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10 Healthy Habits To Lose Weight For A Healthy Lifestyle 2023
While the Internet has a plethora of weight loss tips, most of them don’t actually tell you how to stick to those healthy habits to lose weight effectively.
We all know we should eat vegetables and exercise more, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to do it. At the end of a long and tiring day, most of us just want to Netflix and chill with some sushi or pizza.
So, here’s an article with day-to-day advice that works for long-term health. You don’t need to chug cayenne lemon water every morning, avoid chocolate, or cut sugar out “forever” — only to binge on it later tonight.
Don’t let any list overwhelm you, either. You can build up healthy habits for weight loss by focusing on one at a time. Ready? Here we go!
10 Healthy Habits For Weight Loss Naturally
Anyone who’s dieted before knows — it sucks. Humans are terrible at restricting the foods they love and for good reason. We’re wired to want sugar, fat, and salt. The guilt, shame, and stress that come from trying to avoid those foods only make things worse and often lead to unhealthy eating habits like binge eating and eventual weight gain.
Instead of trying to cut your favorite foods out of your diet, keep them. Your new goal is to slowly introduce healthy foods — but ones that taste good.
If you concentrate on foods that both make you feel good and taste good, you’ll train your brain to crave what’s good for you. You’ll want to be alert, energized, and appreciative after a good meal, instead of needing a nap.
With time and by experimenting with healthy eating habits, it will become natural to want nutritious foods the majority of the time while allowing yourself to eat whatever else now and then, avoiding the cycle of yo-yo dieting, weight gain, and shame.
Focus On One Habit At A Time
Much like a new year’s resolution, another reason why diets don’t work is that we put too much on our plate at once, pardon the pun.
Let’s say you want to lose weight, so you decide to go to the gym four times a week. Is that practical, though? There are many other habits you need to set in place to make that happen, like:
- Going to bed early so you’re not too tired.
- Preparing snacks and meals ahead of time so you have enough energy to work out.
- Saying no to anything that pops up, i.e., friends, kids, work emergencies, etc.
- Finishing work on time.
That’s just some of what going to the gym four times a week comes with. Instead, by starting with one or two days, you won’t be bombarded with constant blockades to keep that “one” habit going, because you’ll have the time to learn what works and what doesn’t, making small pivots as you go.
In other words, don’t set yourself up to fail. Avoid the disappointment of realizing it’s too much too soon, which is what usually derails people and makes them stop trying altogether.
- Adding one serving of vegetables to either lunch or dinner.
- Swapping one can of soda for sparkling water, veggie juice, or tea.
- Going for a five-minute walk before or after one meal each day.
- Having a fish or vegetarian meal once a week.
- Bringing fruit to work every day.
- Eat breakfast with high-protein foods most days of the week.
Experiment With Healthy Foods
Learning to love nutritious food will take patience and experimentation with new recipes and foods. The goal is to love what you eat to avoid feeling restricted and have the majority of it be nutritious. It’s going to take some time to find healthy food you like, but here are some of my favorites:
- Chips — kale chips baked with sesame seeds, sesame oil, and garlic powder, for that satisfying crispiness and crunch.
- Ice cream — nice cream, made from whipped frozen bananas for a rich, cold, and creamy texture.
- Milk chocolate — dark chocolate; let it melt in your mouth, and appreciate every second.
Don’t worry if any of that sounds impossible to love because taste buds change every 2 weeks! So if you’re a huge milk chocolate lover, as I once was, know that you can learn to love dark chocolate, maybe even more than milk. Slowly increase the percentage of cocoa you eat, going from 60 to 70 percent. Within a few months, you may be surprised at how much you’re enjoying that 80-percent chocolate.
Stock Your Home
Anyone trying to be healthy with this crazily imbalanced work-life mode we’re living will tell you that having access to good food is key. When you finish work late at night and you’re starving, the last thing you want to do is start chopping an onion.
Make it easy on yourself and prep your fridge and freezer with quick and nutritious foods, for example:
Spinach, peas, green beans, broccoli, artichokes, chopped squash, mushrooms, etc. Did you know? Frozen vegetables often have more nutrients than fresh! They’re flash-frozen immediately after being picked and don’t spend days losing nutrients in transportation and grocery stores.
Vegan meats, seafood like shrimp or muscles, salmon, fish, chicken, etc.
Throw protein and veggies together with some sauce, herbs, and spices, and you’ve got a meal made in 20 minutes or less. Just don’t forget to plan ahead and make that weekly grocery trip, or set an automatic shopping list so the kitchen is always stocked. Your daily routine for weight loss gets a lot easier when good food is around and meal planning isn’t a chore.
Don’t Starve Yourself — Eat Regular Meals
Skipping meals or waiting too long to eat can mess with your hormones, cause cravings and eating disorders, heart disease, and make you cranky. Instead, pay close attention to your hunger cues and try to prepare food before you’ve got a growling empty stomach. The rule of thumb is that the longer you wait to eat, the more likely you are to overeat.
Don’t Expect Weight Loss To Be Linear
Prepare for “failure” because the weight loss journey is a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Not every day, week, or month is going to be “successful.” The human body fluctuates with stress, seasons, cycles, and sleep deprivation, to name a few. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to lose weight continuously, and that mindset only sets you up for the disappointments that lead people to give up on getting healthier.
Don’t Focus On The Numbers
Along with shifting expectations of a linear weight loss comes the need to shift your weight loss goals. Instead of a goal weight, maybe look deeper into what you really want. Is it to feel more energized? Have better skin? More self-confidence and strength?
The truth is, your weight is going to fluctuate no matter how you eat, and depending on the number on the scale to determine how you feel that day isn’t going to help. Instead, it’ll probably make you feel disappointed and frustrated. Feeling upset often triggers the brain to want a reward to feel better, and that reward is usually food. So, checking the scale often or counting calories can lead you to eat more when upset.
Think about new goals that don’t depend on a number. For example, going to bed earlier, walking in the park more often, or meditating to destress and balance hormones. After all, stress leads to weight gain, so they’re very important goals.
Try Mindful Eating
It takes some time to learn to truly enjoy and appreciate your food. But once you do, you’ll likely eat slowly, notice hunger and full cues more easily, and choose foods that make your body feel good, meaning you’ll want nutritious food most of the time. Losing weight won’t be a chore but instead, a natural byproduct of paying attention, on purpose, and without judgment, to yourself and your food.
Instead of reaching for the chocolate when you’re stressed, you’ll learn to take a moment and think about what you really need. Maybe it’s a talk with a friend to feel less lonely or a walk in the park to reduce the stress and overstimulation of screens, meetings, and never-ending notifications of the work day.
You can start by taking the first three bites of anything you eat with your eyes closed and no distractions, while eating slowly, to notice the texture and flavor of every bit.
Stress is one of the biggest culprits behind weight gain, along with the inability to lose weight. It makes us want high-sugar or fatty foods, messes with our hunger and full cues, and can make us anxious or depressed — worsening our food choices even more. Dieting, for example, or putting any pressure on yourself to lose weight is stressful, which is why it usually leads to weight gain.
Choose one self-care habit to work on until you’re ready to move on to the next. It could be turning off the screens one hour before bed, going for a daily walk, or signing up for a new yoga or dance class. Let it be simple, easily accessible, and make you feel good.
Self-compassion is one of the most overlooked and underrated healthy habits. Without this, guilt, shame, and self-criticism rise continuously, leading to stress and mental health issues like anxiety, depression, obesity, and eating disorders.
Most of us were raised within a strict society of rules and punishments, creating a harsh inner critic in our heads. This inner critic is what stops us from accepting that healthy weight loss isn’t linear, that we need to slow down and rest, or that it’s OK to not look like a model.
With compassion, we can be gentle with ourselves when things aren’t the way we want them to be. We can also tune in to our bodies better and learn what our true needs are, and how to give them to ourselves.
So next time you discover you gained some extra pounds or finished a box of chocolates, remember that you don’t have to beat yourself up and make yourself feel even worse, which will only lead you to eat more. Instead, remind yourself you’re on a journey of learning new ways to cope with stress and ask yourself how you can comfort yourself best at this moment, with no guilt attached.
Developing healthy habits isn’t just about following a list of rules. It’s about finding little ways to feel better about yourself throughout your day. By moving away from numbers on the scale or calories eaten, you can begin to focus on sustainable weight loss goals that make you feel healthier and reduce guilt or disappointment.
Taking the time to learn self-compassion and mindful eating methods, for example, will allow you to appreciate your food more and naturally boost weight loss by reducing stress and late-night cravings. Good habits for weight loss become meaningless without a healthy mindset behind them.
Living a healthy lifestyle is possible, as long as you prep yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions and allow yourself to take your time.
+ 10 sources
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