8 Healthy Weight Loss Habits
Losing weight is one of the most common health goals.
Many of us struggle to shed pounds and, if we are successful, we struggle to sustain the weight loss over a longer period, going from one fad diet to the next, searching for the magic bullet.
The big problem is that most weight loss programmes don’t work in the long term. In fact, some research indicates that as much as 95% of them fail, simply because they rely totally discipline and willpower which can be very hard to sustain. Hence most people fall off the wagon, get back into old habits and gradually regain the weight they have lost and more.
If you’re struggling to lose weight and keep it off, here are 7 healthy habit tips that you can apply to your life to achieve the healthy weight you desire.
1. Forget calories.
I know that we have been told this forever. Losing weight is simple, just eat less and exercise more and the weight will fall off. And sure, it works. Well in the short-term anyway. However, a number of longitudinal studies challenge this view and show that people who restrict their calories don’t actually sustain weight loss in the longer-term.
Why? Because our bodies are programmed to keep us alive; and when we suddenly reduce the calories, ie the amount we eat, the body will do everything it can to protect us from starving to death. That could include slowing the metabolism down and dramatically restricting activity which the science supports.
Moreover, the calories-in, calories-out theory suggests that all calories are equal which, if you think about, doesn’t actually make much sense. For instance, is a 200 calorie bag of crisps (potato chips) really the same as a large banana? From a nutritional point of view, of course they are not.
2. Avoid high carb diets.
In truth, these starch-diets are completely based on sugar as far as the body is concerned. So, to translate, a bowl of pasta, or a bowl of white rice = a bowl of sugar. Similarly, low fat diets also = high sugar diets. There’s been a lot of media attention recently about the amount of processed sugar that we’re inadvertently eating, and here’s a very quick guide to help you if you’re worried about the amount of sugar you’re currently eating and drinking.
So that’s a couple of things to avoid……and here’s a few things to do:
3. Eat foods that are satisfying like protein.
Fish, meat and fats, from nuts for example, should be taken regularly as they release energy more slowly and help to maintain a balanced blood sugar which is really important. In short, focus on quality over quantity.
4. Do the 'history test'.
As a species we have been around for a long time, over 2 million years at least, and since the beginning, we’ve been hunting and gathering our foods. In practical terms, this means that our bodies have evolved to deal with certain types of foods like proteins and fats that have been around the whole time.
This isn’t the case with diet coke, fruit loops and jammy dodgers. Sorry, but try to avoid any of these more modern creations if you can.
5. Try intermittent fasting.
There are lots of examples of this in practice and something I do regularly. Basically, intermittent fasting gives your body a break and allows you to burn fat rather than sugar. This whole concept has been made popular by weight loss programmes such as the Five/Two where for two days each week, you eat just 600 calories.
6. Exercise efficiently.
If you’re time poor, then consider incorporating more efficient forms of exercise into your daily routine. Resistance training for 10 minutes per day, for instance, will help keep you strong, and a period of High Intensity Training is a good way to keep you fit efficiently.
7. Reframe the word 'diet'.
In our weight-conscious society, we tend to think of a diet as something we go on and come off of. Think again. In fact, consider a diet to be what you eat and drink all of the time to sustain weight loss and optimum health. It doesn’t have to be 100% perfect. In fact, think of your health like a bank account, i.e. healthy habits equal deposits, and eating processed foods, drinking alcohol, smoking and going to bed at 3:00AM are withdrawals. The key point is that you do not have to make 100% deposits and 0 withdrawals every day.
8. Be cautious over research.
Whenever you’re next confused over what the media is telling you to eat this week, get into the habit of doing the ‘history test’ outlined above and also check the source of the latest research that they quote. Chances are that the study has been sponsored by the industry!
For instance, logic tells you that an artificial chemically-created sweetener like Aspartame isn’t going to be that great for our health; and yet we drink gallons of the stuff in the form of many popular diet drinks – a number of independent studies support this view; but other Aspartame industry studies found a very different perspective. Who would you believe?
The truth of the matter is that weight loss isn’t a true health goal in itself, it’s a bi-product. The ultimate goal is to enhance your wellbeing and increase your health span so that your future self thanks you!
So take action today and decide which new healthy habit you’re going to incorporate into your day?
What’s the healthy habit that supports you? Share your ideas with the Raw Energy Community and win a FREE copy of Success without Stress: How to Prevent Burnout and Build Resilience for Optimal Health & Performance.