Maintaining a healthy weight isn’t about harsh eating plans or fad diets. Sustainable weight loss comes down to the small habits we make every day.
You may be surprised at how much of an effect minor adjustments can make on your weight and overall health. Here, we’ll cover 15 small habits for weight loss that can lead to big results.
The 15 Best Habits for Weight Loss
1. Eat Breakfast
Eat to lose weight? It may seem counterintuitive, but eating breakfast is one of the best habits for weight loss — and science proves it. A 2019 study found that consuming a higher percentage of total daily energy intake in waking hours is linked to a lower risk of obesity.
Aim to eat breakfast with a mix of lean protein, healthy carbs, fibre, and healthy fats to stay satisfied and fueled until your next meal.
Rushed in the mornings? Here are some nutritious, fast breakfast ideas:
- An Isalean shake
- An omelet packed with leafy greens and veggies (onion, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, and any other of your favourite vegetables)
- Unsweetened Greek yogurt with fresh or frozen berries
- Old-fashioned oats with a dollop of unsweetened yogurt, fresh berries, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds or nuts
2. Get Enough Sleep
Adequate sleep is an essential part of losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight.
Sleep plays a key role in a wide range of functions related to weight loss, including:
- Keeping the appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin balanced
- Controlling cravings
- Ensuring you have the energy to hit the gym
- Decreasing late-night snacking urges
- Increasing impulse control
- Keeping cortisol in check
- Maintaining the body’s ability to process insulin
Aim to keep a consistent sleep schedule and work on getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
3. Check the Scale
Another small habit for weight loss that can help you see noticeable results is checking the scale often. While it is unhealthy to obsess over the number on the scale, science proves that keeping track of your weight can boost your weight loss efforts.
Cornell University researchers discovered that frequent weigh-ins were an effective tool for losing weight and keeping it off.
Make a point to step on the scale at the same time every day to maintain consistent numbers.
4. Keep Water Around At All Times
The body requires an adequate amount of water to turn carbohydrates into energy. If you do not drink enough water, carbs may get stored in your body as fat. Drinking enough water also helps your body recognize feelings of fullness.
According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, individuals who drank 1 percent more water per day consumed fewer calories and ate less cholesterol, sodium, sugar, and fat.
Keep track of your water intake to make sure you are drinking the recommended amount of water every day.
5. Find Healthy Ways to Manage Stress
Do you reach for sweet or carb-heavy snacks when you’re stressed out? This is a common stress response but it adds up to serious calories over time.
Instead of reaching for comfort food during times of stress, work on developing healthy outlets for your emotions. If you are under stress and tempted to eat, try these tips instead:
- Try sucking on a piece of hard candy or chewing gum
- Take a quick walk — even if it is just a lap around the block
- Develop a calming bedtime routine
- Take breaks from watching or listening to stories on the news
- Volunteer in your community
6. Sneak in Movement Throughout Your Day
Sedentary jobs and lifestyles mean we are sitting more than ever. Did you know we spend an average of 60+ hours a week sitting? With another 8 hours of the day spent lying down for sleep, that only leaves around 7 hours left for moving around.
This increase in sitting time means we automatically burn fewer calories. The good news? Even spending two minutes every hour taking a quick walk can counteract the negative effects of sitting. Make a point to pace around when you take work calls, take a quick walk on your lunch break, or get up to talk to a coworker in person rather than calling or emailing them.
7. Start Every Day Outside
Studies show that early morning sun exposure during the hours of 8 am and noon is linked to lower BMIs and increased fat burning. Researchers believe the sun’s rays may help the body’s cells store less fat.
8. Watch Portions Closely
It can be easy to eat two or more servings of food without even realizing it, especially in restaurants. Try paying attention to nutrition labels and making sure you are following the recommended serving sizes. At restaurants, ask for a to-go box right away with your meal so you can box up half of it to save for leftovers.
9. Use Smaller Plates
One of the best ways to control your portions without feeling deprived is by using smaller plates. The same amount of food on a little plate will look more satisfying than on a larger plate. It’s one of the easiest weight loss habits to implement into your wellness routine.
10. Avoid Mindless Eating
If you’ve ever eaten an entire bag of chips while checking your email or eaten several bowls of ice cream watching your favourite show at night, you know how easy it can be to eat mindlessly. Distracted eating can lead to accidentally consuming far more calories than you realize.
To work on eating mindfully, try:
- Eating without any distractions (turn your phone off, turn off the tv, etc.)
- Sitting down during meals or snacks (not standing up or eating on the go)
- Paying attention to the texture, flavour, taste, and smell of your food
- Eat food from a plate, not a package
- Slow down as you eat by putting your fork or spoon down between each bite (it takes a full twenty minutes for your brain to realize that you are full)
11. Face Away from the Buffet
Heading out the buffet? Pick a chair that faces away from the food. This simple trick can help you automatically eat less while still staying satisfied.
12. Pile Your Plate with Veggies
One of the best habits for weight loss that lasts is eating more of the right foods. A restrictive diet can lead to initial weight loss that eventually backfires when you regain all the weight — and then some.
Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, focus on what you can. View food as fuel for your body and prioritize whole, unprocessed foods such as:
- Fresh or frozen fruits
- Old fashioned oats
- Full-fat cheese and yogurt
- Healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds
- High-quality dark chocolate
13. Keep a Food Journal
Keeping a food journal is one of the easiest weight loss habits that can yield noticeable results. If you have been trying to lose weight and just can’t seem to drop the pounds, try tracking your food for a week or two. You may notice surprising patterns or discover that you are consuming more food than you realize.
14. Don’t Grocery Shop on an Empty Stomach
Grocery shopping on an empty stomach often leads to impulse buying. Rather than stocking up on healthy foods, your pantry may end up packed with cookies, snacks, chips, and other goodies.
Eat a healthy meal or snack before grocery shopping and stick to a healthy grocery list to ensure you stock up on nutritious, whole foods. Having a fridge and pantry full of healthy foods and snacks makes it easier to make healthy choices at home.
15. Skip Eating After Dinner
Have you ever sat down after a long day, kicked up your feet, and reached for a bag of chips or cookies? Even after a nutritious, filling supper, it can be tempting to snack later on at night. This small habit can add up to extra pounds over time.
If you tend to snack at night, pay attention to the food you are choosing. Are you reaching for celery and carrot sticks? Probably not. Night snacking almost always involves comfort foods such as carb-rich snacks or sugary treats.
To stop snacking at night:
- Make sure you eat a balanced, nutrient-dense supper
- Drink enough water throughout the day
- Brush and floss your teeth after dinner
- Enjoy a cup of hot, caffeine-free herbal tea instead
Want More Healthy Eating Tips?
Do you follow any of these weight loss habits in your life? Did we miss any of the best habits for weight loss? We’d love to hear from you!
Our team is always here to answer any questions or suggest products based on your lifestyle, fitness goals, and nutritional needs. Contact us anytime and we’d be honoured to be a part of your wellness journey.