Those who know me have followed my weight loss journey. As a teenager, I did crazy fad diets with 20-pound gains and losses. Then 3 pregnancies with 50-pound weight gains, followed by 50-pound weight losses with Weight Watchers. Although I maintain my weight now by eating Paleo, I still incorporate a lot of habits that I learned as a Weight Watcher member. Below are some of the most successful and healthiest weight-loss habits that have worked for me.
1. Eat nothing after dinner. Let’s face it; nobody eats anything healthy after dinner! It’s usually empty calories like chips, or sweets, or drinks. You can keep your hands busy by painting your nails or knitting. Bleach your teeth with whitening strips at night to stop the sweet cravings. Or just go to bed! Then you’ll wake up hungrier, and eat your normal, healthy breakfast. This is how my brother started his 107-pound weight loss journey! This is a great habit to start with.
2. Out of sight, out of mind. Put away the candy dishes! Studies show that if you can see the food, you’re much more likely to eat it. The reverse works as well. Try keeping healthy snack foods, like carrots and hummus, or cut-up fruit, at eye level in the fridge. That way if you open the fridge looking for something to eat, the healthy stuff appears right before your eyes.
3. Carry a huge bottle of water with you. Not only is drinking water good for you, but it will make you get up more often to use the bathroom. (Hey, every little bit counts!) I’ve even used this habit to make deals with myself: “I’ll let myself have ________ as soon as I finish one more bottle of water.” Nine times out of ten, I forget all about it!
4. Enjoy it, but just one serving. If you already ate one serving of it, you know exactly what another bite of it will taste like. If you’re still unsatisfied, allow yourself seconds of vegetables only. Keep the serving dish on the counter rather than at the table. That way you’re not staring at the dish, and if you want seconds, you’ll have to get up from the table to get it.
5. Try the “no white at night” rule. Rather than bread, pasta, rice or potatoes, try to have both a salad and a hot vegetable with dinner instead. Some people find that cutting themselves off from starchy carbohydrates at a certain time of day, say 3:00, is helpful. It’s not that this type of food metabolizes any differently at certain times of day; the idea is to avoid those empty calories at the meal when most people pile them on.
6. Have a fruit or vegetable with every meal. At breakfast, you can have some berries, or mix some peppers and onions in with your omelette. Lunch could include a salad or an apple. Dinner could include a hot vegetable. This habit displaces your appetite for other, less healthy foods.
7. How about an afternoon veggie shake? The protein will help with the afternoon energy slump, and the veggies will fill you up. Click here for Precision Nutrition’s guide to making healthy shakes: http://bit.ly/1yKQIu4
8. Pack a healthy snack in your car or purse with you before you leave the house. That way, if you’re stuck on the road without any healthy options, you’re ready. My favorites are snack packs of nuts from Trader Joe’s or Quest Protein Bars from GNC (no, they don’t pay me to say that!).
9. Keep a big batch of vegetable soup handy. This recipe is famous among successful Weight Watchers: http://bit.ly/1IYJRzn It will fill you up for lunch, snack, or dinner time. Yummy, nutritious, and very low-cal!
10. Go to bed earlier. Yes, this one is true. The body perceives a lack of sleep as stress. Stress slows down your metabolism and increases your cravings for sweets. So, if you’d like to lose some weight, make it a habit to get 8 hours of sleep every night. Black out your room and cover all those digital clocks for a deeper, more restful night’s sleep.
Only pick one idea at a time. Keep it simple and focused. As soon as one habit becomes second nature, add another one, building a portfolio of healthier habits over time.
What weight-loss habits do you use?