Need healthy habits to lose weight? There are 5 healthy habits that will help you lose weight and feel better about your body. Are you doing all five?
What are the first words that come to mind when you think of weight loss? I’m guessing you said diet, exercise, meal plans, weird vegetables, feeling starved, maybe that it doesn’t work. Did I get a few? Well, allow me to disrupt your paradigm of weight loss. Remember, weight loss is not a thing or object it is merely an action that takes place within our bodies when we have formed healthy habits. Creating a habit of something is the keystone to any goal. That is why I have picked my top five healthy habits you can start doing today that will lead to losing weight.
1. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
We hear this all the time but why is it so important? How we fuel our bodies first thing in the morning is going to set the tone for the rest of the day. If you only have a bowl of cereal, by the time you get to work you will be hungry again. I’m not saying cereal is a bad breakfast choice what I am trying to convey is that your breakfast should include natural, filling food. These kinds of foods can be oatmeal with raspberries, breakfast energy smoothies, scrambled eggs, and avocado on toast. You’ll notice that each of these contains a substantial amount of protein, fiber, and are naturally high in fat. Heidi Godman, the executive editor for the Harvard Health Letter, reminds us that
“… fiber makes you feel full right away, the protein helps you stay full for longer, and the fat works with the hormones in your body to tell you to stop eating.”
Simply put, adding a few natural sources of food to your morning breakfast routine will help you pick healthier eating choices throughout the day!
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2. Get Attached to Your Water Bottle
As your stomach fills up with food and drinks it sends a signal to your brain that you are full. If you find that you are still hungry even after eating drink a glass of water to help fill up that extra space in your stomach. It is even possible that when you feel “hungry” you might actually be feeling thirsty. Next time you try to reach for a mid-afternoon snack drink a glass of water first to see if that will curb your appetite (Huizen, 2018). If you are drinking more water then your brain won’t think it is hungry as often which means you will snack less, therefore, helping you lose weight.
So, you plan to spend lots of one-on-one time with your water bottle then you should find one that is going to make drinking water easy and is convenient to carry around. Oddly enough the style of your water bottle is going to make a big difference. For example, I know that if I have a straw I am going to mindlessly sip on my water all day. It’s what works for me. You may have to try out a few different styles to find the “perfect” fit but it really does make a difference.
3. Simply Go Outside
Whether you work a 9:00–5:00 office job, you’re a college student, or work from home just being outside will do you some good. What you choose to do out there is completely up to you! Don’t schedule a whole hour to be outside (unless you have the time to do that). I simply ask that you spend at least 10 minutes doing something you enjoy outside. Here are my suggestions:
- Listen to a podcast. While you are sitting there at the park pull out your phone and listen to your audiobook or a trending podcast.
- Go for a walk. This is also a great activity to do when listening to your podcast. I highly recommend going on a 10-minute walk for those of you who sit at a desk most of the day.
- Meditate or just be in the moment. Some individuals have found that meditating is a peaceful way to re-energize themselves.
No matter what you do just being outside is going to lift your spirit, give your lungs and brain some well-deserved oxygen, and keep you motivated in making healthy choices. Plus, if you need more incentive you can also learn how to get money for walking with new apps.
4. Make Healthier Food Options
Yes, I know we finally got to the dreaded “healthy food” portion. But what I want you to do, starting today, is when you want a snack to grab a banana instead of a muffin. You are allowed to have the muffin anytime but for today you are going to choose the banana. Now your muffin could be a piece of chocolate, or leftover cake from someone’s birthday, or maybe a bag of chips. Remember, you are allowed to eat those things, even when trying to lose weight. Crazy, I know! The idea is that we aren’t trying to cut out all of the delicious treats in the world. That is not going to help you in the long-term. I want you to swap out something different every day with whole food options. These can be carrots, celery sticks with peanut butter, an apple, seasonal fruit, steamed veggies, or almonds. Basically, anything that grows in nature and that you enjoy eating is an option.
Let me explain why. Back to our muffin, while it is filling at the moment it doesn’t have very much fiber or substance to it. This makes it really easy for your stomach to digest which means it goes through your system pretty fast making you hungry quicker. When you eat whole foods they are packed with fiber so it is going to take a little more time for your stomach to break it down. If it stays in your stomach longer then you feel full longer. If you are full for longer periods of time it means less time for snacking (Mayo Clinic, 2017).
5. Look Up From Your Phone
Too much time on your hands? It has become a habit for our generation to quickly pick up our cellphones when we don’t know what to do. It is so easy to spend 30 minutes to an hour scrolling through our social media feed. What good is that doing for us? That time could be used for so many other things! You could go on a walk, read/listen to a book, learn a new skill, chat with an old friend, get some friends together to play a game. Yes, with some of these things you are still sitting on a couch or on your bed but these things will stimulate parts of your brain that can lead to feelings of happiness, increased energy, social belonging, and/or improved mental health. If you can motivate yourself to do these simple things, that energy will begin to flow into other aspects of your life.
There are so many other habits that you can change to help you lose weight but these are my top five recommendations. Weight loss can be simpler and easier to obtain when we try to make small changes in our behavior every day. Trying to change everything at once is overwhelming, stressful, and will not be sustainable in the long-run. Unless you think you can live without ice cream on a gooey brownie. In making subtle changes each week you will be able to develop a slew of healthy habits within your lifetime. For now, just start with today.
- Godman, Heidi. 2013. Extra protein is a decent dietary choice, but don’t overdo it. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/extra-protein-is-a-decent-dietary-choice-but-dont-overdo-it-201305016145
- HealthLine. 2019. The benefits of healthy habits. https://www.healthline.com/health/5-benefits-healthy-habits
- Huizen, Jennifer. 2018. Can water help you lose weight? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322296.php
- Mayo Clinic. 2017. Diet and exercise. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/basics/diet-and-exercise/hlv-20049483
- Mayo Clinic. 2017. Weight loss: feel full on fewer calories. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20044318
- Ratini, Melinda. 2018. Twelve habits of super healthy people. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/ss/twelve-habits-super-healthy-people
- Travers, Christopher. Jeffers, Laura. 2014. 11 simple health habits worth adopting into your life. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/11-simple-health-habits-worth-adopting-into-your-life/