Losing weight can be a challenging lifestyle choice, but it doesn’t have to be a process that you have to dread or suffer through to be successful. What it ultimately comes down to is building better, or simply different, habits that you can stick with long term in order to maintain your weight loss and prolong your health.
Based on my years of experience and coaching thousands of clients to not only weight loss, but weight maintenance, I’ve discovered ten key habits that my successful clients have adopted in the past. The craziest part? None of them mention calories! Nonetheless, as long as you adopt these habits 80% of the time while spending 20% of the time to indulge yourself in whatever way keeps you happy and fits your lifestyle, you can achieve successful weight loss:
1.) Plan what meals and recipes to make for the week. Do what works for your schedule, but I recommend doing this planning on Saturday. That way you’re all ready to go with your plan for the week by Monday. I recommend picking only about 3-4 recipes including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Keeping it simple makes the task of meal prepping less overwhelming, easier to shop for and simpler to cook.
2.) Make time to shop for your meals. Once you’ve got your recipes picked out, take that Sunday stroll to your supermarket to shop for your ingredients.
3.) Make time to cook your meals. This is what sours many people. They think they have to be Wolfgang Puck, slaving the week away in their kitchen, in order to meal prep properly. Not the case! Cooking meals in bulk that have multiple servings that you can just grab and heat throughout the week goes a long way and I have several cookbooks (and one upcoming) that can help you do just that.
4.) Eat every 3-4 hours and make sure your schedule allows for this. Eating every 3-4 hours helps to keep energy levels in check and control hunger so you aren’t emptying the fridge when you get home at 6pm, as we’ve written about in the past.
5.) Track your food. Tracking your food offers you an invaluable level of awareness around how much you’re eating. Many people don’t realize how much food they eat versus how much they should be eating until they start tracking. I happen to have a marvelous tool to do just that.
6.) Weigh and measure your food. When going for weight loss, it’s important to make sure you’re keeping your calorie deficit. You don’t have to get obsessive about this, but weighing and measuring how much you are serving yourself is pretty much the only way to both track your food efficiently and be sure you’re eating enough, but not too much.
7.) Start a day with good breakfast within 90 minutes of waking. Another subject we’ve written about before as it’s quite controversial. However, in my experience, I’ve found that my successful clients eat a good breakfast as breakfast drives your entire day by jump-starting your metabolism, keeping you full until lunchtime and preventing you from overeating later in the day.
8.) Are you hydrating? Many people aren’t aware that we confuse our thirst for hunger more often than we realize. Thus, staying hydrated can keep those afternoon munchies from creeping in where they aren’t needed.
9.) Are you sleeping enough? Studies have shown that not enough sleep can have a negative impact on your weight. So, making sure to get at least 7-8 consecutive hours of sleep each night is a good goal to have to keep your weight loss on track.
10.) Are you exercising? No. Exercise isn’t the primary driver of weight loss, despite what you may have heard. After all, you can’t out-exercise a poor diet. However, exercise can still contribute to the calorie deficit you need to lose weight and is also a powerful tool at helping you to maintain the weight that you lose.