These 5 Tiny Habits Can Help You Skyrocket Your Chances of Weight Loss Success
This time of year, your feed is probably filled with fad diets promising you huge results –– all you need to do is completely overhaul your diet for a few weeks to see success, right? Yeah, probably not. Because deep down, you know this as well as I do: when something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Sure, you might see some success right off the bat with these methods, but when it comes to weight loss, it’s all about playing the long game.
To truly change your body, you need to be able to sustain those habits, long-term. Instead of jumping into a super-restrictive diet or trying to change everything about the way you eat, you’re more likely to see success when you make small changes over and add new behaviors as you develop those changes into lasting habits.
Not sure where to start? Here are 5 tiny ways to change your behavior that can make a big impact in the weight-loss department.
Drink a glass of water before touching your meal.
Hunger cravings can strike out of nowhere, but unless it’s been hours since your last meal, there’s actually a pretty good chance that those feelings don’t have much to do with hunger at all –– thirst can actually mimic feelings of intense hunger. But not only can upping the H2O help you fight those cravings, but it can also help to increase satiety and decrease the overall volume of food you eat during meals. In fact, research has shown that drinking 1.5-2 cups of water 30 minutes before a meal can decrease food intake by about 13%. For someone eating a 2,000 calorie diet, this adds up to 260 calories a day, or an impressive 94,900 calories a year –– the equivalent of about 27 pounds.
Track your fiber.
Tracking your macros can be a highly effective weight-loss strategy. But if you're only focusing on the big three –– protein, carbohydrates, and fat –– you’re missing out on a powerful tool that can help maximize your efforts: fiber. Along with tracking your calories, setting yourself a daily goal of 20-30 grams of fiber can reap some serious rewards.
Cook for two (or three, or four…you get the idea) meals.
When it comes to sticking with your meal plan, I can’t stress enough the importance of having healthy options on hand. When life gets busy or you’re exhausted at the end of a long day, the last thing your want to do is spend an hour preparing dinner. You’re much more likely to make good choices when the foods you should be eating are readily available.
If meal prepping for the week works for you, that’s a great strategy, but you don’t have to plan and cook all your meals seven days in advance to have success –– all you need to do is make a little extra every time you prepare a meal. If you’re throwing a chicken breast in the oven for dinner, make one or two extra for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner.
When you’re chopping up tomatoes, peppers, and onions for a salad, cut up some extra to save in the fridge so it’s already done for later. It doesn’t have to be some big production –– taking a few minutes to prepare a little extra here and there can help to make sure you have options when time is short.
Prioritize the break part of your lunch break.
You’re busy, I get it. I am, too. So I know how tempting it can be to cram all those extra things you need to get done –– whether it’s errands, phone calls, or catching up on emails –– on your lunch break. But when you make your meals a multitasking affair, there’s a good chance that your mindless munching can lead to overeating. In fact, a study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that study participants who practiced mindful eating during their lunch break (as opposed to those who zoned-out listening to an audiobook) reduced their food consumption by 30%, which resulted in a whopping 46 pounds over the course of a year.
Instead of throwing it away, stop and take a few minutes to mindfully connect while you’re eating your midday meal. It doesn’t have to take long, just give yourself 5-10 minutes to actually enjoy your food –– pay attention to how it smells, how it tastes, and how you feel once you’re finished. After that, feel free to get back to your crazy day.
Schedule your snacks.
Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’ve been go, go, going all day long, so by the time your get home you’re famished. Sure, you were planning to eat a salad for dinner, but now, the only thing that’s going to satisfy your cravings is a juicy double cheeseburger –– and just like that, all your plans to stick to a meal plan go right out the window.
Believe me, it’s much harder to control those cravings once you’ve passed that point of no return in the hunger department. That’s why I suggest planning ahead and scheduling your snacks throughout the day.
You don’t need to make this a big production –– all you need to do is keep something simple (like nuts, cut veggies, protein powder, or whatever works for you) in your desk, car, or bag. Then, set a timer on your phone every few hours and grab a snack when it goes off, even if you’re not feeling super hungry. Not only will you help to keep the hunger beast at bay by dinner time, but you’ll also be regulating your blood sugar, helping to keep your brain alert and performing better throughout the day.
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