How Healthy Habits Are The Most Important Part of Weight Loss
Your habits will make or break your weight loss plans. To achieve your fitness goals, develop and maintain a series of healthy habits.
The Power of Habits
Everyone has habits, whether good or bad. The thing about habits is that you don’t have to think about them, but do them automatically. There’s no decision-making required.
Habits are comprised of a three-step process:
The cue: This is the signal to your brain that the following behavior can be performed automatically.
The behavior: This is what you do. It’s the action that we think of as the habit.
The reward: This is the satisfaction that comes from performing the habit action, and it reinforces the idea that the habit is worthwhile.
If your goal is to be physically fit, you must arrange your life in a way that makes healthy choices easy because they have become automatic part of your day.
Breaking Old Habits
The sooner in life you start healthy habits, the better, but you may already be in a pattern of unhealthy habits. Fortunately, these can be broken. Environmental cues have a tendency to trigger habitual behavior, so changing your environment helps break negative habits.
In fact, experts recommend changing habits while you’re away from home, such as on a vacation. Of course, it’s tempting to let yourself go wild on vacation, but if a healthy lifestyle is your goal, consider using away time as an opportunity for fostering healthier choices.
Taking a vacation just to change your eating habits might not be realistic for everyone, but there are other ways to rearrange your environment to help you make lifestyle changes. Get rid of the unhealthy food in your cabinet and replace it with better choices. Move your television out of the living room, so you can’t snack on the couch while zoning out in front of a show. Put a treadmill in a well-trafficked area of the house, so you see it regularly.
Healthy Habits to Adopt
Give these healthy habits a try, and watch as the pounds start to come off.
Exercise: Watching what you eat will help you shed pounds, but physical activity really ups the amount you can lose. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day, five or six days a week.
Stay hydrated: Your body needs plenty of water in order to function properly. A well-known guideline is to drink about eight cups of water a day, but as your activity levels go up, so do your water needs. For each calorie you burn during the day, you need to drink about one milliliter of water. Also, remember to drink two cups of water about half an hour before a workout.
Eat breakfast: A healthy start sets up the rest of the day for success. When your morning begins with a well-balanced breakfast, you will be less tempted to fill up on junk later in the day.
Choose whole foods: Whole foods are natural, rather than processed, and they fill you up without a calorie overload. For the most part, choose foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains at least 80 percent of the time, and save the other stuff for an occasional treat.
Get good rest: Research shows that both the amount of sleep you get and also the schedule on which you get it have the power to significantly affect your weight. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, adults should get between 6.5 and 8.5 hours of sleep each night and wake up at the same time each day.