If you're one of the millions who are overweight or obese, losing at least 5% of your body weight can have a significant impact on longevity while reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and dementia. As many who have tried and failed can confirm, this can be a daunting accomplishment as successful weight loss is much more than simply eating less and exercising more.
Weight Loss Achieved by Changing Habits
Many people pack on the pounds as a result of decades of poor dietary and lifestyle habits which are learned through childhood and into the early adult years. We're conditioned to eat on the run, rather than sitting down to a well balanced nutritious meal, and many people mistake fast food for a healthy meal.
Bad habits can be difficult to alter, but the results of a study published in the International Journal of Obesity confirm that it is possible to change the habits which are responsible for weight gain. Study participants were provided with a list of habits which promote weight loss, and followed for 8 weeks. During that period, 54% were able to lose more than 5% of their body weight just by making lifestyle changes, compared to a control group who lost no weight. Along with diet and exercise, including these healthy tips will help you to change bad habits and assist your weight loss efforts.
Tip 1: Stop between Meal Snacks
Many people have no idea the number of calories they eat when snacking between meals, and some estimates put the number anywhere between 25 and 50% of daily requirements. An even larger problem is that most snacks are high carb, high calorie disasters which cause rapid blood sugar spikes, leading to insulin resistance and excess abdominal fat.
This one bad habit can be the reason you're unable to lose weight, despite you best efforts. Track every bite of food using a food dairy to see just how much you eat outside of traditional meal time, and make a conscious effort to nip this bad habit.
Tip 2: Go Grocery Shopping on a Full Stomach
Food shopping when you're hungry is a bad habit which will test your willpower and usually result in a few extra junk food items in your cart. Always shop after eating and significantly lower the tendency to make the wrong food choices. Plan your menu ahead of time and create a shopping list of exactly what you'll need for those meals. You'll find it much easier to stick to the list when your stomach isn't growling for attention.
Tip 3: Eat Sitting Down From a Plate
Eating on the run is a guarantee of weight loss failure. This bad habit has become much more commonplace over the last decade, as families eat between 4 and 7 meals each week at a fast food restaurant. Fast foods are packed with trans fats, salt, fast releasing carbs and calories. Further, they provide little or no nutrition, so you remain hungry and more apt to snack. Set your schedule to eat at least 2 nutritious meals a day at home, and always avoid eating out of a bag or cardboard box.
Almost from birth, we're conditioned to make poor dietary and lifestyle choices which become the bad habits that lead to excess weight and disease. Controlling calories and exercise are important components required to lose weight, but taming our habits learned over the years can provide much needed help in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight for life.