Habits are tricky for most people: the good ones can be hard to start, and the bad ones are often hard to quit. That being said, both bad and healthy habits have a tremendous impact on your weight and weight loss journey. It can be easy to get sucked into the numbers game, obsessing over the number on the scale going down at all costs. However, losing weight in a healthy way — rather than just the fastest — will pay off in the long run. These four healthy habits promote good weight loss and an overall healthier lifestyle.
Many variables affect weight loss, and the process is different for everyone. And keep in mind that there are also different types of weight loss. Even with all these variables, though, if you take control of your habits, you’ll be on the path toward a healthier lifestyle.
1. Eat a Well-Rounded Breakfast
It turns out that breakfast isn’t called the most important meal of the day for nothing. According to a study from the American Journal of Epidemiology, people who skip breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to be obese. Fueling your body first thing is crucial to regulating your metabolism and staying energized throughout the day.
Consider this: if you skip breakfast, then eat lunch at noon and dinner around 7:00 PM, that’s 16 hours without food between dinner and the next day’s lunch. This promotes snacking and can leave you feeling sluggish in the mornings.
Such a long break without eating can also slow your metabolism and put your body into “fat storage mode” because it’s expecting a 16-hour daily wait for food. Consistently eating breakfast, even something small, combats this and gives you more energy to help promote good weight loss.
2. Find Healthy Outlets for Stress
Stress is something almost everyone deals with – unfortunately. Negative outlets like stress-eating are usually “easier” ways to handle it, and the behavior often becomes automatic. In fact, a University of Alabama study found that people who eat as an outlet for stress were 13.4 times more likely to be overweight compared to those who don’t stress-eat.
Finding a positive way to relieve stress is important, both physically and mentally. Stress eaters tend to reach for sugary or starchy snacks and munch away without thinking about it, then realize later that they ate way too many of those cookies.
Switching your de-stressor to one of your new healthy habits can be done in several ways. Finding something that doesn’t involve eating, like exercise or a creative outlet (i.e., art or playing an instrument), can help you relax without racking up calories.
If you find it difficult to stop stress-eating altogether, find a healthy alternative snack and keep it easily accessible. It will be easier to form a long-lasting healthy habit if it’s as easy to grab as that cookie or bag of chips.
3. Stay Mindful While Eating
Mindful eating, focusing on your food without distractions, is a highly effective way to avoid overeating. Making mindful eating choices is a relatively easy habit to start but can be challenging to maintain.
The concept of mindful eating also works in reverse: when you’re focusing on something like watching TV, you shouldn’t eat until you can stop watching and focus solely on eating. This is because it’s easy to overeat when you aren’t paying attention. We’ve all been there: when we sit down to watch a TV show and eat an entire bag of chips or the whole pint of ice cream – without even realizing it.
When your mind is focused on something else, it’s simply easier to lose track of what you eat. Try to create a healthy habit out of putting the phone down and turning off the TV so you can focus on exactly what and how much you eat. You’ll likely find that your meals are more enjoyable after practicing mindful eating for some time.
Using plates and silverware, as opposed to eating out of a container or grazing with your fingers, is another mindful eating tip. Putting a scoop of ice cream into a bowl helps ensure you don’t accidentally finish off the whole container.
4. Make Your New Healthy Habits Easy and Convenient
When trying to start new habits, it’s important to make them easy and convenient to follow. It’s hard enough to make healthy habits stick, so find ways to make them easier or even fun, so you’ll be more likely to continue them.
It’s easy (too easy!) to grab junk food, skip breakfast, or snack mindlessly while scrolling through social media, so make your new healthy habits simple enough that you don’t revert to the easy but also unhealthy habits.
Consider preparing breakfast the night before or finding go-to quick, healthy meals for the mornings. If you feel like you have to prep and cook for 45 minutes before work, you’ll probably just skip it. To avoid this, keep meals simple and easy. The same goes for dinner; you’re far less likely to make healthy meal choices at night if it involves a great deal of work, so try to plan ahead.
Finally, we don’t necessarily have to break old habits if we can simply modify them to be healthier and promote good weight loss. Healthy foods like almonds and kale chips still give you the satisfaction of snacking but eliminate all the bad ingredients.
If you need help starting out on healthy habits to promote weight loss for yourself, contact Dr. Urshan. We have experience in productive weight loss techniques and methods that remain healthy and beneficial. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you on your good weight loss journey.