7 Powerful Diet Habits for Weight Loss Success
By Michelle Hoeing, RDN LN
Most successful people in life are successful because they have adopted the right habits. By sticking to the same proven routine, they are able to enjoy the life they deserve. The lesson for all of us is that by practicing productive healthy eating habits on a daily basis, we can set up for ultimate success. Otherwise we risk traveling down a slippery slope of weight management struggles. The following are a few habits that can set you up for long-term success:
1. Eat Breakfast. We know that those who skip breakfast often tend to weigh more than those who don’t. When we go too long in between meals, our body’s natural metabolism slows down to prevent the loss of too much energy. When we eat breakfast, we literally “break the fast” since our last meal. When we skip breakfast, we often find that we tend to overeat at one or more of the next meals of the day. Remember to include a source of protein for that first meal of the day, or expect to feel drowsy about 2 hours later, which may trigger you to want to eat again.
2. Stay Hydrated. Often, we misinterpret our body signals; we may think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty. Staying adequately hydrated not only fights off “fake” hunger signals, but also contributes to our blood pressure, body temperature, and bowel habits, among others. Getting plenty of water is the best way to stay hydrated.
3. Get Plenty of Sleep. Although this may not be directly related to the food you put in your body, it can affect the type of food eaten and how our body responds to that food. Sleep helps to reduce our stress levels, especially cortisol. When our stress levels are high, our body tends to store fat. Plus, the more time spent awake, the more time our body will tell us it wants to eat.
4. Practice Portion Control. Actually measuring food is a great way to control the amount of food eaten. We may like to think we are really good at guessing a serving size, but an extra tablespoon or ½ cup serving that we might not be aware of, can accumulate pretty quickly over time, ultimately increasing our caloric intake.
5. Engage in Meal Planning. When meals or snacks are prepared ahead of time, it eliminates the number of decisions you have to make in the course of a day. We already have so many other things going on in our lives, why not make it a little easier with a few pre-planned, pre-portioned meals and snacks?
6. Make Healthy Food the Default. Try to keep the junk food out of the house and keep fruits and vegetables visible and part of every single meal or snack. When this eating habit is practiced, it feels natural to eat healthy foods.
7. Snack Smart. Make sure when you are eating a snack, you are counting it into your total daily intake. Excessive snacking can increase total daily calories very quickly if we are not careful. When having a snack, make sure it is planned and not just out of impulse, boredom, depression, etc. Each snack should ideally contain some source of protein and a fruit or a vegetable.