Many factors are at work in determining how easily you can lose weight and keep it off. Some are not in your control, including your DNA and genetics. But, if you focus on small, doable changes, you can get started on the path to a healthier you. Start with these 5 simple weight-loss habits.
1. Start a food and drink diary
A food journal can help you identify your own personal diet patterns and determine where you need the most support.
A food journal can be an indispensable tool to help you get healthier. You may simply be unaware of how much sugar you’ve consumed, for instance, until you see it all written down. This could give you that extra boost to say no to a cookie after dinner. Remember, no one has to see your journal but you.
Bonus: as you get healthier and eat better, a journal is a concrete way to look back and see exactly how far you’ve come!
2. Eat a protein-packed breakfast
You may already know how you feel when you eat a donut for breakfast instead of an egg. But science actually shows that a higher protein breakfast can set you up for a day of healthier eating, including less snacking in the evening. Other studies show that a high-protein breakfast decreases the release of ghrelin, the body’s “hunger hormone.”
A high-protein diet isn’t necessary: women only need 46 grams per day and men need 56. And too much protein can be dangerous to your health, especially if most of your protein is from animal sources. But, eating protein first thing in the morning is a great way to set yourself up for success each day.
3. Make vegetables the priority over starch
Many of us are in the habit of having a big piece of bread and just a small amount of vegetables with dinner. But if you switch these two around, you instantly have a meal with fewer calories, more fiber, and more vitamins.
Almost all vegetables are an excellent choice. So, if you don’t like cauliflower, don’t force yourself to eat it. Choose vegetables you enjoy to help make it easier. Load up your plate with vegetables first, filling up half the plate. Then, get some healthy protein such as beans, fish, or lentils. Grab only a small portion of rice, bread, or pasta if you have a little room left.
4. Don’t drink your calories
You already know that soda and juice are loaded with sugar and contain calories you simply don’t need. And don’t forget about sweetened coffee and tea drinks from the local coffee shop. All of these options are adding calories that won’t help you feel full.
Sugary drinks also interfere with your daily water intake — and water may help you lose weight. Switch to water with infused fresh fruit if you don’t like it plain. If you’re really craving a soda, limit your intake to one per day and work on breaking your soda habit.
5. Eat out less
Whether it’s lunch with co-workers or dinners out with friends or family, the calories we consume at restaurants can be significantly higher than what we eat at home. While it’s true that you can still watch your calories when dining out, it makes it more difficult. The pre-meal bread, larger portions, and social aspect of eating with others are a recipe for eating more.
When you eat at home, you can easily control factors like how much butter, oil, and salt to use and how much of your plate is filled with vegetables. You’ll know exactly what’s in your food and can control your portions easily.
Need help getting started with your weight loss goals? Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers offer personalized weight-loss plans with consistent, professional support to help you overcome your biggest health challenges. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation!
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on February 6, 2019