11 Simple Habits That Helped Me Lose 50 Pounds in 6 Months

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Quite frankly adopting a super-strict diet or spending every waking moment at the gym is not the only way to lose weight. Luckily, healthysustainable weight loss is best achieved through small changes to your existing lifestyle. Yes, losing weight will take effort, perseverance, self-reflection, and most importantly – a change of habit. 

Establishing healthy habits is the key to victory in the weight loss journey. When you have the “good” habits and motivation, you WILL force yourself  to eat that vegetable you absolutely hate. When you have the “bad” habits, you will most likely stick to the couch and watch Netflix while snacking.

For a very long time, I didn’t want to work on my fitness goals, I didn’t have the courage, I was scared of failing and chose to stay the way I was, without wanting to look inward at myself. So I continued to live an unhealthy lifestyle and because I didn’t want to do those things, weight loss took a few more years than it should have.

I eventually realized that the reason I wasn’t able to lose weight was because I wasn’t willing to change or even work towards improving some of my daily habits. It wasn’t until I paused and did some self–reflection that I was able to identify which of my daily habits I needed to change in order to achieve my goals. When I decided to do whatever it takes to change those habits, that was when I was able to achieve my goal of losing 50 pounds.

Here are the 11 simple changes that I made in my daily life to lose 50 pounds and have kept it off since then.

1. Set small realistic goals.

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Getting into a new exercise routine can be fun, but it can quickly get frustrating if you’re struggling to reach your goals. Especially  If you have 50 or 80 or 100 pounds to lose, you may feel the goal is too far away. But instead of throwing in the towel, you might want to try readjusting your ambitions by setting smaller goals instead. 

For myself I had set a goal to lose 5 pounds, and I had also decided to celebrate it in a non-food way. The day I achieved that goal, I bought a dress online in order to celebrate and  the same evening I set another and then another goal.

As you set and reach your short-term realistic goals, you will feel and see you are making progress toward your ultimate goal, which will motivate you to stick with your plan. As you reach your small, realistic goals, you will gain more confidence in your ability to reach goals in general.

You can also set small goals that apply to a day, a meal or even a workout. Set a goal to have a high protein breakfast with veggies, or do an extra burpee or two at home. How about pushing yourself harder and jogging a few extra metres or a 2 minute plank. Remember – Each goal you achieve is one step closer to a healthier lifestyle.

2. Log your food/drinks calories in a Food Diary.

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What gets measured gets improved.

A food diary is a log of what you consume each day. It can help you make changes to your diet and lose weight. You can use it to improve your health by tracking what you eat and drink. 

 It can help you understand your eating habits and patterns, and help you identify the foods — good and not-so-good — you eat on a regular basis. Research shows that for people interested in losing weight, keeping a journal can be a very effective tool to help change behavior. 

I maintained my food diary on myfitnesspal app, (I used the free version) and made a note of what I ate, how much I ate, calories consumed etc. for 186 days straight.

In order to succeed, your diary needs to tell the truth. The diary makes you accountable and you don’t gain anything by cheating to look good.

When keeping a food diary, some basic rules to remember are:

Write everything down. Keep your diary with you all day. Write down everything you eat and drink, no matter how small it seems. Whether it’s a piece of candy, soda, or a hearty meal, the calories all add up.

Write it now. Don’t rely on your memory at the end of the day. Record details of what you eat as you go.

Be specific with details. Record your food exactly how you eat it. If you have fried chicken strips, don’t just say chicken. Make sure you also include the extras. This could be gravy on your meat or dressing on your salad.

Estimate quantities. If you have a piece of cake, estimate the size and enter it into the diary. If you have vegetables, record how much you eat – ½ cup, ¾ cup, 1 cup.

3. Learn delayed gratification.

Some call it willpower—the ability to delay an immediate reward in favor of a bigger future reward, for example, having a slimmer body in a few months versus the hot fudge sundae –  now.

What will you do if at a friend’s party you encounter platters of delicious and tempting foods when you are trying to lose weight? If you give in and fill up your plate with fattening foods, it might derail your diet, but you will get to enjoy a bit of instant gratification.

If you manage to resist and spend the evening eating salad and munching on carrot sticks, then you will presumably receive an even greater reward down the line—shedding those unwanted pounds and being able to fit into your favorite pair of jeans.

Choosing a long-term reward over immediate gratification poses a major challenge in many areas of life. From avoiding a slice of cake when we are trying to lose weight, or munching on celery sticks, the ability to delay gratification can mean the difference between achieving our goals or not.

So can you train yourself to delay gratification?

Oh yes you can!

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From my own personal experience on my weight loss journey, I’ve seen it to be possible.

I wasn’t very good at delaying gratification, saying no to the chocolate cake and ice cream in my early 20’s wasn’t possible. 

But gradually, I got better & better at it. The more I practised, the better I got.

I wasn’t really aware at the time I was doing it, but in the attempt to eat better & get in shape, I was effectively practising delaying gratification.

This ability to delay gratification or exhibit self-control is an important skill to have for eating healthy & being able to lose weight successfully. Like any skill, you can’t expect to be good at it straight away. And you can’t expect to be good at it without practice.

4. Eat high-protein breakfast.

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What you eat for breakfast can set the course for your entire day. It determines if you’ll feel full and satisfied until lunch, or if you’ll be heading to the kitchen/vending machine before your mid-morning snack.

Skipping the first meal of the day is a major nutrition no-no. Eating a balanced breakfast has been shown to improve energy and concentration, kickstart your metabolism, and actually help you eat less over the course of the day.

Eating a high-protein breakfast may help cut cravings and aid in weight loss. In fact, adding more protein to your diet is the easiest and most effective way to lose weight.

A recent study showed that protein can help curb your appetite and keep you from overeating. Another small study showed that eating a high-protein breakfast was associated with less fat gain and reduced daily intake and hunger, compared to a normal-protein breakfast.

Eating at least 30 grams of protein at breakfast can help you feel satisfied and less hungry later in the day. This is because protein takes longer to digest than traditional carbohydrate-heavy breakfast foods like cereals, muffins or breads. And the longer it takes to digest, the less hungry you’ll feel and the more satiated you feel, the more likely you are to make healthier and smarter food decisions throughout the day.

To help get your day off to a good start, consider protein sources like eggs, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, salmon, peanut butter, nuts and chia seeds.

5. Cut down on refined sugar, opt for natural.

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Added sugars are added calories without nutrition, so it adds energy to your overall diet without really increasing the diet quality and adding inches to your waistline.

Consuming a diet high in added sugars, such as those found in sweetened beverages, candy, baked goods, and sugary cereals, is a contributing factor in weight gain and chronic health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

It’s important to create a sugar strategy when trying to lose weight. Sugar can be a part of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not an everyday food. I suggest consuming foods that are naturally sweet, like fruit, honey etc.) to get your sweet fix. 

Unlike whole grains that have fiber, which takes up more space in the stomach and takes longer to digest, refined grains are broken down more easily and don’t stave off hunger as long, which can lead to eating more and weight gain.

Sugar like drugs makes you feel good! Once you get used to eating highly sweetened foods, your taste buds adjust, and then you want more of it to get the same amount of enjoyment that you got with little sugar.

6. Reduce or completely eliminate alcohol

Giving up alcohol tops the list of things to consider when trying to drop some pounds. While eliminating alcohol is not the only step you can take, it is one small change that may help accelerate your progress.
There are dozens of good reasons to reduce your booze intake. Doing so can improve your health, your relationships, and your level of productivity. And yes, you reducing alcohol can help you lose weight.
I was an occasional red wine with dinner kind of girl so I decided to give it up completely at least for my weight loss journey. Even now I only have a glass of wine occasionally.
Even if you are a moderate drinker, the calories you consume from alcohol can impact your weight and hinder your attempts at weight loss. Depending on what you drink, those drinks can add up to 1200 calories or more per week.
A 16-ounce bottle of beer has 206 calories, and a glass of wine has 153 calories. If you are into cocktails, a regular-sized rum and cola will add approximately 175 calories and a White Russian, which contains vodka, coffee liqueur and heavy whipping cream, will add over 325 calories to your daily totals. Moreover, it’s not just the calories from alcohol that are bad for your waistline. It’s also the plate of nachos and other snacks or extra slices of pizza that pile on the pounds.
Alcoholic beverages are high in calories and provide little nutritional value. Some also contain added sugars, which further increase their calorie count. Beer, wine and spirits are the lowest in calories and carbs. If you’re trying to drop pounds, stick to small servings of light beer or red wine.

7. Drink only water - At least a gallon, no soda or sugary drinks.

Drinking water helps boost your metabolism, cleanse your body of waste, and acts as an appetite suppressant. Also, drinking more water helps your body to stop retaining water, leading you to drop those extra pounds of water weight.

Many studies support the theory that drinking water is beneficial for weight loss. Also, hydration is key for many factors that play a role in weight loss, including digestion and muscle function.

It is easy to accumulate liquid calories by drinking soda, juice, or sweetened coffee or tea.

Ditch the sodas and replace them with water to help you lose weight. Add a slice of lemon if you find plain water to be boring. 

Replacing even a few high-calorie drinks each day for water or other no-calorie beverages, such as green tea, may have long-term weight loss benefits.

I made it a point to drink at least a gallon of water each day, I even carried my water bottle wherever I went and logged in water entries in my food diary.

Water is a natural appetite suppressor as it takes up space in the stomach, leading to a feeling of fullness and reducing hunger.

Water also helps in burning calories. It may also temporarily increase the body’s resting calorie expenditure, or the number of calories burned while resting. Water also helps the kidneys to filter toxins and waste while the organ retains essential nutrients and electrolytes. When the body is deprived of water, the kidneys begin to retain fluid.

8. Exercise 4 times a week

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To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume.

Exercising regularly for 4-5 times a week can help you achieve this by burning off some extra calories.

Exercise pays off in the long run by keeping those pounds off. Research shows that regular physical activity will increase your chances of maintaining weight loss.

When on a diet you cut back on calories, your body is forced to find other sources of fuel. Unfortunately, this means burning muscle protein along with your fat stores.

Including an exercise plan alongside your diet can reduce the amount of muscle you lose.

This is also important because muscle is more metabolically active than fat. That means more muscles in your body = more calories burnt to maintain the muscle mass.

Start with just a few minutes of exercise at a time. Any exercise is better than none, and that helps your body slowly get used to being active. You may read No-Equipment Beginner’s Workout For Weight Loss to start with.

Your goal should be to work up to at least a half an hour most days of the week to get the full benefits from exercise.

Once you’re in better shape, you can gradually exercise for longer periods of time and do more strenuous activities.

9. Mostly eat home-cooked food.

skinnyfitdiva, weight loss

Spending time in the kitchen helps you eat less junk. If you want to drop pounds – Ditch the drive-thru and start cooking at home.

It’s been found that people who eat more home-cooked meals partake in healthier food prep methods, eat a larger variety of foods, and eat less convenience foods, which are typically higher in calories and packed with excess sugar. What’s more, people who cooked at home more frequently also ate more fruits and vegetables daily than people who ate less than three home-cooked meals per week.

Home-cooked food has quality ingredients, which means they are virtually devoid of trans-fats and artificial sugars and enhancers. Home-cooked food is simple and lighter.

The bottom line is that eating at home is healthier for you because it gives you so much more control. You know exactly how much salt or fat or sugar is going into your dish; you also have the power to swap ingredients in (and out) to fit your nutritional and caloric goals.

10. Smaller plates and Portion control

Moderation in the portions of food that you eat is an important factor in your weight loss journey. . By slowly reducing the size of your meals, you can trim your waistline without disrupting your life. This isn’t like a crash diet that you can never stick to, – It’s a lasting improvement in your eating habits.

To get used to smaller portions of food, I purchased smaller plates so it never felt like I was denying food to myself.

Try to fit each meal into one to two fist sizes, and keep protein such as meat the size of your palm.

If seeing two fists of food makes you wonder “Where’s the rest?!”, the key is to fill up your plate with vegetables, which are low in calories.

Try to load your plate half full of vegetables or salad – an ideal plate is a quarter carbs, a quarter protein and half salad or vegetables.

11. Never give up.

This journey is going to be a tough one, which will force you out of your comfort zone.  There are going to be days when you would want to give up because its getting difficult to make sacrifices consistently. That is when you have to push yourself to keep going further.

Many people start the weight loss journey with enthusiasm and energy. They want a healthier weight, so they alter eating habits, start exercising, and change their lives in significant ways. What happens when the journey is longer than expected? Or the goal seems to be moving away more quickly than you can move toward it? You may be tempted to leave the path you’ve started, but if you are motivated enough, you should be able to work through the difficult moments.

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