Six Simple Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss

By Dianne Villano

Are you frustrated over losing the same weight over and over, and feeling like a failure because your latest diet didn't work? If so, these proven techniques will help you create effective habits that will result in lifelong weight loss.

1. Keep a food diary

For the next week, keep a pen and paper handy and write down everything you eat - how much, where and when you ate it, and who you ate with. Try to record this information as you are eating or immediately afterwards. Most people find that when they try to remember everything they ate at the end of the day, they leave something out.

Be honest with yourself. You don't need to show anyone the results, but if you're like most people, you will probably be surprised when you review your food journal. Certain environments and people can trigger negative eating behaviors that are readily apparent when you use a food log. For a free fitness journal/food log, click here: free fitness journal/food log.

2. Don't eat too little

Low calorie diets will help you lose weight in the short term, but they are extremely difficult to maintain in the long term. You'll gradually become tired and irritable, lack the energy to exercise, and people won't want to eat with you because the long list of 'taboo' foods renders restaurant menus, and even family meals at home, unsuitable for your overly strict diet.

3. Neither feast nor fast

You've heard before, and I'll say it again - breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Studies show that people who skip breakfast eat more total calories throughout the day and tend to make less healthy choices. Research also shows that most obese people skip breakfast.

Try to eat at least 3 meals a day. Optimally you should spread your calories throughout 6 small meals per day. This will keep your metabolism burning effectively; it will also keep your blood sugar levels balanced, which helps prevent binging.

4. Freshness Counts

The packaging and processing of "convenience" foods generally reduces the nutrient values and substantially raises the caloric content. National dietary associations recommend eating at least 3 to 5 servings from the fruit and vegetable group per day.

No time to prepare home made meals? Try preparing in bulk on the weekends to make healthy choices readily available. Cut up a large bowl of fresh fruit (1c = 1 serving) or pre-make a large bowl of salad or cut veggies. I usually prepare one week's supply of chicken or pork so I can quickly reheat the meat and add to any recipe.

5. Hydrate your way to quicker weight loss

Drink lots of water, and avoid over-consumption of coffee, tea, or soft drinks. Including the 'hidden' water we consume in food, we need 64 ounces of water per day. More is recommended to counteract the dehydration caused by caffeinated beverages and intense exercise or excessive heat.

6. Eat less, exercise more

One of the greatest benefits of food diaries is they show where you can cut excess calories. Many people eat out of habit, or for emotional comfort, when they are not even hungry. You may also need to make dietary changes if you begin or increase the intensity of a fitness program.

Now that we have discussed six habits to lifelong weight loss, you may be tempted to start making excuses why you can't implement these habits. "I don't have time because ___ (insert your favorite excuse here).

If you find yourself making excuses, ask yourself these questions: "How much more energy will I have when I am not carrying around these extra pounds? How many more things will I enjoy and feel good doing when I am healthy and fit? Isn't it worth a few minutes a day to incorporate these simple habits into my day?"

Dianne Villano is a personal fitness instructor certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine with over 17 years experience. Dianne specializes in weight loss programs and programs for beginners. For more articles or free fitness tools visit



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