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 general place to start is getting 64 ounces per day.
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.
When you get tired you may notice you have more cravings. Craving foods that will give you a quick burst of energy is one way that the body tries to get more energy. If you’re struggling with cravings in the evening, it may be a signal that you just need to get to bed.
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.
It’s always going to be easier to eat healthfully when you prep your own food at home. However, sometimes it is fun to eat at a restaurant. My family and I generally eat out once a week. Sometimes I use that time as my weekly Joy Meal. But other times I want to make better choices and save my Joy Meal for another day.
If you have read my blogs you will know that I teach planning ahead as one of the key habits for staying on track with eating and losing weight. I recommend that when you are eating out you still plan ahead. Most restaurants have menus that you can access online to make your plan. I’ve prepared a Dining Out Guide that you can download with some tips for making better choices when eating out. I’ve included tips for most types of restaurants to help you keep on track with your goals! Grab your copy below.
Using a hunger scale is one of the basic habits that has helped me lose 49 pounds and keep it off. When I first started using it I had many “light bulb” moments that highlighted how often I was eating for reasons other than physical hunger. Using a hunger scale is an important component to shift from mindless eating to more mindful eating. There are many versions of the scale and you can customize one that works for you. I wrote previously about how to use a hunger scale for weight loss here.
In the post Mindful Eating: What It Is & Why You Should Try It by Alissa Rumsey, the author describes mindful eating this way:
Mindful eating is being conscious about what we are eating and why. It is about getting back in touch with the experience of eating and enjoying our food. What it is not: a diet. Eating mindfully does not place “good” or “bad” labels on foods. Instead, the goal is to base our meals and food choices on physical cues like hunger, rather than emotional triggers like stress or unhappiness.
The article gives tips for how using a hunger scale can help you practice mindful eating.
Get the full article for more detail on how to implement the practice and gain the benefits. If you want more information on the basic habits needed for successful weight loss you can get my free 7-day email course.
In the U.S. it’s estimated that we eat more than 60% processed foods. In the Medium article The United States Has an Epidemic of Processed Foods – And it’s Killing Us, author Manya Goldstein tells the story of how she was diagnosed with a chronic illness and how it led to her search for answers. Traditional medical care only provided partial answers and prescriptions to control symptoms. Until she sought a holistic practitioner she never considered that her food could be part of the problem.
Wait, what? Back up a second. Our food choices can’t really matter that much, I thought.
I mean, c’mon, it’s just food. And besides, I have a nervous system problem. The doctors gave me a diagnosis; they say its chronic. I’m just trying to control my symptoms a little better.
The article summarizes the problems associated with processed food and also tackles many of the issues with our current recommended nutritional guidelines. It’s a meaty article but I recommend you read her whole post. It’s chock full of great information.
Making better lifestyle choices can help prevent many chronic diseases. And those with chronic disease can improve and sometimes reverse their disease with lifestyle improvements such as avoiding processed foods. If you need help with making better choices with your food, get on the list to be notified when sign ups happen for our Upgrade Your Diet course.
Today I want to share with you 3 simple tips I learned from my coach Corinne Crabtree of Phit-n-Phat. Implementing these simple tips can help you break the habit of taking in extra unneeded calories throughout the day.
Sometimes we think weight loss is hard and takes drastic measures. There are so many small tweaks you can do that help you make changes you can keep for life. That way you can stop the cycle of dieting, failing and gaining the weight back.
Corinne calls these BLTs. If you start tracking it you will see just how often you lick the spoon while cooking, take bites while seasoning food, or finish off the last couple bites of your child’s plate. These are just extra calories that add up without you even realizing it.
Sit down when you eat. No eating while standing at the pantry, the counter, or the stove. No standing up and eating while working. Take the time and sit down. It gives you a mental break to evaluate if you are truly hungry or if you are just fog (mindless) eating.
Commit that you will leave 2 or 3 bites behind at every meal. This gets you comfortable with not automatically finishing everything on your plate. Many times you have reached satisfaction but you finish the meal because it’s there. Leaving bites behind can help you eat with more intention – you have to pay attention to how much you’re eating in order to leave the bites.
I was taught to clean my plate and not waste food. However the food is still wasted if I eat it and it ends up on my hips. Either way, eating food that my body doesn’t need or throwing out the food it is wasted.
Implementing these 3 simple tips can save hundreds of calories a day. This allows your body to access the body fat you have stored so that you can fuel your body and lose the weight.
Will you implement any of these tips this week?
Fuel foods provide your body with nutrients.
They give your body energy.
They sustain you.
Fresh foods that are less processed are great choices.
When you are planning what you will include in your nutrition plan look for foods that are less processed, full of nutrients, and provide you with energy instead of making you feel sluggish. Pay attention if what you eat makes you sleepy within a few hours. Look for foods that you can’t resist overeating and evaluate if there is a better choice.
Start adding more of these nutritious foods into your plan. Plan realistically and stick to your plan. Don’t make it complicated. As you go along you can level up your eating plan. As you learn which foods don’t make you feel your best you can begin to make better choices.
If there are foods that tend to cause you to overeat you can look at swapping it out for a better choice.
As you progress in your weight loss journey you can continue to level up your foods to more nutritious choices. As you do this you will notice that your taste buds will change to enjoy the healthier foods. You will have more energy and you will feel more satisfied.
Look at what you ate over the last week. Are there foods that you could swap out this next week to help you get to your weight loss goal?
This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more in this series click here for the main page with all the links.