7 Habits That Can Help You Lose Weight

Paige Smith
by Paige Smith
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7 Habits That Can Help You Lose Weight

Losing weight is not easy. It requires a near super-human level of commitment and dedication. But you don’t need to completely overhaul your eating and exercise habits to get results. You can shed pounds effectively by making a few low-effort, high-impact changes. “I’m a huge believer in meeting people where they are when it comes to weight loss,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, registered dietitian and founder of NutritionStarringYOU.com.

Here, seven simple changes that can help you reach your wellness goals:



Instead of eating a sugary breakfast or skipping your morning meal entirely, eat something with at least 20 grams of protein, Harris-Pincus says. A low-glycemic, protein-packed breakfast doesn’t just help keep you full, it can also increase your energy levels, according to a study from the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology Journal.

“Research shows that [eating more protein] can help prevent muscle loss as we age,” she adds, “which supports our metabolism.”



All exercise requires effort, but there are some workouts that can help you accomplish more in a short amount of time. Research shows high-intensity exercise (short bouts of max-effort intervals), for instance, burns more calories than steady-state exercise performed for the same amount of time.

Rachel Mariotti, a certified strength and conditioning coach, says examples of good high-intensity workouts include short running intervals, hill repeats and strength circuits that involve exercises like squats, kettlebell swings, plyometrics and pushups.

You can use your heart rate to determine how much effort you’re putting forth, Mariotti says. For a high-intensity workout, you’ll want to be at 70–80% of your maximum heart rate, which you can calculate by subtracting your age from 220.



Weight loss isn’t just about what you eat — it’s also about when you consume your calories. Eating in alignment with your circadian rhythm, Harris-Pincus says, may help with weight loss. “That means eating breakfast — I say within 2 hours of waking — and stopping your food intake several hours before bed,” she says.

Establishing a meal schedule ensures you stay fueled throughout the day, while helping prevent late-night snacking.



“Our bodies often confuse hunger, thirst and fatigue,” says Harris-Pincus. Instead of tearing into a bag of tortilla chips when you get the urge to snack, try drinking a glass of water first.

Quenching your thirst can help you avoid overeating. In one study, overweight people who drank two glasses of water before their meals every day for three months lost an average of 2.6 more pounds than people who didn’t hydrate prior to eating.

To stay hydrated throughout the day, carry a reusable water bottle with you or set a timer every hour as a reminder to consume a glass.



“Something low-impact that you can do every day is to walk 30 minutes at a fast pace,” Mariotti says. Think: Walk at the pace you use when you’re rushing through an airport terminal to make your flight.

Try turning your work commute into walking time or breaking your walk into smaller chunks after your meals. In one study, Type 2 diabetes patients who walked after each of their three meals experienced greater weight loss than participants who exercised once a day for the same amount of time.



Like protein, fiber is another nutrient that can help promote satiety. Harris-Pincus says women should try to consume 25 grams of fiber per day, and men should aim for 35 grams.

To get enough, she suggests adding chia seeds and ground flaxseeds to your yogurt, smoothies and salads. This keeps you full longer, she says. Other good fiber-rich snacks include edamame, almonds and avocado.



Changing the way you load your plate can help you fuel up on healthier foods, score more nutrients and prevent overeating. “Aim for half your food volume at each meal to come from fruits and veggies,” says Harris-Pincus. “By increasing the amount of non-starchy veggies you eat, you will likely not have room for larger portions of meat and starch.”

The rest of your plate should be 1/4 protein (20–30 grams), she says, and 1/4 carbs. “Don’t be afraid of good carbs — we need them for energy, fiber and the many essential nutrients they contain,” says Harris-Pincus. Try to stick to whole grains, she advises. Foods like quinoa, whole-wheat bread and brown rice have more nutrients than their refined counterparts, and may help regulate your blood sugar better, which can prevent appetite swings.

About the Author

Paige Smith
Paige Smith

Paige is a freelance health and lifestyle writer, editor and perpetual optimist from Southern California. When she’s not crafting stories, she loves to read, travel and get sandy. See more of her at paigeashleysmith.com.


4 responses to “7 Habits That Can Help You Lose Weight”

  1. Weight loss is in trend in recent times. Everybody wants a flat and slim tummy. But losing extra pounds is not so easy. It is true that if you are looking to lose your extra pounds then you have to be dedicated towards your fitness goal and strictly follow your diet chart and essential weight loss strategies to get your desired result.

  2. Avatar geo2209 says:

    For those with digestive issues like colitis and IBS, you shouldn’t be recommending anything with lectin (whole wheat, any seeds, any nightshades) in it. Chia and beans can be eaten but only after pressure cooking the lectin out for at least in the 30-60min range depending on size of the batch.

  3. Avatar Crystal Golias says:

    I want to add to that, geo2209. Thyroid problems can also make you gain weight. So, if you’re overweight, but you also feel tired, cold, constipated, bloated, hoarse voice, lack of energy; I could go on, but I won’t. This was the way i felt when I was diagnosed hypothyroid. National Academy of Hypothyroidism has a comprehensive list of symptoms on their website. If you find you have a number of symptoms on their checklist, you should ask for a referral to an endocrinologist for further thyroid testing. This could be the reason you’re not losing weight.

  4. Avatar Rick Yount says:

    For us type 2 diabetics (or pre-diabetics), grains (along with refined sugar) are a no-no. A simple blood glucose stick test will show the impact of whole wheat (the worst) or any grain (even “ancient grains,” quinoa, or spelt) on blood sugar. One slice of whole wheat toast will spike blood sugar more than a teaspoon of sugar — and high blood sugar over time results in metabolic issues, along with insulin and leptin resistance. Don’t take my word for it. Test it yourself. And then eat foods that do not spike blood sugar — generally high healthy fats, moderate protein, and low carbs (veggies). The goal is to have blood sugarr levels return to pre-eating levels within an hour.

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