Creating Healthy Habits

Healthy Habits

When it comes to healthy eating and lifestyle, it’s the little things that can really add up to make a big difference. Think “diet” and you might assume it requires a radical revamp of your life or misery-inducing restrictions. But when it comes to lasting weight loss, research shows you’re better off making small, consistent changes rather than aiming for a major diet or lifestyle overhaul. The key is that the changes are practical and sustainable so that you can permanently adopt them into your everyday life. In one study, people who made tiny adjustments to their eating habits were able to stick to their new routines—and had more success slimming down compared to those who didn’t incorporate the tips. To help shed pounds, without making any huge changes, try some of these easy habits for weight-loss and healthy living success.

Eat Slowly
Set Yourself Up for Success With This Habit:

  • Take small bites and chew your food thoroughly.
  • Take time to recognize and enjoy the sight, smell, flavor, and texture of your food.
  • Set your fork down in between bites, drink water, and chat with your meal companion.

Set a timer on your phone for 20 minutes (for a meal) and 10 minutes (for a snack) and consciously watch the timer as you eat your meal to help you realize how long you should take to eat your food.

  • Taking smaller bites and chewing your food thoroughly improves digestion and absorption of nutrients
  • Eating more slowly allows you to recognize your fullness cues more accurately so you don’t overeat, feel bloated, or consume more calories than your body needs
  • Eating slowly allows you to more fully experience the food that you’re eating, leading to more satisfaction and less “mindless munching”

Benefits of eating more slowly:

Set yourself up for success with this habit:

  • Serve appropriately sized portions on your plate. Sometimes our portions need a bit of adjusting, but we don’t realize it because we were taught to clean our plates and not waste food.
  • Continue taking your time while you eat. Practice self-awareness by setting your fork down between bites, enjoying conversation, or taking a sip of water. Check in to see how satisfied you’re feeling.
  • Try leaving a few bites on your plate and see how you feel afterward. 

Eat Until 80% Full

  • Eating to 80% full builds on eating slowly, allowing you to develop self-awareness so you can tune into how full and satisfied you are.
  • This reduces overeating and feeling bloated or overly full. It also prevents you from consuming more calories than your body needs.
  • Improved digestion! By eating slowly and paying close attention to fullness cues, it is easier on your digestive system to break down and absorb nutrients.

Benefits of eating more slowly: 

Set yourself up for success with this habit:

  • Purchase a water bottle (glass or BPA free) to keep near you throughout the day. Having a visual cue often reminds us that we need to drink!
  • Drink enough that you’re using the restroom every couple hours. This also ensures that you’re getting up and moving throughout the day!
  • Often we confuse hunger signals with slight dehydration. If you’re feeling “hungry” but you recently ate, try having a glass of water first to ensure that you’re not just dehydrated.
  • Water makes up about 60% of our body weight! It is important for chemical processes to occur as they should, regulates body temperature, cushions our internal organs and joints, transports nutrients and much more
  • Exercise increases your fluid losses, making it even more important that you hydrate throughout the day.
  • Drinking enough water ensures that you’re flushing out additional waste products produced by bodily processes.

Drink ½ Your Body Weight in Ounces of Water Daily

Set yourself up for success with this habit:

  • Soften/dim the lights in your home, and turn off light-emitting electronics (TV, phone, computer, e-readers) at least one hour before bedtime. Artificial light— particularly “blue light” from electronics— alters melatonin production, making it significantly harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Make sure your bedroom is very dark by covering all the lights and electronics and keep the room temperature cool.
  • Create a bedtime ritual to help you wind down and prepare for sleep. This could be reading from a book, relaxing in an aromatherapy bath, or writing in a journal HABIT TRACKER 
  • Better control over hunger and cravings. Sleep quantity and quality affect ghrelin and leptin (essentially our hunger hormones), for better or for worse. When you are sleep-deprived, you find yourself feeling hungrier, more impulsive, and craving high carb foods.
  • Improved performance and recovery. Consistently being well rested improves energy, cognitive function, enables you to train harder, and improves your mood. It also helps your body properly recover.
  • Healthy hormones. Lack of sleep is associated with higher cortisol and insulin resistance. Both play a huge role in maintaining a healthy weight.

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