Trying to get your weight under control can be a difficult task. We all know the importance of diet and exercise when trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight but there are also other little things that you could do to help this along.
Below is a list of 10 habits that you can start to incorporate into your daily life to help with your weight loss goals.
1. Start your day with Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it’s important in maintaining a healthy body weight. After a long night's rest, your body needs the fuel to get your metabolism going and provide energy for the rest of the day. By eating breakfast, it helps to kick start your metabolism and reduces hunger throughout the day, therefore decreasing the likelihood of overeating and making poor food choices for lunch. Furthermore, people who eat breakfast regularly have better vitamin and mineral levels in their bodies and also eat fewer calories from fatty foods.
2. Eat Regularly
Many people know that small, frequent meals are absolutely the way to go when trying to lose some pounds. But why? Because when we go longer than 3 hours without eating, our levels of the stress hormone cortisol rise. High cortisol levels signal the body to store fat in the abdominal region. Keep in mind too that people who skip meals have the highest cortisol levels! When you eat small, frequent meals, the body becomes more efficient at keeping cortisol levels low, which helps both men and women to reduce belly fat.
3. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
Exercise does not need to be strenuous to be effective; consistency is more important than difficulty. Even regular light exercise improves mood and controls appetite. Start with just 10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three times a week, which can include vigorous activities like jogging or jumping rope or more gentle workouts, like walking briskly or leisurely swimming. As you become more fit, you can include strengthening exercises and interval training for even more health benefits.
4. Eat Slowly
If you scarf down your meals, you are probably overeating because of it. It takes a while for our brains to get the message that we’re full. So if we eat too quickly, we will actually eat past fullness. Hence, the trick is to teach yourself to eat slowly. You will feel fuller on lesser amounts of food.
Another trick is to eat a sensible serving without eating seconds right away. A good rule of thumb is to use a moderate plate, and not have food stacked up high. If you are still a little hungry, wait for at least 20 minutes before eating any more. Often so, you will find that your feelings of hunger have already dissipated by then.
5. Eat real and raw food & avoid processed food
Eat mainly whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits, veggies and whole grains. Whole, natural foods, such as apples, steel-cut oatmeal, broccoli, salads and brown rice are low-density foods. This means that they take up a lot of room in your stomach because they contain lots of fibre, which are low-calorie hunger satisfiers. However, high-density foods or processed foods are the opposite, and food products like butter, oil, candy, or ice-cream fall under this category. Eating mostly low-density foods is the easiest way to keep your weight in check without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.
6. Avoid late night snacking
Try your best to avoid caving in to those nagging late-night hunger pangs. Even if you really need to munch on something, go for healthy alternatives like nuts instead.
7. Getting Enough Sleep
By ‘enough’, we mean 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. During sleep, the body and mind undergo a reparation process, where they are readied for the next day. Going without adequate amounts of sleep won't just leave you feeling tired and irritable, it can actually be dangerous, both to yourself and to others. It can also seriously cause a deterioration in your quality of life. Sleeping less than six hours a night for an extended period of time has been shown to increase hunger and appetite, particularly for high carbohydrate foods that promote excessive insulin secretion, which leads to body fat storage.
8. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Most fruits and vegetables are low in fat and calories and high in fibre, making them ideal in diets targeting weight loss.. Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fibre, and other substances that are important for good health. The fibre and water in vegetables and fruits fill you up way more efficiently and also help to keep you fuller for longer.
Drink more water! Water has no calories and fills you up while keeping your metabolism going. Drinking enough water is a vital part of any conditioning programme because it keeps your body functioning through homeostasis. Water aids every aspect of bodily function as well. Start adopting this positive habit by keeping a water bottle with you at all times, or by having a cold jug of water in your fridge. If you find the taste of plain water too bland, infuse your water with slices of various fruits and vegetables, like lemon and cucumber,to give your water a slight burst of flavour.
10. Plan your meal
As the saying goes - ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. Planning meals ahead will greatly help your dieting efforts. There are several reasons why. First, planning ahead keeps you conscious of your eating habits, and keeps you motivated towards your goal. Second, it makes it easier to follow through when you are not faced with the need to make a choice during the moment. Often we make unhealthy choices when hungry. If you plan ahead you are better equipped to make the right, wholesome meal choice. Third, planning ahead ensures that your diet stays within the ideal calorie range you need to be in order to lose weight.
The habits we adopt become who we are. If you were to build healthy habits and stick with them long enough so that they become second to you, then being healthy would become effortless, as it is now integrated as part of your daily routine. Habits tend to stick around for the long term and are usually hard to break once in place, so if you were to successfully integrate these 10 habits mentioned above, you would be on your way to ensuring a lifelong, healthy lifestyle. Making small changes can make huge differences.
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