habits for weight loss

Question of the Week: What are the best habits for sustainable weight loss?

Click bait articles love to talk about hacks, short cuts, and quick weight loss tips. Well, of course you are going to lose weight if you only eat broth and grapefruit for a week. The sustainability of such measures (and their long-term detraction from health living) isn’t enough, though, to keep you moving your health markers – weight loss included – toward total wellness.

The best, and most fulfilling ways, to getting your body to its healthiest weight are things that you achieve by adjusting habits you currently have toward what will serve you and your body better. Exercise is the common approach to this conversation, but I am going to skip it for today and look beyond to how we sleep, eat, and manage stress to help with sustainable weight loss.

Sleep for sustainable weight loss

Then how about some habits that will improve your quality of sleep and help your body with appetite control, energy levels, and hormone levels?

  1. Have a bedtime routine that supports healthy nighttime snacks.
    A bed time snack is not necessarily a habit you need to break! What you can adjust at bedtime though, is what you choose to eat. Junk food can put a cramp in your sleep quality, but a 200 calories or less snack can take the edge off your hunger and help you rest better. Consider a banana with a tablespoon of nut butter, a bowl of oatmeal, a handful of pistachios, or unsweetened yogurt with berries. Some of these foods actually contain melatonin to help you sleep more peacefully, and the protein-rich ones can help you wake up more comfortably the next day.
  2. Actually get enough sleep!
    For many of us, this has become more challenging than it should be. Perhaps its your work schedule or responsibilities holding you back from a solid 7-9 hours, but it’s more likely that you need better sleep hygiene habits in the hours leading up to bed. Consider a predictable routine that lets you body wind down into sleep – ditching screens in the 60-90 minutes before sleep, a darker or cooler room, and testing which activities help you feel more relaxed and ready for sleep at your ideal bedtime. Late nights often lead to mindless consuming of both technology and empty calories. I’ve never met someone who makes a salad at 2 am. Your appetite and cravings are more controlled when your body is well rested and routines are predictable.

Eating for sustainable weight loss

Food-related habits can be some of the simplest, but hardest-fought, habit changes that will move you toward a healthy bodyweight.

  1. Fill your plate with half non-starchy veggies
    Consider beds of lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and the like to build the foundation of your meals. No, this doesn’t mean you always have to eat a salad, but crunchy or leafy vegetables taking up a significant part of a meal’s volume means more nutrients & fiber, more food, and more filling meals. Losing weight and doing so sustainably doesn’t mean constant cutting and eliminating – it means adding in the things your body really needs to be health and replacing your idea of what a meal should be with a plate that provides energy to support exercise and sustenance to help you avoid foods that pull you off track.
  2. Eat mindfully
    Our penchant for mindless munching has hurt our eating habits in the western world. Mindful eating is about listening to your body and eating with intentional thought. Consider this great resource from mindful.org:
6 Ways to Practice Mindful Eating

Managing stress for sustainable weight loss

Stress management and weight loss are closely tied especially as it relates to your view of self and your eating habits. Taker a deeper look at yourself, your current state, and why you want change in your life can be pivotal to staying mentally and emotionally health during a time of physical changes.

  1. Keep your ear out for “should’s”
    As you eat, move, and go about your daily life – listen to your inner and outer narratives for the should’s that may be driving you toward your approach to weight loss. Are you eating cabbage soup 3x a day because you “should” look a certain way? Or are you consuming a rainbow of veggies because it’s best for your body to take in a variety of micro-nutrients? Should’s and should not’s of eating and moving can often lead you down a punishing path where you aren’t playing the long game for your mental and physical health. Listen for the should’s and correct yourself to a healthier mindset as needed.
  2. Practice gratitude
    Neale Donald Walsh said, “The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.” This principle applies to a great many things in life. Starting the practice of intentionally naming things you are thankful for, acknowledging bright spots, or journaling your gratitude are great ways to not only improve your life, but move you on the path to sustainable weight loss. How are weight loss and thankfulness connected? Researchers at Berkley were intrigued by this idea and found that, “Gratitude…drives a sense of purpose and a desire to do more.” One of the researchers, Robert Emmons, found that, “people made to keep a gratitude journal in [his] studies consistently report feeling more energetic, alive, awake, and alert. Yet they don’t report feeling more satisfied with their progress toward their goals than other people do. They don’t become complacent or satisfied to the point that they stop making an effort.” In fact, those who practiced gratitude did more, engaged more, and enriched their own lives and the lives of those around them. So, when you practice gratitude about your abilities, journey to health, and every day victories, you will me more motivated to continue and stay on the path to wellness.

The path to sustainable weight loss is surprising

One of the greatest ideas that we work to convey to members of the Shores family is that losing weight, getting stronger, or generally becoming more fit all take a multi-oared approach. If your lifestyle, mindset, and eating habits have brought you to a difficult or dangerous place, it is going to take more than some burpees to get you out of it. A 5k can’t fix your vitamin deficiency and your morning workouts will only last so long if you never sleep.

The keys to sustainable weight loss are movement and beyond. Habitual and lifestyle changes that make you more motivated, joyful, and energetic toward enacting change in your life.

To talk about a well-rounded plan for your pursuit of health and fitness, all you need to start with is a simple call. We’ll listen to your goals and make a plan to get you there steadily and sustainably. Click here to book a time to talk.