13 Best Daily Habits For Losing Weight
Losing weight doesn't happen overnight. It's the result of lots of little decisions and choices that all add up, and it's something you need to think about every day. So keep these daily habits in mind that will make losing weight feel easier and less like a chore.
Include Protein, Fiber, and Healthy Fats at Every Meal
This is the magical trifecta to help you feel full and satisfied and to stabilize blood sugar levels. Choose lean proteins, whole grains, produce, and legumes for fiber and avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil for healthy fats.
Eat Veggies at Every Meal
According to certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition, eating veggies is one of the best ways to lose weight because they're low in calories and carbs and full of hunger-satiating fiber. The easiest way to eat more veggies is to include them in every meal and snack — even breakfast. Throw spinach in your morning smoothie, snack on honey-roasted chickpeas, have a big mason jar salad for lunch, and make carrot fettuccine for dinner.
Plan Out Every Meal and Snack
Don't let hunger derail your healthy eating! Plan and prep as much as you can so you know what you're eating for your entire day. Make overnight oats for breakfast and pack leftovers for lunch, as well as fresh fruit and nut butter and veggies and hummus for snacks. Also have a set plan for what you'll cook for dinner. Maybe have cut-up veggies ready in the fridge for roasting or to use for a stir-fry.
Move Every Day
Commit to being active 60 minutes every single day. Be sure to include 60 minutes of heart-pumping exercise five days a week, and three times a week, your workouts should include strength training — building muscle helps you burn more calories. Include two rest days, which can be active rest like going for a leisurely walk or taking a relaxing yoga class. Just make sure to move.
Eat 30 Grams of Fiber a Day
One key to losing weight is eating foods that keep you full, avoiding hunger pangs that tempt you to eat high-calorie foods. Aim for each meal to offer eight to 10 grams so you get 25 to 30 grams per day. And snack on fiber, too — a pear offers 5.5 grams!
Get Enough Sleep
Life gets hectic, but make sure you're getting enough sleep. Besides strengthening your immune system, proper rest also ensures healthy eating habits. On a daily basis, sleepy people eat more, and since the body functions poorly when sleep-deprived, it ends up storing more fat — inadequate sleep can lead to an extra three pounds a year! Besides, think about all the workouts you skip when you're too tired to get to the gym.
Aside from keeping you hydrated, regular water consumption, recent studies show, can aid with weight loss. Filling up on water before a meal helps encourage portion control, and simply eating foods that contain a lot of water (like fruits and veggies) will fill you up faster, causing you to eat less. A small study found that drinking cool water can speed up metabolism and discourage cravings for sugary drinks like soda and juice. Now that's a reason to stay hydrated!
Indulge Once a Day
Don't give up any foods completely. Denying yourself the bites you crave can backfire, causing you to feel deprived, resulting in bingeing and feeling depressed. So make a point to keep yourself happy and your cravings satisfied by allowing a small treat every day, such as a square of dark chocolate, one of these mini vegan strawberry cheesecakes, or a small glass of wine.
Join a Fitness or Weight-Loss Community
Whether it's a national program like Weight Watchers or an online website like My Fitness Pal, being part of a weight-loss community is a great way to find support on this sometimes difficult journey. Aside from utilizing the program's tools, many sites allow you to leave comments and messages on other members' profiles. If a weight-loss program isn't your thing, join a gym and use the community there to inspire your healthy lifestyle. Or find a friend on their own weight-loss journey so you can text or call each other for motivation or meet up for a workout.
Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal
Consuming more calories midday than at breakfast or dinner ensures you have enough time to burn all those calories. Think of lunch as about 40 percent of your total daily calories.
Eat Until You're 80% Full
Down with the clean-plate club! Instead of putting the fork down when your plate is empty, eat slowly, and pay close attention to how your belly feels so you can stop eating when you're satisfied but not stuffed.
Take Pics of Your Food
Portion control and monitoring your calorie intake are key to losing weight. Keeping a food journal is one way to keep you accountable, but if you have a hard time remembering every bite and sip you've had, take pictures of everything you eat. Then at the end of the day, just add them all up. And better yet, email your food journal or stats to a friend to help you stay honest.
Swap Artificial and Processed Sweeteners For Natural Sources
Studies show eating artificially sweetened foods and beverages makes you feel more hungry, so you'll end up eating more total calories. As for refined white sugar, the more we eat it, the more we crave it — sugar addiction is real! Plus, studies show eating sugar actually ages you and has been linked to cancer, liver damage, heart failure, and other serious conditions. It can also make you feel bloated and foggy-headed. Avoid the obvious culprits such as candy, desserts, and soda, and also avoid processed foods, as these contain tons of hidden sugars. When sweet cravings strike, go for fresh or dried fruit or these healthy dessert recipes like date-sweetened cookies.