Losing weight isn’t easy, but with the right habits in place, you’re more likely to be successful in your weight loss journey. Learn the top habits of people who lost weight and kept it off.
As much as we wish it wasn’t true—weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. Weight loss just isn’t as fast or as simple as we’d like it to be.
The reality is that weight gain happens over many months to years. So as a result, it’s going to make more than just a couple weeks of dieting to get back to your ideal weight.
Since it takes many months to years to lose weight and keep it off, we need strategies to stay with it for the long run.
The people who are most successful at losing weight and keeping it off develop lifestyle habits that support their journey and their health. They have strategies in place for when motivation wanes and when following a diet feels monotonous.
So what are the habits you can adopt to see the results you want on your weight loss journey?
Here are 10 habits of people who lost weight and kept it off:
Track your daily meals and count your calories
Many people believe they eat fewer calories than they really do. It’s easy to assume you ate a smaller portion than you really did. And it’s even easier to forget about some of the food you have throughout the day if you eat while busy and distracted.
By starting a food diary, you slow down and get the whole picture of your daily eating habits. Studies show that tracking calories and daily food intake is beneficial for weight loss. Many people who start the habit of tracking their meals and calories find it easier to stick to a new meal plan and lose more weight consistently.
2. Get a support network
Studies consistently find that regularly checking in a support network is one of the biggest assets for people who want to lose weight. The most effective form is by working with a weight-loss professional—a doctor or other specialist in helping people lose weight. But it’s also helpful to find social groups who have similar goals or who want to support you as you make big lifestyle changes to lose weight.
3. Don’t snack after dinner
Everyone loves a good late-night snack. But if weight loss is your goal, snacking in the evening can slow your progress. Many people who lose weight and keep it off by reducing the number of snacks they eat throughout the day, but especially after dinner.
4. Follow a meal schedule
Some who want to lose weight find it helpful to only eat at certain times. When the urge to snack strikes, having a schedule can prompt you to take a moment to slow down and think about if you’re really hungry or if you want a snack out of boredom or stress instead.
5. Eat foods you enjoy
This habit might sound counterintuitive, as many of us think of dieting as removing many of the foods we love in favor of healthy options.
You are more likely to stick to a diet long run if most of your diet consists of foods you look forward to eating. On the other hand, if you regularly feel like you’re forcing yourself to eat certain “healthy” foods, you are more likely to give up on the way to achieving your weight loss goal. Fortunately, you can lose weight while on a diet the fruits, veggies, proteins, and complex carbs that are your favorite to eat.
6. Prioritize sleep
One of the most important habits of people who lost weight is that they prioritize sleep. More and more studies find that sleep is one of the most important aspects of a weight loss plan. It turns out that poor sleep can increase your appetite and your calorie intake. With limited sleep, your body has a harder time regulating hormones that control hunger impulses. At the same time, you are more likely to crave high-calorie foods and have more time to eat them if you stay up late into the night.
You can increase your odds of successfully losing weight and keeping it off by developing healthy sleep habits. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is seven to nine hours per night.
7. Regularly do exercise you enjoy
There is no magic weight loss exercise that will help you lose weight overnight. But, if you make movement a regular part of your life, you’ll be amazed at not only how much weight you can lose in the long run, but also by how much better you’ll feel every day.
Health professionals cite a sedentary lifestyle as one of the primary causes of the obesity epidemic. When you exercise, you increase the calories you burn each day, improve your metabolism, and improve your sleep quality. All of these help you maintain a stable and healthy weight when you make it a lifestyle habit for the long run.
8. Homecooked meals > Takeout
Homecooked meals are typically a better option for weight loss than takeout. When you cook your own meals, you know exactly what goes into your meals. You can control how much butter, oil, and other ingredients go into your dishes so you can better count your calories. It’s also easier to control your portion sizes when you’re the one making the food.
But for many people, cooking is another daunting chore in an already busy schedule. If you find it difficult to find time to cook, one way around that is setting aside a couple of hours on Sunday to meal prep all of your meals for the week. This gives you the convenience of being able to easily grab one of your premade meals instead of reaching for your phone to order takeout instead.
9. Choose water over fruit juice or soda most of the time
Many people overlook how many calories they get from their drinks. Average calories for a serving of juice range from 110 to 150, and there’s even more in soda. To cut these often overlooked calories, many who have experienced weight loss success started to drink more water or calorie-free alternatives to fruit juice or soda. Depending on how many of these beverages you currently drink throughout the day, you can cut hundreds of calories just by opting to choose water as your beverage of choice.
10. Eat more frequent, smaller meals
If you’re someone who struggles with feeling hungry often during the day, it can help to break your meals up into smaller ones you eat throughout the day instead of at three traditional meal times.
To get the most out of your smaller meals, you’ll want them to be nutrient-dense and filling. Prioritizing snacks high-protein or high-fiber snacks like low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, nuts, fruits, and veggies, can help you satisfy those hunger cravings while keeping your calories under control.
An important reminder about developing healthy habits
Making a lifestyle change doesn’t look the same for everyone. Just because these are the habits people who lost weight and kept it off followed for the most part doesn’t mean there aren’t other helpful strategies out there. To lose weight you don’t have to follow every suggestion on this list. Most people are successful by finding the lifestyle that suits them and sticking with it long enough to see results.
The important thing is to develop the habits that work for you—the ones that make you feel good about yourself, the food you eat, and the activities you do. Although having frequent, smaller meals every day worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Instead, you may find it more helpful to have three or four meals a day. So if you try out new strategies as you work on building new lifestyle habits, remember to show yourself some grace if things don’t fall into place perfectly right away.
And remember that support makes a big difference.
We go beyond providing diet plans and supplements at Valley Medical Weight Loss. When you work with us to lose weight, you get regular check-ins with our doctors. They help you stick with your plan and overcome your biggest weight loss challenges every step of the way.
To get personal support on your weight loss journey and get a plan that will help you keep the weight off, visit your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss for a consultation today.