Exercise is important, but when it comes to weight loss, it is almost impossible to out-exercise a bad diet. To lose weight, you need to focus on your eating habits. Forget about diets and empty promises to yourself. To do better tomorrow, you’ll need to start at the core of the problem. Take a moment to re-evaluate your eating habits and make necessary (and often obvious) changes. Then explore our list of recommended eating habits and take steps to make the change.
1. Fill up on water
When you’re dieting, water should become your new best friend. Drink two full glasses of water 15 to 20 minutes before every meal, and you will feel fuller faster. Think you need an extra snack? Chug some water, and watch your hunger slip away. Not only will drinking water help you eat less but substituting water for your morning juice, lunchtime soda, and afternoon coffee drink will drastically decrease the number of empty calories you consume. Sugar-sweetened beverages pack in the calories and don’t give you a full feeling like food does.
2. Slow down
When you finally take a moment to eat, you may respond like a wild animal anxious to inhale as much food as possible in as short amount of time. As you might imagine, this is not conducive to weight loss. Studies have found that when you thoroughly chew your food properly you’ll consume fewer calories. This habit helps you slow down, properly digest, and notice feelings of fullness before you go for seconds. Not only will this habit assist in weight loss but it will also help you relax and reset. Find a comfortable, quiet place away from any distractions. Sit down and make a point to chew each bite slowly, really tasting and enjoying what you’re eating.
3. Eat earlier
As a society, dinner is the biggest meal of the day while breakfast is often skipped. For dieters, the reverse should be practiced. Consume more calories in the morning when you have the rest of the day to burn them off and can skimp on lunch thanks to a full belly. Dinner should be the lightest meal of the day as you’re winding down and preparing to settle in for the night. There is nothing more uncomfortable or worse for your diet than going to bed on an overly full stomach.
4. Write it down
Start keeping an honest food journal where you write down what you eat and any emotions or temptations you faced that impacted your success. Just the process of writing everything down will help you see what quantity and quality of food you’re consuming and what outside stresses impact your relationship with food. If you want to get more detailed, download Lose It!, a free app that tracks your day in food and exercise. You can even set a weight-loss goal, save commonly eaten foods, and connect to a weight-loss community.
5. Shop better
Keep any tempting foods out of your house by grocery shopping consciously. Shopping primarily on the perimeter of the grocery store ensures you’ll fill up the cart with fresh fruits, veggies, dried berries, whole grains, and protein. Skip the middle aisles that are chock full of products made from artificial sweeteners, additives, and a slew of ingredients you won’t be able to pronounce.
6. Use a smaller plate
Yes, a smaller plate really can make all the difference. Breaking Muscle cites a study from the journal Appetite, which found an increase in dish size can significantly increase the number of calories you eat at a meal. It turns out a larger plate almost certainly means you’ll give yourself more food than you would otherwise. To stay trim, watch your portion size — and watch your plate size, too. And if you are using a big dish, make sure it’s primarily filled with low-calorie veggies.