The holiday season has come to an end and at the forefront of many of our minds is a plan to lose weight. After eating countless festive goodies and family favorites, the New Year has arrived, giving us the perfect excuse to recommit to balance and health. A key aspect to the wellness many of us are searching for are sustainable practices to lose weight.
Losing weight with a new diet is one of the most common resolutions following this holiday eating frenzy. While juice fasts and crash diets may offer short-term benefits, their weight-loss effects are fleeting.
We all know the truth as it pertains to weight: the only way to lose weight and keep it off is to change behavior long-term.
This year, why not work to create a new lifestyle where you eat cleaner, instead of going on a strict diet?
We’ve outlined seven sustainable eating habits that you can commit to while still enjoying life to its fullest. By concentrating on what you’re putting into your body, you can support optimal wellness from the inside out.
Habit #1: Eat More Whole Plant Foods
Adhering to any diet 100% is challenging. Plus, many diets make it hard to get out and enjoy restaurants, travel, and family meals. Rather than commit to a completely new style of eating, concentrate on eating more whole plant foods.
Whole plant foods are those that haven’t been heavily modified. They include fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. The more you eat, the more likely you are to feel energetic, look great and lose weight.
Not only are plant foods healthy, but they’re packed full of fiber, a nutrient that makes you feel full sooner. When you eat fiber-rich foods, you curb your appetite, helping you to lose weight and keep it off.
At every meal, and even between meals, concentrate on eating a variety of whole, plant-based foods. This could mean having a fruit-packed smoothie for breakfast, opting for brown rice over white rice at lunch, adding an extra side of veggies with dinner, or snacking on nuts during the day.
Habit #2: Say No to Fast Food
We’ve all been there. You’re tired, hungry, and just want something quick, easy, and satisfying. Rather than give in and stop by your favorite fast-food drive-thru, commit to making a healthier choice.
Fast food is dangerous on many levels. Not only are the majority of options void of valuable nutrients and packed full of unhealthy fats and sugars, but this food is designed to make us overeat. And the more calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods that you eat, the more likely you are to struggle with weight.
Fortunately, healthier options that are still speedy have begun to spring up across the United States. One of the most widespread options is Chipotle. You can opt for a salad bowl or brown rice, top it with your favorite meat or meat-substitute, and get some veggies in there with your favorite salsa, guac, and lettuce.
Other options that you might find in your area are Tokyo Joe’s, Panera Bread, or Corner Bakery Cafe. These are just a few of the many healthy and fast options that can easily replace fast food for you and those you love.
Habit #3: Healthy Snacks for Sustainable Weight Loss
You know those moments when you’re so hungry that you eat something you’ve sworn off? Maybe you’ve gone months without pizza, but in a moment of ravenous weakness, you give in at a work party.
The temptation comes when you’re hungry and something appealing is right there at the tip of your fingers. It’s pretty hard to say no when your deeply-ingrained evolutionary urges push you to do the opposite.
Unexpected temptations or long workdays can lead even the strongest among us to eat or drink something we want to avoid and send us backward in our efforts to lose weight. The trick is to always have healthy snacks that you enjoy near-at-hand.
Think about the times during which you give in to unhealthy food cravings. This might be at work, driving in your car, or when you’re walking around downtown with friends. Next, come up with some non-perishable goodies that you love and stow them away for times of need.
Some simple and healthy options that are easy to keep in your purse, car console, or desk drawer include:
- Cocoa dusted almonds
- Wasabi peas
- Salmon or chicken jerky
- Trail mix
- Banana or plantain chips
- Dried fruit (no sugar added)
- Seaweed snacks
- Nut butter packets
- Granola bars
- Dark chocolate (don’t keep in places that get hot!)
Habit #4: Drink More Tea
We’ve all heard the tip to drink more water to curb weight and support health. But let’s be real—water isn’t exactly the most exciting beverage. Few people are going to replace their favorite naughty drinks, like soda or sugar-laden juice, with a new water habit.
Fortunately, there’s a beverage that’s delicious and calorie-free: tea.
Not only does tea satisfy the urge to drink something unhealthy, but it does so while offering unique health benefits. These benefits include anti-aging effects and a faster metabolism.
There are countless varieties of aromatic teas that you can steep at home or in your office. From energizing teas like black tea, green tea, and Yerba Mate, to herbal teas like peppermint or chamomile, you can find teas for every mood and palette.
As most tea connoisseurs will share, once you get into tea, it’s nearly impossible to stop. There are quaint tea houses and tea shops with hundreds of options spread across the world for you to explore.
Habit #5: Be Intentional with Sugar
Most of us realize that we should eat less added sugar. Higher sugar intake is tied to weight gain and chronic illnesses. We are wired for the instant gratification of sugar but it can be one of the biggest defeaters of losing weight. The trouble is that sugar is hidden in copious quantities in fast foods and processed foods. Plus, it’s addictive, making it tough to give it up long-term.
While the best goal would be to nix added sugars entirely, that goal is a bit lofty for most of us. Instead, try these tips to reduce your sugar consumption:
- Limit Processed Food and Fast Food: When you go to the store and buy packaged foods, the chances are that they have a lot of added sugars within. Same thing with food from fast-food retailers. Dramatically reducing your intake of these foods will help you control your sugar consumption.
- Stop Drinking Sugar-Filled Drinks: Traditional soda, energy drinks, and even fruit juice contain upsetting quantities of added sugar. Instead, look for drinks that are sweetened with stevia or monk fruit sweetener.
- Read Food Labels: Whenever you buy a packaged item at the grocery store, give the food label a read. Reviewing labels helps you pinpoint which items have added sugars and which don’t. But be wary—added sugars go by many names, such as corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, anhydrous dextrose, and more.
- Make Your Food and Drinks: You can control what goes into the food and drinks that you make at home. By replacing packaged goods with homemade versions, like homemade marinara sauce or soda, you will almost surely consume less sugar.
- Use Stevia and Monk Fruit Sweetener: There are all-natural sugar alternatives that provide sweetness without the same detrimental health effects. Two of the best options for your health and waistline are stevia and monk fruit sweetener. Buy these for use at home or opt for store-bought goods sweetened with these, rather than sugar.
Habit #6: Include Supplements to Help Lose Weight
It can be tough to eat a completely balanced diet in this day and age. Even when you do, you may be lacking essential vitamins and minerals. Some supplements that promote health and can help you lose weight include:
- Vitamin D: Your body produces Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. If you aren’t getting much direct sunlight, supplement with vitamin D to support mood and energy levels.
- Green Powder: Green powders are jam-packed with the nutrients that many of us do not get enough of in our daily diets. A green powder can help your health in a multitude of ways.
- B-Complex Vitamin: B vitamins support metabolism and brain health. Vegans and vegetarians, in particular, are susceptible to B-vitamin deficiency. If you eat a plant-based diet, be sure to take a B-complex vitamin.
Habit #7: Incorporate CBD Oil and Weight-Loss Goals
CBD has quickly become one of the most popular wellness trends. People use CBD oil to support overall wellness, sometimes pairing CBD oil and weight-loss strategies to promote balance from the inside out.
To get the most from your CBD oil, combine CBD with your new, healthy diet. Try adding CBD oil to a fruit-filled smoothie or taking a CBD capsule with your daily supplements. By pairing two healthy habits together, you increase the likelihood that you will remember to do both! And the more healthy habits you have, the better you’re likely to look and feel.
This New Year, aim to make lifestyle changes that you can maintain throughout the year. Sustainable habits are the key to reaching your health goals, whether that’s losing weight or managing stress.