Some people make it look easy to lose weight, get fit, stay slim, and be healthy. It can be almost frustrating – how can it be so effortless for them, when you hate to work so hard at it? What’s their secret? It’s time to take away the mystery and reveal the healthy eating habits people follow to lose weight and keep it off.
1. Eat less fast food.
Why: Fast food restaurants are notorious for being unhealthy. Meals often include an entire day’s worth of sodium, not to mention unbelievable amounts of unhealthy fat and calories.
How: Pack snacks so you never get to the point of being so hungry you break down and head for the Golden Arches. If it’s a habit, start driving different routes home to avoid temptation. When you do eat out, skip the “meal” upsize and order water. For more tips, check out our guide to quitting the fast food habit.
2. Eat more fruits and veggies.
Why: Fresh produce is nutritionally dense, meaning you get a lot of vitamins and minerals for a small amount of calories. Plus, they are full of fiber, which is key to helping you feel full to curb your appetite.
How: Make it a rule to eat something fresh and preferably raw at each meal. Pre-cut veggies and keep them in snack-size Ziploc bags to make healthy snacking easy. Puree cauliflower and use it to thicken soups and make creamy potatoes.
3. Eat less sugar.
Why: Added sugar is a leading cause of obesity in America. The average recommended amount of sugar is between 6-9 teaspoons (depending on if you’re a man or woman), but the average American consumes 19 teaspoons of sugar per day. And don’t be fooled thinking zero-calorie sweeteners are any better; if anything, the potential health risks of artificial sweeteners are even worse!
How: If soda is a regular part of your diet, cutting that out immediately removes about 8 teaspoons of added sugar. Instead of a candy bar, enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate as a sweet treat. If you’re used to sugar in your coffee or tea, slowly start to wean yourself off it by decreasing the amount by 25% once a week over the course of a few weeks.
4. Choose healthy snacks.
Why: Small meals combined with healthy snacks is a healthy eating habit we all should embrace. Doing so keeps blood sugar levels even, and by keeping our stomachs more full, lowers the temptation to overeat at meals or make poor food choices because of hunger.
How: Always keep healthy snack options in your purse, car, desk, and house. Prep snacks for the week by pre-portioning “snack packs” of crackers and cheese, veggies and hummus, apples and peanut butter, or whatever your favorite combo is. To get healthy snack inspiration, look through our guide.
5. Drink more water.
Why: This is a two-for-one tip. First, just about any beverage other than water will be filled with too much sugar, caffeine, and calories. Replacing those drinks with plain water will immediately decrease your daily calories. Second, water is actually great for helping you lose weight by keeping you full and helping your digestion work properly.
How: Start by trying to replace other beverage choices with water. Choose one a week (soda week one, tea week two, etc.) until you’re happy with water most of the time. If you really have a hard time with plain water, try a healthy powder like 310 Lemonade to add flavor without adding unnecessary fillers.
6. Eat because you’re hungry.
Why: Eating can become a habit we turn to when we’re stressed, anxious, distracted, or bored. Unlearning these habits can be challenging, but mindless eating is one of the number one causes of overeating and weight gain.
How: Anytime you sit down to eat – whether a meal or a snack – pay attention to why. Make sure you’re actually hungry, and take the time to eat slowly and focus on the food you’re enjoying. When you do snack, don’t pull out the entire package, but instead give yourself a reasonable portion and stop after that.
7. Eat breakfast every day.
Why: It’s been proven to be the most important meal of the day. In fact, it’s one of the #1 ways to ensure you keep off any weight you lose over the long haul. Breakfast boosts your metabolism, and can help you lower your BMI.
How: Make it a conscious choice. If you’re too busy to prepare anything in the morning, get things ready the night before. Overnight oats, healthy muffins, yogurt, fruit, and protein shakes are all great – and easy! – options.
8. Plan to succeed.
Why: The old adage “failure to plan is planning to fail” holds true. How often do you make a poor food choice simply because you didn’t have anything else planned?
How: Make a weekly meal plan and follow it. When you’re going to eat out, look at menus ahead of time to choose your entrée before hunger pangs make a bad decision for you. If you’re going to a party where tempting finger-food will be served, fill up on healthy foods beforehand. A few easy adjustments, and you’ll be rocking a set of new healthy eating habits that will help you lose weight and ultimately keep it off!