If you are ready to break the yo-yo dieting cycle and lose that weight for good, then it is time to focus on developing new habits and routines related to your health that are key to weight loss. Instead of focusing on quick-fix solutions or 30-day challenges, make lasting, permanent changes to how you think about food and fitness. That way, you will enjoy a much better result.
Medical News Today has an interesting article entitled 10 Tips for Successful Weight Loss that advises on eating varied, colorful, nutritionally dense foods, engaging in regular physical activity and exercise, and seeking social support.
Why Habit is and Important Key to Weight Loss
By design, our brains want to follow a routine. The more we do something, the more comfortable it is to keep doing that thing, and the more likely our brains are to want to keep doing it. Our need to maintain the status quo is why it is often hard to lose weight. Weight loss involves breaking unhealthy habits in favor of ones that are better for your waistline.
When you focus on changing small but pivotal habits, you can achieve lasting success with any weight loss efforts. For example, your go-to method might be to ditch all the carbs and eat an extreme diet for three months. However, you are more likely to lose weight and keep it off if you focus instead on developing healthy habits. Habits include:
- Drinking more water.
- Eating five servings of vegetables and fruit daily.
- Getting eight hours of sleep each night.
Weight Is Not Just About Food
Often, the habits that get us into the worst trouble regarding our health have less to do with what we eat than other aspects of our lifestyle. For example, keeping a regular meal routine helps you avoid snacking, which can lead to slow but steady weight gain. In addition, trying to walk more and sit less also tremendously impacts your weight.
Developing habits that will eventually lead to better health and a lower weight is a more robust strategy than just focusing on weight loss alone. Other practices that can help you be healthier and, in the long run, lose weight include:
- Packing healthy snacks, so you are prepared during the day.
- Using smaller plates.
- Drinking water before every meal.
- Eating mindfully.
- Slowing down when you eat.
- Reading nutrition labels.
Over time, these habits and routines have a cumulative effect that will equal less weight and improved health overall. And because these are things that you can control, versus your weight or other metrics, which are a result of your actions, it is something concrete that you can focus on changing in your life.
Changing your health outcomes is not just about developing new habits but also about breaking old, unhealthy ones. You can use routines to help here, too. For example, suppose you have a habit of snacking when you get home from work or before bed. In that case, you can use routines to change how you spend your time during these critical hours, giving your mind and body something else to do instead of snacking. For example, you could take up a new hobby that occupies your hands or start writing a journal to explore your emotions about eating instead of just consuming.
Breaking harmful habits also requires giving yourself grace when you make a mistake. Cleveland Clinic’s 5 Tips to Stop Overeating article reminds us that slipping up when trying to break habits is not the end of all your progress. Instead, remind yourself that there will be another opportunity to try again and reinforce positive eating habits.
Breaking habits requires creating new neural pathways, so your mind gets comfortable walking new paths and developing a new status quo. Anything you can do to occupy your brain and get your mind off that old habit will help. Finding new and creative ways to challenge your brain while breaking old habits can be fun and exciting.
Remember that setting habits that last a lifetime are your greatest asset in losing weight and keeping it off.
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