How to Make Health and Weight Loss Habits Easier
Consistency is key when you’re working towards a health or weight loss goal. You have to be consistent with your diet and exercise – hitting your goals will remain a dream without it.
The problem is that many of us have had unhealthy habits for years, perhaps most of our lives. And it’s not easy to just break them and turn over a new leaf. You enjoy your late-night snacks or ice cream sessions. Giving it up for a late-night bowl of salad is a big switch to make.
One thing that will make it easier to be consistent with your goals is building habits.
When you build habits, your body learns to perform actions without your brain having to make a conscious decision. For example, maybe you have a habit of reaching for your phone first thing in the morning. When you wake up, just as your eyes are cracking open or before your brain is fully functioning, your hand is reaching for your phone and your thumb is swiping.
You don’t have to think about it or ask yourself if you want to check your phone. Your body already knows that once you’re awake, this is what happens. The same principle applies when you build healthy habits. And the best part is weight loss habits make being healthy and losing weight easier than what you’ve experienced before.
So, if you struggle with being consistent with your health or weight loss journey, your best bet is to build healthy weight loss habits.
5 Ways to Build Healthy Weight Loss Habits
Not all habits are hard to establish. Some are formed subconsciously. Making healthy choices a habit, however, requires deliberate effort. With one habit, you’re unlearning an unhealthy behavior and learning a new, possibly more difficult one. It’s a lot for your brain to take on at once.
Below are a few tips and tricks to help make the process a little easier.
1. Be Specific
If you want to build the most effective habits and stick with them, you need to be as clear as possible about:
a) what you want
b) what you need to do to get it
Perhaps you want to lose weight, feel better in your clothes, and improve your fitness.
First, drill down to how much weight you want to lose. Then think about the habits or lifestyle choices you’ll need to help you get to your weight goal and sustain it.
To be more specific about feeling better in your clothes, imagine situations you will be in where you want to feel happy, confident and proud. This could wearing a work outfit, summer clothes, a swimsuit on the beach, or rocking some fitness gear. The clearer you can make this image, the more motivation you’ll create.
And finally, what does it mean to be fit and healthy?
Maybe it’s powering up hills out on walks with family. It could be having more energy, avoiding frailty and ill health – being strong independent and capable into old age.
When you know the specifics of your fitness goals, you know more about the types of exercise you want to incorporate to help you get there. I speak more about this in these two podcasts –
Really get granular on your goal.
Being specific helps your brain know exactly what you’re working for.
2. Make a Plan
Now that you know what you want and need to do, plan out how you’re going to do it. Ask yourself, “How do I make these habits and lifestyle choices easier?”
Our brains will always choose the path of least resistance. It’s wired to choose the easiest option. So, you need to make it as easy as possible to stick to your health habits. And that requires planning.
Choose a day to plan and shop for your meals.
Put your workout sessions on your calendar.
When you plan to do exercise, lay out your workout clothes and put them where you can quickly grab them.
Make a plan that makes sticking to your healthy habits easier.
That way, your brain will adapt to the new normal faster and with far less friction.
3. Watch Your Mindset
As with anything we do in our lives, our mindset is key. One thing that may help you stick with your new healthy habits is being really clear on your why.
Why do you want to stick to healthy choices? Why do you want to lose weight?
Don’t just brush this off and go with the first answer that comes to you. Think deeply. Maybe your goal is to become healthy. Your why could be that a family member suffered poor health and died too soon from weight-related diabetes or heart disease. But you want to live to see (and be fit enough to play with) your grandchildren.
That’s a powerful why.
If you already have a powerful why but still struggle with making healthy decisions or sticking with them, ask yourself, “How will this help me reach my goal?”
For example, meal prepping is a time commitment. If you’re having a hard time sticking to it, ask yourself how will meal prepping help you reach your goal.
Your answer could be that it helps you make healthier choices during the week, thus saving calories. AND it helps you cut costs from food waste and impromptu takeaways.
That’ll help you change the way you view meal prepping and help your brain focus on the ways it helps you reach your ultimate goal.
4. Focus on What You Can Control
There are many things in our lives and on our healthy journey that are outside our control. We have children to take care of, families that need our attention, jobs to do, and so much more.
Focusing on what you can’t control does not help you reach your goals. It also negatively affects your mental health.
Focus on what you can do to improve your life and your health. Family members may have foods in the house that are tempting and unhelpful for your goals, and friends may try to convince you to make them feel better by having more wine.
It can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to eat perfectly at any point. Nutrition is important, but weight loss is more about how much you have than exactly what you have.
And unless people are pinning you down and forcing extra food or drink down your throat, how much you consume is within your control.
You may not have the funds to pay for a gym membership. But you live near a park where you can take a walk. Not to mention, you can always check out the many free workout videos on YouTube.
Look for the areas in your journey where you have control and focus on making them better.
5. Celebrate Your Wins
You’re not going to reach your health or weight loss goals in a day, a week, or even a month. It’s going to take some time. But between your current state and your ideal state, you’ll hit many milestones that you can celebrate.
Here are some non-weight related examples.
Celebrating the wins along the way will help you be more consistent because they give your brain a hit of dopamine. And our brains love dopamine.
If it were easy to reach your health or weight loss goal, the world would be filled with healthier people. Unfortunately, judging from statistics, that is not the case. It’s going to take some work. If you’re struggling with sticking to your goals, don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re human. We all struggle at times.
Just don’t give up. Aiming for perfection only puts you under pressure. This makes you more likely to give up entirely.
Instead, dust yourself off and try again. Consistency beats perfection, and you will create amazing progress over time, as long as you don’t quit.
If you need more ideas or inspiration, check out my podcast or Instagram (@hayleyplummerpt).
And if you’re looking for support, guidance and all the help you need to get to your health and weight loss goals, find out more about online coaching here: