When people first come to me to lose weight, they’ve usually tried lots of other things before:
- Fad diets
- Fitness challenges
- ‘Miracle’ formulas
- Fancy fitness apps
But while these approaches might have worked for them for a little while – eventually, they put the weight back on.
This is because things like restrictive diets and intense fitness schedules aren’t something most people can stick to over the long term.
Instead, it’s your HABITS that are the real key to losing weight and keeping it off for good.
And the best thing is, creating healthy eating habits to lose weight doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.
In fact, there are some really simple changes you can start implementing right now that will help you achieve your weight loss goals.
In this article, I’m going to share 5 healthy eating habits to lose weight, the right way.
1. Eat when you’re hungry
The first healthy eating habit I recommend is to make sure you eat when you’re hungry.
You might think that you need to eat less if you’re trying to lose weight – but if you don’t honour your hunger, this can actually lead you to overeat and gain even more weight over the long term.
Your body is wired for survival and will give you a number of signals when it needs more energy from food.
For example, you might feel shaky, tired or cranky, or just start thinking more about food.
The longer you wait to eat in response to these signals, the more intense they will become – at which point you may find it difficult to make good food choices or eat appropriate amounts.
So, it’s important to get into the habit of recognising those hunger cues, and then honouring them before they become too urgent.
2. Stop when you’re full
The second healthy eating habit that’s important to get into is to stop eating when you’re full.
Many of us have been encouraged or told from a young age to eat everything that’s on our plate (because there are starving children in Africa and aren’t we lucky to have so much good food!).
This means you might have a learned habit of eating until your plate is clean, regardless of whether you’re full or not.
If this is you, it probably also means you’ve lost touch with what being comfortably full actually feels like.
The sensation of fullness is highly individual, and while I can try and describe it to you, it’s something you really need to experience yourself so that you know what it feels like in your body.
However, some common descriptions I hear from my clients include:
- you can feel food in your stomach
- you feel satisfied and content
- you feel a nothingness – not hungry and not full
Just as your body tells you when it needs food, it also tells you when it’s had enough – and recognising these signals and honouring them is a really important habit to get into if you want to lose weight.
One way to start doing this is to intentionally leave one or two bites on your plate at each meal.
This will help you break the habit of eating everything on autopilot and help you start to identify your own personal fullness cues.
3. Avoid distractions while eating
When you’re a mum (or a dad), life is busy – and eating while juggling a million other things is something we ALL do.
For example, you might eat breakfast while packing the kids’ lunch boxes, have lunch while replying to emails, or eat dinner while watching TV or a movie.
Doing these things occasionally is fine, but a much healthier habit to get into is to eat without distraction.
Because even though you might be an amazing multitasker, the truth is, your mind can truly pay attention to only one thing at a time.
And if you’re eating while doing other things, you’re likely missing out on the sensory aspect of eating.
While we eat to fuel our bodies, it’s also meant to be an enjoyable experience that leaves us feeling satisfied and content.
But if you’re distracted doing other activities while you’re eating, you won’t enjoy your meal as much.
You’re also less likely to recognise those fullness cues, or might discover that although you feel full, you don’t feel satisfied and want to keep eating more until you do.
That’s why it’s important to get into the habit of focusing on what you’re eating if you want to lose weight.
A good way to do this is to eat at least one meal a day at the table, rather than standing up in the kitchen or sitting on the couch.
Really pay attention to the smells, flavours and sensations of the food you’re eating, and look out for those fullness cues so you can stop when you’ve had enough.
4. Plan your meals in advance
When people talk about meal planning, the motivation is usually about saving time or money.
But did you know that meal planning can also help you lose weight?
Planning the meals and snacks you’re going to eat for the day ahead helps you swing gently between the target range of 3–7 on the hunger scale, which helps ensure you don’t overeat.
Meal planning also allows you to choose healthier options and avoid last-minute decisions when you’re feeling tired or hungry, which can lead you to choose foods that are convenient or comforting rather than nutritious (like takeaway!).
If you aren’t already in the habit of meal planning, the idea might be a little daunting.
But it can be as simple as writing down the meals you know you and your family love, and then planning out the next few days or week and making sure you have all the ingredients you need on hand.
Even if you don’t want to follow a particular plan, ensuring your pantry and fridge are stocked with nutritious options is a really good habit to get into if you want to lose weight.
For example, this might involve doing a big grocery shop at the beginning of the week, so you know you have lots of healthy staples to choose from.
5. Allow yourself to eat foods you enjoy, every day
If you want to lose weight, our first instinct is often to limit or restrict what we eat.
But not allowing ourselves to eat any of our favourite foods is THE fastest way to lose motivation and give up on losing weight completely.
Unfortunately, for so many in our culture, the pleasure of eating promotes feelings of guilt and wrongdoing. It causes us to make sacrifices and settle for less.
But the truth is, if you settle for unsatisfying foods all the time, you’re more likely to keep searching for satisfying food even when you’re no longer hungry (hello overeating!).
Instead, it’s much better to allow yourself to eat foods you enjoy, every single day.
Get in the habit of asking yourself, “What do I really want to eat”, and then tuning in to what your appetite and hunger are telling you.
Eating for pleasure as well as hunger is a healthy eating habit that will help you lose weight and keep it off.
In fact, studies have shown that eating for pleasure is correlated with eating less and having a lower body mass index.
The key is choosing foods that are both satisfying AND filling, so you stay fuller for longer and avoid those up and down feelings of hunger that can lead you to overeat.
Some final thoughts about creating healthy eating habits to lose weight
When it comes to eating habits, too often I see my clients trying to fix everything at once. ⠀
It’s important to remember that changing what you eat and how you eat it isn’t something that will happen overnight. ⠀
Instead, it’s about creating lifelong healthy habits that will lead to long-term weight loss success.
This usually means setting smaller goals that are achievable and sustainable, rather than quick fixes that won’t last forever.
Remember, creating healthy eating habits to lose weight and keep it off takes time – but it’s so worth it!
Want to feel back in control around food and find other ways to cope other than using food for comfort?
What you need is a new approach that doesn’t include relying on willpower or following a restrictive diet, plus some support and accountability to help set you on the right track.
That’s where I can help!
You’re invited to join my free masterclass: How to End Emotional Eating in Just 5 Steps that I’m hosting on Tuesday, 23 August 2022 at 1pm and 7.30pm AEST (Syd/Melb).
In this free live masterclass, I’ll be sharing:
- The 3 biggest reasons why you emotionally eat or can’t stop emotionally eating.
- My 5-step plan to end emotional eating that doesn’t include relying on willpower or following a restrictive diet.
It’s the exact same framework I teach my 1:1 clients in my 30-day End Emotional Eating program.
And now I’m going behind the scenes and sharing it with you too!
Click here to save your seat
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