The Surprising Daily Habits of People Who Are Losing Weight (and Keeping It Off)

As a society, there’s no doubt that we are bombarded with weight loss advice, both good and bad. But since every body is different, there will never be a one-size-fits-all approach, which is part of the reason the diet industry is so profitable. That being said, as more and more research is being done, it’s getting easier to discover what works and what doesn’t — and your results will have less to do with your actual diet plan and more to do with your daily habits.

There seem to be some common habits among people who are able to lose weight and keep it off and those who are stuck in a perpetual yo-yo. And some of them might not be what you think.

They practice mindful eating and portion control

Healthy Lifestyle Diet

Smart diet choices are crucial. | iStock.com/Rawpixel Ltd

Even if you eat healthy foods, you won’t lose weight if you’re eating too many calories. Portion sizes tend to be too big in this country, and it’s easy to pile way too much on your plate and devour it quickly when you’re starving. People who stay slim tend to take smaller amount, put their forks down in between bites, and savor their meals. This way, if they do reach for seconds, they know it’s because they’re truly still hungry.

They don’t label any foods as ‘bad’ or ‘off limits’

Warm, golden brown, chocolate chip cookie

Depriving yourself of a cookie will only make you want it more. | iStock.com/Songbird839

You might think that embarking on a weight loss journey means banning certain foods from your diet forever, but this is not the case. Of course, you won’t be able to eat a dozen donuts every morning or hit the fast food drive thru on a weekly basis. But rather than depriving themselves of junk food entirely, people who successfully maintain their weight loss tend to find a way to work it in as an occasional treat as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.

They don’t drink their calories

Starbucks Holiday Cup Causes Online Controversy

There are a lot of empty calories in that Starbuck’s cup. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

You’d be shocked at how the calories can rack up simply by maintaining a daily full fat latte, soda or juice habit. Successful dieters know that calories should come almost entirely from food, and they tend to stick to water, tea, or black coffee.

They have an accountability system

Weight Watchers group

Joining a group like Weight Watchers can help you stay accountable. | Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Weight Watchers

Maybe this means joining a weight loss program like Weight Watchers, or perhaps it involves pre-paying for weekly workout sessions or having a standing jogging date with a friend. But the fact is, people who are held accountable lose more weight and keep it off. Plus, it helps knowing that you’re not doing this alone.

They start their day with a healthy meal

Avocado toast with egg whites and pea shoots on paper against a white wood background

Start your day off right. | iStock.com/jenifoto

Whether they eat breakfast right away every morning or choose to participate in a little intermittent fasting (to each, their own), successful “losers” make their first meal of the day a healthy one.  Not only will this fuel your body with energy, but it will help you make healthier choices all day long.

They set realistic goals

Overweight Woman On Diet

An insane goal will only set you up for failure. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

The vast majority of adults are incredibly busy, and despite what some phony ads may claim, you can’t lose weight overnight. Setting small, realistic goals is the key to long-term success, especially when you hold yourself accountable to them.

They eat veggies every day

Fresh green salad with grilled chicken

Eating plenty of veggies is the way to go. | iStock.com/Lilechka75

This is probably the least surprising weight loss tip, but it’s the one tried-and-true habit of successful dieters that seems to be the most effective. Vegetables are the most nutritionally dense food you can eat, and learning to love them will change your life (and slim your waistline). Eating the recommended 2-3 cups of veggies per day isn’t as tough as it seems — a breakfast omelet or scramble with added veggies and a big side salad with dinner will do the trick.

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