5 Lifestyle Habits To Help You Lose Weight And Keep It Off

5 Lifestyle habits to help you lose weight and keep it off

Despite all the hard work and dedication that goes towards losing weight, many people end up gaining it back. This is where habits come in. Habits are simple actions that can have a massive impact on your life and make it easy to maintain weight. This article will cover the development of habits, their connection with sustainable weight loss and five habits to start incorporating into your daily life.

Before going into how habits are formed, let me explain what we mean exactly by the word habit.

A habit can be defined as something you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it (Source). Essentially, habits are actions and behaviour in our daily lives that become automatic.

According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, an impressive 43% of our everyday behaviour is habitual (Source). This is why habits are so important. By understanding how these behaviours develop, you can harness the power of automatic actions.

How to build a good habit

Through examining the habits of 96 people over three months, a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that it can take 18 to 254 days for a new habit to form (Source) – on average, 66 days. It shows that creating habits is a long-term task for the most part.

Don’t start too big!

In his book “Atomic Habits“, James Clear warns about starting too big, which we tend to do when we want to incorporate a new habit into our lives. We get carried away by the excitement and initial motivation. Usually, it doesn’t take long for the buzz to fade, and we get back to where we started.

Clear suggests applying the 2 Minute Rule, which he introduces in detail in his bestselling book. It simply states that ‘when you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.’

The idea behind it is that it makes new habits easy to begin, and once you’re in the flow, it’s much easier to continue. So, for example, if your goal is to exercise in the morning before work, putting your gym clothes out the night before takes less than a minute and helps initiate the new habit. You learn to show up, and that is a big step.

The trick is to do one easy thing consistently or, as Clear states, ‘Standardize before you optimize’. Though you may perceive them as insignificant, the smallest changes in your behaviour often have the most significant impact.

Read more about the 2-Minute Rule here.

2 ways to help change your behaviour and develop healthy routines:

1 – Repetition

Repetition will help you form a ritual as it increases the familiarity of new behaviour. Doing it repeatedly will make it an integral part of your daily routine, and soon enough, you will start doing it automatically.

2 – Incentivise yourself

Incentives or rewards can motivate you to remain consistent with new behaviours. By rewarding yourself after completion, for example, going on a daily 20-minute walk, you encourage yourself to fit the new healthy practice into your schedule and repeat it.

It is estimated that around 80% of people who go on a diet regain the weight they’ve worked so hard to lose (Source). A fundamental flaw in many diets is that they do not help you change your lifestyle and habits. Instead, they often promote a quick fix and offer a method to drop a few kilos quickly without guidance on sustaining weight loss.

A healthy lifestyle is the key to sustainable weight loss.

Our behaviour determines whether we live a healthy lifestyle or not. And the easiest way to keep behaving in a certain way is to make that behaviour a habit. It will take some self-discipline at first, but if you stick with it and remain consistent, healthy behaviour can become an automatic part of your life.

There is no quick fix to losing weight – the key is to form habits that encourage a healthy lifestyle. Here are five practices that can help you live healthier and sustain your weight loss:

Habit 1: Meal planning

It’s hard to stick to a healthy meal plan when you’re short on time, but making a habit of preparing and planning your meals in advance can help with smarter food choices.

Life can get hectic, and without sufficient preparation, it’s tempting to revert to microwave dinners or takeaways after a long day. However, by dedicating time in your week to properly plan and prepare what you eat, you reduce the chance of making poor food choices.

For example, if you know you have a busy morning, prepare breakfast the night before. Keep doing this, and very soon, it will feel automatic and become part of your regular routine.

Habit 2: Daily physical exercise

It’s nothing new that exercise is vital for your health. Incorporating it into your day-to-day life greatly benefits your physical and mental health. Not only do regular workouts help you burn more calories and keep you physically fit, but they also release endorphins which alleviate stress and anxiety.

Find a form of physical activity that you can easily fit into your daily routine, and then creating a habit of doing it every weekday becomes easy.

Habit 3: High-protein breakfast

There’s a reason breakfast is considered the most important meal. It sets you up for the rest of the day, affecting whether you will be hungry before lunch or snack throughout the day.

This is why a protein-packed breakfast can be so beneficial for weight loss. Protein is an essential macronutrient that reduces cravings and increases satiety. In other words, you’ll feel full longer and are less likely to snack.

Set yourself up for success by starting the day with a healthy breakfast routine incorporating protein to stay on track with your weight loss goals.

Habit 4: Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is an easy shift to facilitate weight loss.

Staying hydrated helps you feel more energised, improves your skin and helps carry nutrients around your body. Furthermore, thirst is often mistaken for hunger. So by replenishing through the day, you can help to reduce your appetite and suppress cravings.

Make a habit of always having a glass of water nearby and refilling it every hour. Don’t wait until you are thirsty!

Habit 5: Reduce alcohol intake

If you find yourself battling with belly fat but haven’t made any changes to your alcohol intake, this could be why.

Alcohol decreases sleep quality, slows your metabolism and increases your overall calorie consumption – all of which impede weight loss.

Start with tracking how much you drink and then gradually decrease your alcohol units to develop a habit of drinking less.

Habits are not perfected overnight.

The more you practice a healthy habit, the more likely it is to become second nature. Once behaviour becomes familiar, you no longer need to consciously work at building good habits. And this can lead to powerful transformations in your life. It will become easier and easier to sustain your weight loss, and soon enough, it will become effortless!

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