Scientifically, it’s been proven that it takes 21 days of doing a particular action for it to become a habit. In that same light, failing to do that same action for 21 days can see you break from that habit.
Consistency is the most important factor in habits, as small changes eventually make a big difference. Nobody loses weight overnight, and it is a process that takes incremental changes in your lifestyle to lose weight. It is unrealistic to start making big changes in your lifestyle as, usually, your body struggles to adapt.
Often, to effectively lose weight, you need to make slight changes to your body intake and lifestyle.
Exercising is very necessary as it helps you keep your body in shape and burns calories. However, losing weight goes beyond exercise. There are other factors you will have to focus on to lose weight effectively.
If you’re embarking on a weight loss journey and want to do it well, here are five habits you must adopt.
Drink a lot of water
Water is life, and it comes as no surprise it leads this list. It plays a crucial role when it comes to weight loss.
An easy way to make huge strides in your weight loss journey is drinking about one or two glasses of water when you wake up in the morning.
Water helps your body to use more energy. According to research, once you take in water, the number of calories your body burns increases by at least 60 minutes.
A study revealed that drinking 500ml (1 small Belaqua bottle) of water increased the body’s metabolism rate by at least 30%. Metabolism can be defined as the chemical processes such as breathing, digesting food, repairing cells, etc., that help keep you alive. These chemical processes require energy, and when you drink water, your body uses more energy for these processes, which allows you to lose weight.
More research shows that overweight women who decided to increase the amount of water they took to over one liter per day lost an extra 2kg in weight over one year. This weight loss was recorded with the women not making any other changes to their lifestyle, workout routine, or diet.
The beauty of drinking lots of water during the day is that it comes with a psychological advantage.
Drinking water inadvertently reduces your appetite and, in effect, reduces the urge to overeat in some individuals.
Research conducted saw a reduction of food intake at breakfast by individuals who had drunk water. Twenty-four older adults were put together in this research, and they drank 500ml of water before breakfast. As a result, there was a 13% reduction in the number of calories consumed for breakfast by these adults. Many studies on this topic show that drinking between 1-2 liters of water in a day can help lose weight.
Essentially, drinking water is the minimum effort you can make to help your weight loss journey. Aside from losing weight, water helps with digestion, helps keep you hydrated, improves your energy levels, improves your hair, skin, and nails.
There must be a perception switch to adopting consuming it as a habit when it comes to water. You need to stop seeing water as a boring liquid you need to drink to survive and see it as a fluid that keeps you in shape and makes you feel good.
You are expected to drink at least 2.5 liters of water a day. It’s good to skip carbonated drinks, coffee, juices, fizzy drinks and replace them with just a glass of water instead. Doing this will help reduce the amount of sugar and calories you consume in a day.
Opting to drink lots of water initially won’t be easy and won’t come naturally to you, but you have to be deliberate. First, buy an attractive water bottle and try sipping every hour. With time, drinking water from it will only become natural to you.
Increase protein intake during breakfast
Health scientists refer to breakfast as the most important meal of the day. This is because it is supposed to set the tone for the day.
The nutrients gained from breakfast are supposed to retain energy lost during sleep and give enough energy to sustain you as you start the day.
If you don’t eat a proper breakfast, chances are you’ll be ordering lunch by mid-morning, which will only lead to eating more food during the day.
Once you include foods with high protein in your breakfast, your mid-morning cravings are cut, which helps with your weight loss cause.
A study saw 20 young girls eat breakfast that had more protein than they usually take. The result saw a massive reduction in the post-meal cravings.
More research also shows a correlation between breakfast with high protein and hunger, as the more protein you consume, the less hungry you’ll be.
Protein reduces the ghrelin levels in the body. Ghrelin is also known as the hunger hormone that ensures that the body has a craving for food. This is how protein aids in weight loss because you will only eat when you have to and won’t see yourself snacking in between meals.
Research that looked at 15 men revealed that there was significant suppression of the secretion of ghrelin when they consumed a lot of protein breakfast instead of when they didn’t.
Knowing this, you can now get your day to the perfect start by drinking some water and enjoying some protein-based meals for breakfast. Some protein meals to consider include waakye, beans, eggs, Greek yogurt, nuts, cheese, and chia seeds.
Moreover, it’s important to note that fasting and starving yourself deliberately won’t necessarily make you lose weight.
A notion echoes the fact that burning more calories than taking in means you are essentially losing weight. Although that line of thinking isn’t entirely wrong, more factors influence weight loss.
Usually, when people don’t eat enough during the day, they end up overeating late in the day, which isn’t healthy.
Most importantly, when you restrict your calorie intake, you slow down your metabolism. In turn, fat is rather stored in your body because there aren’t enough calories to use for chemical processes. As a result, your body conserves the calories instead of burning them, making you gain weight instead.
You should take in calories, but the type of calories should be of concern to keep your body active and burn calories instead of storing, eating fiber, healthy fats, and protein as much as possible. You’ll also need to cut down on carbohydrates and sugars.
It is key to know that you can lose more weight when you are full and not necessarily hungry when it comes to losing weight. What’s important is that you fill your stomach with healthy food which will keep your body busy.
Be accountable and check your weight
Accountability is a necessity in every success story. The same applies to every weight loss journey. Weight loss is a personal effort, and so you are the best person to hold yourself accountable.
One way to stay motivated and track progress is to use a weight scale. You get a good sense of work done and the work left to do every morning when you step on the scale.
Most people check their weight occasionally, but the aim is to do it every day and make it a habit.
There have been several studies that prove that checking your weight each day helps you lose weight.
One of these studies showed 47 people who checked their weight daily lost about 6 kg in 6 months, more than those who weighed themselves occasionally.
Another study also showed that adults who checked their weight every day lost 4.4 kg in two years, whereas those who checked their weight once a month gained 2.1 kg.
When you weigh yourself every morning, you have a psychological edge as it keeps your mind tuned in to your progress. In addition, you become more self-aware and conscious about the steps you take during the day because you remember your weight from the morning.
You’re more tempted to increase your calorie take and reduce your self-discipline when you have no idea your weight. On the other hand, research suggests you have better restraint and remain more disciplined in your weight loss journey when you check your weight frequently.
To get the best results, you need to check your weight first thing when you wake up. It has to be before you eat or drink anything to get a fair result.
Also, you have to keep in mind that you may see tiny changes in your weight daily due to a number of factors. Therefore, you need to look at the big picture and track overall weight loss or gain trends over a period, rather than just looking at daily changes.
Keep active physically
Cultivating the habits mentioned above is very important. However, it would be best if you didn’t neglect exercising.
Being physically active when you wake up also goes a long way to help you lose weight.
Exercising helps you burn calories and also keeps your sugar levels in check.
The key thing is to make small changes to your lifestyle and be consistent before you start seeing results regarding weight loss.
Your habits in the morning go a long way to help you lose weight, so eat well and be physically active while you check your weight.
Combine all these habits, including getting enough rest, and start losing weight in no time.
VanWormer, Jeffrey J et al. “Self-weighing frequency is associated with weight gain prevention over 2 years among working adults.” International journal of behavioral medicine vol. 19,3 (2012): 351-8. doi:10.1007/s12529-011-9178-1
Gomez, Ana Maria et al. “Effects of performing morning versus afternoon exercise on glycemic control and hypoglycemia frequency in type 1 diabetes patients on sensor-augmented insulin pump therapy.” Journal of diabetes science and technology vol. 9,3 (2015): 619-24. doi:10.1177/1932296814566233
Boschmann, Michael et al. “Water-induced thermogenesis.” The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism vol. 88,12 (2003): 6015-9. doi:10.1210/jc.2003-030780