support it; otherwise, you risk shifting your body into storage mode. Consuming a breakfast rich in lean protein and fiber will keep you full, allowing you to make healthier food choices all day long.
To reap the benefits of breakfast, choose meals that don’t contain a large number of carbohydrates or anything heavy that can keep you full, such as muffins, bagels, and cold cereal. You can also go for an omelet with lots of vegetables, scrambled eggs on whole-grain toast, or Greek yogurt with one cup of your favorite fruit.
If you are looking for some healthy breakfast ideas, give our recipes a try.
7. Be a Smart Snacker
While snacking can help you lose weight, it can also prevent you from reaching your weight goals if done the wrong way. There is a possibility of eating more snacks than you think you are consuming. But this problem can easily be solved by dividing your snacks into portions based on their serving sizes instead of just eating them carelessly.
Another problem with snacking can occur if you snack mindlessly during the day instead of doing it intentionally. Creating small barriers while snacking can help prevent this easily. Watch out for grazing, though – you still need to eat three meals a day. If your snack deters you from eating your main meals, that’s a cue to cut them out.
8. Have an Adequate Amount of Sleep Every Night
Maintaining a good sleep schedule can be difficult, especially when you have a busy schedule or too many Netflix series to catch up on, but getting adequate rest is a simple way to promote weight loss.
According to studies, sleep helps control the levels of appetite hormones (leptin and ghrelin), and not having enough sleep can cause these hormones to become unbalanced, increasing your appetite.
Adults need to get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
9. Keep to Healthy Foods Even on Weekends
If you commit to healthy eating from Monday to Friday but see weekends as a time to consume anything you like, you may find it challenging to achieve your weight loss goal. So, instead of allowing the days of the week to dictate your habits, try to adopt a healthy lifestyle that you can keep to every day of the week.
Important to note that those who diet Monday through Friday only to go wild on the weekend will always struggle with losing weight. You can get away with a free day, but the following day is essential to have a damage control strategy and get you back on track.
10. Eat on Smaller Plates
If the same quantity of food is put on a smaller plate and a bigger one, your eyes can make you believe that there’s a bit more food on the smaller plate. This strategy can be attributed to the Delboeuf illusion, which claims that something can look smaller when surrounded by a lot of white space.
Even if you don’t eat much, reducing the amount of plate space surrounding your food can make you think that the food is more significant than it actually is. Eating on a bigger plate can increase your hunger by making you feel like you ate just a little.
Needless to say, this easy habit can go a long way to help lose and maintain weight in a healthy manner.
11. Limit Family-style Eating
When you have various dishes right in front of you, it is easy to start eating mindlessly and filling up your plate even when you are no longer hungry.
So, try to reduce the amount of food on your table to what you want to eat. This subtle rule does not mean you cannot get up to grab more food, but you need to make sure you’re still feeling hungry before having a refill.
12. Don’t Sit Facing the Buffet at Restaurants
Sitting where you can see lines of food can drive you into food-comma territory. Instead of eating while looking at the delicious dishes you might try next, sit with your back towards the buffet and concentrate on enjoying the food you have on your plate. If you wish to eat more when you are done, the buffet is not going anywhere!
13. Load Your Plate with Veggies
One good way to cultivate healthy eating habits is by including things in your diet instead of excluding them. When you decide not to eat any of the foods you love, it can backfire, sending you into a crazy binge.
On the contrary, gradually increasing the amount of veggies you take can only give you positive results.
Apart from containing nutrients essential for good health, vegetables are also rich in fiber, which help you feel full. However, to prevent veggie burnout, it’s best to begin small by adding a single cup of veggies to one of your meals for one week. You can then start including them in more meals as you become accustomed to them.
14. Get a Food Journal
If you don’t notice any weight loss after doing all the above, you may begin to feel like losing weight is an unknown equation that you cannot solve.
In a case like this, getting a food journal can enable you to have a comprehensive view of your habits and find out the areas and lifestyles that need changing. This is a habit many weight loss coaches advise due to its effectiveness. Try as much as possible to track your food and beverage consumption for one week to find out if you are unintentionally taking additional calories you can eliminate to achieve your desired results.
Keep in mind that losing weight healthily takes some trial and error, but the important thing is that you learn how to take good care of your body along the line.
BONUS: Things to Avoid
1. Not Having a Meal Break While Working
Although a lot of people are still working from their house (thanks to the Covid 19 pandemic), a new survey showed that most individuals are still not taking a lunch break. Some of us prefer to work through lunch to get work done as fast as possible.
But studies have indicated that not taking a meal break can be more harmful than helpful. It may lower our output, affect mood, and indulge in eating too much later in the day, resulting in weight gain.
2. Going for a Quick Fix Diet Plan Not Backed by Science
When you choose a quick-fix diet plant (i.e., water fasting, the lemonade diet, or cabbage soup diet), you are just setting yourself up for failure and frustration.
Although you may initially drop weight, there’s a very high chance that you will not be able to maintain the weight. So, when trying to adopt healthy habits to lose weight, it is best to look for a diet plan that guarantees adequate nutrient intake and is sustainable long term.
This consideration doesn’t mean you need to settle with only losing a pound a week; in fact, diets like Ideal Protein allow you to leverage ketosis to maximize weight loss without breaking down muscle.
Relatedly, diets like Ideal Protein also offer a transition back to balanced eating, without which is usually why people typically regain weight.
3. Eating Food in Front of a Screen
Consuming food in front of a TV, computer, or phone can cause weight gain and stop us from shedding weight. This phenomenon is because we tend to concentrate more on the screen instead of our food, which can make us slip into mindless eating and pay no attention to our hunger and fullness feelings.
Besides, we usually eat more when we are not concentrating, extending the amount of time we spend eating.
We hope these simple and easy healthy habits will help you to lose weight in the long run.
If you have any questions about more simple lifestyle habits to help you lose or maintain your weight loss, please send us a message at 858-228-3644 or schedule a 15-minute free consultation.