6 HEALTHY HABITS FOR LOSING WEIGHT
More than 60% of our lives are spent performing habits – the mental version of “cruise control” that allows us to do simple things without spending too much mental energy deciding if we need to or not. Things like brushing your teeth, flossing, or exercising first thing in the morning are all healthy habits that you may have gotten accustomed to doing.
It was Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher, who said,
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
It is in this spirit that I outline below a few simple healthy habits that can help you build a healthier life. Once you get used to them, you’ll see a huge improvement in your daily life.
Healthy Habits for Losing Weight:
- Use cooking spray instead of butter or pouring oil on your pan. It’ll reduce your calorie intake by as much as 100 calories and you won’t notice a difference. Pam olive oil based cooking spray is only 2.5 calories, while butter is about 50-100 per serving (depending on how much you use to cook).
When looked at over one meal, this won’t make a big difference. However, over the course of a year, this will help you look and feel better.
- Use smaller plates and smaller utensils, especially for foods high in sugar or calories. It’s been shown over and over again that the larger the plate and utensils, the more you’ll eat. As a matter of fact, try using a plate that’s a different color than your food – it’s been shown that people serve themselves less food when the color of the food and plate contrast.
- Drink a glass of water before each meal. It’s been shown that you’ll eat about 9% less food (13% less if you are obese) if you drink a glass of water before each meal. Water is an easy way to fill up your stomach with zero calories before starting to eat. It’s also very healthy to stay hydrated – having enough water in your system ensures that you’ll perform at your best both mentally and physically.
- Eat foods with lots of spices and avoid sauces. Sauces tend to be high in calories and low in nutritional content – for example, Thousand Island dressing has about 120 calories in two tablespoons, and also 5 grams of sugar. Mayo has even more calories. On the other hand, spices are incredibly healthy, add a lot of flavor, and don’t add any calories to your meal.
- Switch from sugar and cream filled coffee to black coffee. Coffee has been shown to be very healthy for most people, with about 3 cups per day being the optimal amount for health benefits. However, all the studies focus on black coffee, with no sugar or cream added. Try to switch to black coffee for a month – eventually you’ll get used to the taste and grow to love it (if you previously added a lot of sugar or cream).
And no matter what you do – stay away from the Starbucks drinks that masquerade as coffee but are really huge calorie bombs disguised as coffee!
- Add a daily walk to your life. Walking is one of the healthiest activities on the planet – it leads to a host of benefits that are both mental and physical. There are a number of amazing benefits of walking daily, including preventing illnesses, losing weight, improving circulation, and living longer.
- Pay attention when eating. It’s been demonstrated that the practice of mindful eating – eating without distractions such as the TV on or the phone in front of you – can significantly help with weight loss. You’ll not only enjoy your food more and eat less of the meal in front of you, but you’ll also be less hungry throughout the day.
It turns out that your hunger is based more on memory and less on how full you feel after a meal. Read about the funny experiment done with people with amnesia to test and prove this theory, and why it can impact your weight here.
Changing a few of your habits slightly, like walking every day or turning the TV off while eating, may not seem like that big a deal. But over the course of a year, or even a month, you’ll see big improvements to your body and mind if you follow through with these healthy habits.
Learn about how to break or change a bad habit here – the article is focused on sugar addiction, but it can apply to anything.
The best part is that once these things become a habit, they’ll take no thought or energy on your part – you’ll do them automatically.