Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight and unfortunately, there is no magic pill to melt unwanted pounds away. It’s a difficult process. If you have a weight loss goal in mind, there is no shortage of naysayers out there to drag you down and drain away your motivation. Not to mention all of the weight loss “experts” with their endless amounts of advice, that never seems to work anyway. Right?
Well, if you are trying to lose a few pounds or even if you have a larger weight loss goal, you aren’t alone. There are millions of people just like you working hard to lose weight or successfully keep up with their weight loss, right now.
No matter what your goal is, here are five everyday habits to help you get there:
Ignore the Calories (sometimes)
When it comes to weight loss, you have probably already been told that calories are your worst enemy. But what you may not have heard is that the old calories in/calories out equation isn’t all there is to a successful long-term weight loss. In fact, calorie counting is one of the most archaic ways to watch your weight – and it can really bum you out, too.
The fact is not all calories are created equal. So, if you eat a candy bar that has 400 calories, it is not the same as eating a balanced dinner that totals the same 400 calories. Why? Because the calories in the candy bar are mostly from sugar and processed trans-fats that can not only damage your waistline, but also your health.
A balanced meal, on the other hand, may total 400 calories, but those calories also include protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.
As a general note, always remember that 400 sugar calories are much harder to burn off on the treadmill than 400 calories from a steak, potatoes, and green beans. Not to mention that those sugar calories offer nothing that your body needs nutritionally.1
Ditch the Scale
Keep your eyes off of the number on your scale, and re-direct them towards your BMI. Also known as your Body Mass Index, this number is much more important than the number on the scale, and it’s a better reflection of your “weight.”
BMI is a measure of body fat percentage based on your height and weight, and it factors in muscle density, so don’t get confused by the number on the scale. Remember: muscle weighs more than fat, so during the first few weeks of your weight loss, you may see what seems like weight gain when you step on your scale. That number can be deceiving. After all, during workouts you are not just burning calories … you are also building muscle.
Don’t let the number on the scale fool you. Calculate your BMI with a professional at the gym, or here with this simple BMI calculator.
Get to Bed On Time
When most people set a weight loss goal, they start out strong. But after a few weeks, that motivation begins to fall away, and it can become difficult to keep going. Here is a little secret to successful weight loss you may not know: sleep speeds weight loss. It’s true!
It may be hard to believe that something so restful could be so helpful, but during sleep, your body isn’t just resting. It is also working hard to replenish lost stores of hormones needed to regulate your appetite, metabolism and even fat storage.2
Here are just 3 tips to help you get the rest your body needs to avoid food cravings, hunger, and unwanted fat storage:
Try Tea. A warm cup of tea has a way of calming anxious nerves before bedtime. Chamomile and valerian root are shown to be the most effective for lulling you to sleep.3,4
Spritz the Sheets. Essential oils are a great way to take you off to dreamland. Studies have shown that the aromatherapy of essential oils may help to reduce sleep disturbances, and improve overall sleep quality. Try the oils of lavender, basil, juniper, and sweet marjoram.5
Power Down. There are an estimated 30,000 cells inside of your eyes that are ultra-sensitive to (ultraviolet) UV light. Specifically, the blue light emitted by smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices has been shown to disrupt the circadian rhythm and alter your natural sleep pattern. At night, power off your smartphone and cover any device that emits blue (UV) light.6
Make a Friend. Rid yourself of naysayers by making a weight loss buddy! There is strength in numbers, and the good habits you create together can make a big difference in your success. Researchers have confirmed that the exercise habits of people you know can have a positive influence on your own exercise habits.7
And if you and your spouse both want to lose weight, you may already have the right person to buddy up with. A study conducted at Indiana University revealed that couples who worked out separately had a 43 percent dropout rate over the course of one year. Alternatively, couples who went to the gym together reported only a 6.3 dropout rate.8
Eat Up. When you are trying to lose weight, it can be difficult to stave off food cravings. Here are just seven of the most filling foods: boiled sweet potatoes, eggs, oatmeal, fish, soup, yogurt, and vegetables. Add them to your menu, today.
Long-term weight loss success takes a commitment and dedication to achieving your goal, every single day. And while there are many different paths to weight loss, not all of them will work for you. So, take your time and follow these five habits. Hopefully they can lead you down the path of lasting weight loss success!
For more cutting-edge weight loss tips, read on here:
1. Sayed Hossein Davoodi, Marjan Ajami. Calorie Shifting Diet Versus Calorie Restriction Diet: A Comparative Clinical Trial Study. Int J Prev Med. 2014 Apr; 5(4): 447–456.
2. Guglielmo Beccutia, Silvana Pannaina. Sleep and Obesity.
Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011 Jul; 14(4): 402–412.
3. Janmejai K Srivastava, Eswar Shankar. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Mol Med Report. 2010 Nov 1; 3(6): 895–901.
4. Leathwood PD, Chauffard F: Aqueous extract of valerian reduces latency to fall asleep in man. Planta Medica 2: 144-148, 1985.
5. Graham C. Complementary therapies: in the scent of a good night’s sleep. Nursing Standard. 1995;9.
6. David C. Holzman. What’s in a Color? The Unique Human Health Effects of Blue Light. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Jan; 118(1): A22–A27.
7. The influence of close others’ exercise habits and perceived social support on exercise. Psychology of Sport and Exercise 12(5):575-578. May 2011.
8. Wallace JP, Raglin JS. Twelve month adherence of adults who joined a fitness program with a spouse vs without a spouse. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1995 Sep;35(3):206-13.