Lose Weight and Keep It Off With These 9 Expert-Recommended Daily Habits
You should never feel pressured to lose weight to look a certain way or because a season or holiday is coming up. But if you think weight loss will help you feel more confident or energised, POPSUGAR spoke to experts including registered dietitian and nutritionist Lonielle Freeman, RDN, who shared some simple things you can do every single day to work toward your goal. Keep in mind that weight-loss goals are individual and should always be based on health rather than a number on a scale. And you should always consult your doctor when starting a weight-loss journey, especially if you’re taking prescription medication. With that said, read on for the daily tips.
Honour Your Hunger and Fullness Cues
First and foremost, you must honour your hunger cues. If you don’t eat when you’re hungry, you won’t stop when you’re full, and the binge/restrict cycle will cause you to overeat. Registered dietitians Stephanie Clarke, RD, and Willow Jarosh, RD, of C&J Nutrition recommended in a previous interview to use the hunger scale.
Eat when you’re hungry (at about a three on the scale, which goes from one to 10) and then stop when you feel satisfied but not overly stuffed (about a six on the scale). This means you’ll listen to your body, and not the clock, to determine when to eat. It also means you may feel like leaving some food left over on your plate, or you might feel hungry after finishing and need to serve yourself some more. Remember, you’re not a robot, so your hunger level and the amount of food you eat will change from day to day. If you’re not sure what “full” should feel like, aim to feel energised, like you could take a walk or stand up and give a presentation.
Be Mindful of Calorie Density
By eating foods that are low in calorie density (have fewer calories per pound), you can fill your plate up without measuring your food or counting calories. And you can eat until you’re full, and lose weight without feeling hungry all the time.
The foods that are lowest in calorie density are veggies, fruits, starches like potatoes, corn, oatmeal, and other whole grains, and legumes. As you can see from this photo, 200 calories of grapes will fill up your stomach way more than 200 calories of almonds.
Eat Veggies at Every Meal
Since veggies are so low in calorie density and high in fiber, they’ll fill your stomach without a lot of calories. Aim to eat them at every meal, registered dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, author of The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook suggested in a previous interview – yes, even at breakfast! Try making this delicious “carrot cake” oatmeal. Or if you like your oatmeal as is, enjoy a side of steamed veggies or baby carrots alongside it. Sounds a little odd, I know, but soon you’ll start to crave veggies for breakfast!
Engage in Primary Foods
Therapist Kiki Attonito, MA, CAP, RYT, who has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and specialises in addiction, told POPSUGAR in a previous interview that primary foods are “the enriching aspects of life that nourish us on a soul level.” They’re the relationships, hobbies, places, and things that feed our happiness and enrich our lives and give it meaning.
Oftentimes we reach for food for a hit of dopamine, or in response to another emotion like sadness, boredom, or worry. If you’re not hungry, then food isn’t what you need. Engaging in primary foods like reading, listening to music or a podcast, spending time with friends and family, or doing art will fulfill that emotional need that you crave.
You can’t live on salads alone. While it’s important to eat non-starchy veggies to fill your belly, in order for the meal to feel satiating, you need carbs and protein. Also as Langevin said in a previous interview, make sure you’re eating enough food – you don’t need to go hungry all day in order to lose weight. Aim for whole foods since they’re lower in calories and higher in fibre than processed foods. If you’re nourished throughout the day, you’re less likely to overdo it on not-as-healthy foods.
Drink enough fluids for your body weight. Freeman said you should get at least as many ounces of water as you weigh in kilograms – more if you’re sweating during workouts or because it’s hot out. And feel free to enjoy a variety of naturally-flavored beverages like water with lemon or orange slices, hot teas, and carbonated water.
Practice Mindful Eating
Eating while watching TV or scrolling through social media can lead to overeating. So try to eat mindfully, without distractions.
Get in Daily Movement
Set a goal for physical activity that works within your lifestyle. You don’t have to do long, intense workouts every day! Getting in your 10,000 steps a day is perfect. NSCA-certified personal trainer Laura Arndt said in a previous interview that if you take a 30-minute brisk walk, it’s about 3,000 and 5,000 steps, depending on your speed and your gait. But don’t sit the remainder of the day. The goal is to achieve another 5,000 steps through everyday activity. If you make it a habit to walk once during the day and once after dinner, you’ll be able to get in your daily steps.