In last week’s blog post I wrote about the book Atomic Habits. Building better habits is a favorite topic of mine. Our repeated actions build our habits and our habits build the results we have in our lives. This week I want to talk about the basic habits I’ve implemented in my life to lose 50 pounds and keep it off. I’m continuing to use these habits to reach my goal of losing an additional 50 pounds.
The four basic habits are:
I started my weight loss journey by eating keto. But I really wanted to eat a bit less restrictively so that once I lost all the weight I could maintain a healthy weight for life. I wanted to lose it like I wanted to live it. Through the work of two of my mentors, Brooke Castillo and Corinne Crabtree, I have implemented these basic weight loss habits as the foundation of my nutrition plan. They are habits that I can and will maintain for life.
24 hour plan – This is such a powerful practice. The nice thing about it is that you can start where you are. It’s not a giant leap from the way you are eating today to a super-restrictive diet. Most of us have made that leap before. This is a practice that you can even start before you are willing to make any changes in your food. Once you establish the habit of making a daily, realistic plan and sticking to it, you can begin to level up your choices. To learn more about 24 hour planning you can read the full post here.
Hunger scale – This is a tool that can be implemented with your next meal. It simplifies the weight loss process so much. Instead of measuring portions and counting calories, you learn to listen to your own body. If you have been overeating for years it may take some time to tune into your body’s natural signals due to hormonal imbalances. But the practice can be so powerful all in itself. See a sample scale and learn more on the original post here.
Water – Adequate water intake is non-negotiable. Your body needs plenty of water for optimal functioning. There’s all sorts of conflicting information out there about how much water you need to drink. A great gauge to get started is to look at the color of your pee. A dark yellow or orange indicates that you are not getting enough. Look for a lighter color of yellow.
Sleep – Another requirement for weight loss is to get enough sleep. Read more here. Lack of sleep can affect your weight loss hormones and inhibit your ability to resist cravings or to recognize when you have had enough to eat.
I am planning a free 1-week challenge that will teach more about implementing these basic weight loss habits. I find that doing this in a group helps people learn and adds a layer of accountability. If you want to be sure to be notified when the challenge is announced, be sure to join my Nutrition Support and Encouragement group on Facebook. That is where the challenge will take place.
We sometimes fail to implement healthier habits because we bite off more than we can chew. We think if we just want to change bad enough we can get it done. We can muscle through with willpower and determination. But often, that method fails and we fall short of the finish line.
The book Atomic Habits by James Clear has been my favorite read so far this year. He describes atomic habits as tiny changes. Just a minuscule tweak in your daily systems that bring a 1% improvement. These little tweaks don’t seem to make a difference, but each tiny habit improvement builds on the next and over time your 1% gains turn into big wins.
This book breaks down the science of habit formation in an interesting way that makes you want to start implementing change. I have written before on one of my favorite books, The Compound Effect. Atomic habits are a great example of how tiny, incremental habits compound over time to create the results you want in your life.