7. Build the Habit of Exercise
Running a couple of times every now and then is not the best approach for losing weight. In fact, it’s the recipe for chronic sore muscles and disappointments.
We, humans, are defined by the habits we build.
For most of the time, we are bound to repeat 99 percent of our physical and mental patterns from one day to the next, which is a double-edged sword since you can choose to build healthy habits and vice versa.
I learned this while reading The Power of Habit. This is, by far, the best book you can read about habits and how powerful they are.
Build a regular exercise routine of at least three sessions a week, then do your best to stick with it for 4 to 6 weeks, which is enough time to help you build the habit of regular exercise into your life.
Do whatever you can to keep the exercise building process going strong. Run, bike, swim, hit the gym, do Yoga, or just walk. The more active you become, the stronger the exercise habit gets.
8. Dodge Injuries
Injury can stop you in your tracks—especially if you are doing any sort of high impact exercise such as running.
And truth be told, there is nothing worse than a Runners Knee or Achilles tendinitis—two notorious running injuries—in the middle of a fat loss resolution.
Thus, make pain-free and injury-free exercise your primary goal, especially if you are starting out.
Approach your exercise plan with a beginner’s mind, build it up slowly and listen to your body for any signs of trouble and pain.
Back off, even call it a day, when you feel something wrong—that usually happens when you are pushing it too far, or when you are skipping proper recovery between hard workouts.
And remember that slow and steady wins the weight loss race.
9. Walk More
If you are really out of shape or have some medical condition that makes high impact exercise out of the questions, then WALK.
Walking is a great low-impact exercise that can help you lose weight and get in shape.
Walking briskly for at least 45 minutes a day—that’s about three to four miles depending on how fast you are—can help you shed more than 30 pounds in a year as long as you are keeping your calorie intake in check, according to a Duke University study.
Go for daily 45-minutes walks at a brisk pace, and feel free to add a few jogging bouts whenever it’s possible.
10. Exercise at the Same Time Each Day
Regardless of the time you choose to exercise at, working out at the same time, day in and day out, can help you stay consistent and build the exercise habit into your life.
Choose a specific time of the day. My bets are on the 6 to 7 am and do the exercise. Keep exercising at the same time over and over again until the act becomes second nature.
11. Keep Track of the Food you Eat
In my experience, keeping track of how many calories I’m consuming every day has been, and still is, one of the best tools I’ve used to lose weight, then keep it off for good.
Why is that? Well, according to research, people who keep track of everything they consume can lose up to twice as much weight as those who don’t keep a food diary. Tracking your calorie intake can help shed light on the darker aspects of your diet habit and know for sure where you are falling short.
Keep tabs on your daily eating habits.
You can do this by either using a journal, a food log or one of the many Smartphone apps that you can download for free. I usually use a food journal just like this one I found on Amazon. However, there are also plenty of free apps that you can put to use.
12. Plan in Advance
According to Dutch researchers, planning your responses to hunger and figuring out ways in advance to stay on track can help you shed the extra pounds faster.
People who wrote a list of “if,… then” statements (“If I’m hunger at 10 a.m, then I will have a handful of nuts as a snack) shed more pounds and stayed consistent with their diet regimes better than those who didn’t have a plan of action in advance.
This is “preemptive dieting” at its best.
Looking ahead and coming up with solutions for hunger in advance can help you prevent poor food choices when you have a weak moment and/or when you are too hungry (and stressed) to think straight.
Plan healthy snacks for your weakest and troubled times, and keep switching them up every few weeks.
You can also make a list of those bad timings where your diet tends to take a turn for the worst, then come up with healthier safe plans.
For example, if you overeat on dinner, then have a snack before you sit for the meal.
13. Fill Up on Veggies
When it comes to the right foods for weight loss and optimal health, vegetables should be a staple on your daily eating menu.
Veggies score high on fiber, valuable nutrients, and water, all of which will help you shed weight without starving yourself to death.
Plus, consuming a lot of veggies increases the amount of fiber in your diet, which can help you feel full for longer.
In other words, you can consume large portions of vegetables without loading on calories or worrying about gaining weight.
Stock up your kitchen with all kinds of vegetables. The more the colors, the better.
14. Fill Half of your Plate with Vegetables
The importance of veggies is a no brainer. However, when it comes to actually eating more veggies, most people fall short.
Nonetheless, here is a practical thing you can do.
Load half of your plate at every meal with vegetables of your own choosing, then fill the other half with lean protein and whole grains. This is the most practical advice that can help you load up on veggies, and will definitely help you curb cravings and feel fuller for longer.
15. Remove the Junk
One of the best ways to help you steer clear of junk food is to purge your kitchen (and house) from any food that’s not “weight-loss friendly.”
By declaring your living area junk-food free, you will be less likely to give in into late night temptations.
Don’t rely on willpower since it’s really limited, and after a stressful day at the office, your willpower will be dry as a bone.
Make sure to set your environment for success.
Clean your kitchen and get rid of any food that leads to weight gain, like cake, ice cream, or any other food that scores high on sugars and processed ingredients.