Posted by: Joe Nuss on Jun 09, 2011
7 Habits to Help You Lose Weight and Keep it Off
Lasting weight loss demands that you transform your eating and exercise habits. But many other choices you make each day, such as how much time you spend sleeping or surfing the Internet, can also make a difference. According to a recent study by the Harvard Medical School, there seven habits that can help you move toward your weight-loss goal.
Don’t do all of these at once. Choose the one that seems the most feasible for you, and try to stick with it for a week or so. Once you’re doing it fairly consistently, add another one.
1. Set small, specific, and realistic goals.
Start with a realistic goal of losing 5% to 10% of your weight, and give yourself plenty of time and some flexibility to reach that goal, keeping in mind that most people take at least six months to achieve that degree of weight loss.
2. Start self-monitoring.
Writing down what you eat and how much you exercise can help you gain awareness of your behaviors and track your changes toward specific goals. You can go low-tech (a pocket-size notebook with a pen) or high-tech (a smartphone app).
3. Find a support network.
Find at least one weight-loss buddy — your spouse, a friend, a relative, or a colleague — to help motivate you and hold you accountable. In-person groups, like those offered by Weight Watchers, can serve this purpose; so can online support groups.
4. Energize your exercise.
Try a new form of exercise. Swim laps at a local pool; go dancing; play Frisbee. Finding a form of exercise that you really enjoy will make it easier to stick to an exercise routine.
5. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
Research shows inadequate sleep can lead to weight gain. Most people need about eight hours of sleep a night.
6. Eat breakfast — slowly and mindfully — every morning.
Many people skip breakfast because they’re too rushed or they aren’t hungry. Try getting up 15 minutes earlier (which means going to bed earlier so you don’t sacrifice sleep time) to make time for breakfast and practice putting down your utensil or sipping water, coffee, or tea between bites.
7. Monitor and modify your screen time.
People often complain that they don’t have enough time to exercise or to shop for and prepare healthy meals. But in fact, most people spend many hours watching TV or using their computer for fun. Keep track of your screen time for a week, then try scaling back the number of hours by a quarter or a third, and devote that time to your weight-loss efforts.