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What are the best weight loss habits? When it comes to getting in shape or just shedding a few extra pounds, there is no shortage of advice you could follow.
“You have to eat a protein-rich diet.”
“High-intensity interval training is the key.”
“Lift heavier weights – It will boost your metabolism.”
We could go on all day. And sure, some of these ideas might help you get some results, but are they really the best investment of your time and energy?
When it comes to getting lean, there are 4 habits that are crucial for your success. If you’re looking to lose weight, focus on these before tackling all the other weight-loss advice you might come across.
What You Will Learn
Essential Weight Loss Habits
1. Take a break.
Did you face any stress today?
The answer for just about everyone should be an emphatic “YES!”
Pretty much every day includes a number of stressors that you may or may not even perceive. Waking up to a buzzing alarm clock, rushing to get to an appointment on time, meeting deadlines at work, and dealing with relationships with family members and friends all present different levels of stress.
Stress is unavoidable and it also prevents you from getting the fitness results you’d like. Unfortunately, most people are so accustomed to being under stress that they don’t realize it’s a problem.
The good news is that it doesn’t take much to build a habit of de-stressing. A 5-minute midday meditation, a quick 2-minute walk to clear your mind, or simply reading a few pages from a good book are all ways you can begin to unload your daily stress.
If you’re serious about shedding fat, you must begin by putting your mind and body at ease. Don’t skip out on taking time to de-stress.
2. Do what you can, when you can.
There are two big misconceptions when it comes to exercising for weight-loss. One is that exercise needs to take 30, 45, or even 60 minutes or more in order to be effective. Another suggests that exercise can be shorter, but it then has to be very intense.
Both of these ideas can make exercise seem unapproachable, and both are flat out false.
Adopting any new fitness habit is extremely beneficial, even if it’s as simple as going for a quick bike ride or doing a few exercises in your living room. A good exercise motto, “What you can, when you can,” has been Twitter-fied into the hashtag #wycwyc.
There are going to be many days when a trip to the gym seems out of reach, but that doesn’t mean that you have to pass on exercise altogether. Here’s a quick #wycwcy workout that you can do at home in just a few minutes:
Every minute of exercise counts, so be sure to do what you can, when you can.
3. Drink water. Yes, drink just water.
Drinking more water will help you reduce the amount of food you eat at meals – And eating fewer calories generally leads to weight-loss.
More importantly, however, drinking more water means that you won’t be drinking other drinks. Soda, fruit juice, or other sweet drinks can easily contain 150 calories or more per serving. This might not sound like much, but it adds up quickly, and none of these drinks will satisfy your body’s need for real food.
Even zero-calorie drinks are problematic. Recent research has shown that people who drink diet drinks end up snacking more and consume 69 more calories each day than those who drink just water.
Sixty-nine extra calories per day is enough to cause 7 pounds of fat gain over the course of a year! This isn’t something to ignore.
Go grab your water bottle and drink up. (Here are the best water filter pitchers to help make sure your water is safe and clean.)
4. Weight loss habits of eating
Losing weight has often been approached with restrictive diets. Removing fat, cutting carbs, or reducing calories are all common approaches to get the number on the scale to finally move.
While these tactics might work short-term, a constant focus on what you “have to” avoid can quickly become exhausting and often ends in burnout and disappointment.
A more effective and long-term solution is to focus on what you are eating, not those foods you’re trying to avoid.
Build a habit of including healthy foods in each and every meal. This can start off very small (perhaps by adding a small salad or even a green smoothie to your meal) and can expand over time as you learn new healthy recipes that are easy and healthy. For example, see Healthy Slow Cooker Meals. And: Quick and Easy Healthy Meals
Your body needs to be fed with nutrients, not just any old food. When you habitually choose high-nutrient foods at each meal, you will notice your food cravings start to subside and you will find that eat less as a whole.
Don’t stress about avoiding the treats you love until you’ve established a routine of eating quality foods that can fuel your body properly.
If you are looking for ways to lose weight, try walking 5 miles a day as your starting point. You can also check out these weight loss apps to help you achieve your goals.
About the Author
Dave Smith is a professional fitness and weight-loss coach who was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” in 2013. You can find free workouts and more of his weight-loss resources at makeyourbodywork.com.