20 Healthy Habits You're Already Doing (And How To Harness Them!)
In terms of being healthy, what if I told you that your everyday habits have already put you ahead of the curve? One of the most common slimdown misconceptions is that getting in shape requires a huge lifestyle change. As a result, many of us will build up a mountain of excuses that encourage us to quietly give up on improving our health before we even start. In reality, improving your wellbeing is as simple as making small, simple swaps that make major impacts. Think about it; how many times have you read a news article about someone who lost 50 pounds just by giving up dairy, soy, or sugar?
It's not just the calorie-cutting swaps which expedite your slimdown. There are also healthy habits you can fit into your daily lifestyle that make it even easier to consistently and easily make better-for-you choices. Here's the best part: You already possess the building blocks to develop these healthy habits, and we're here to show you how you can harness them to work for your better-body goals. Below, we've listed the everyday habits you engage in and how you can transform them into weight-loss weapons. Combining these simple changes with these 50 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds—Fast can help you finally say sayonara to your muffin top!
You Have a Dog
Walking for weight loss is one of the easiest forms of exercise you can do to drop some pounds. And guess what? You're already doing it with your furry friend! Whether it's walking around your house, office, or grocery shopping, your legs are moving. Because experts recommend taking your dog for at least two fifteen minute walks a day, if you spend the time walking your pooch, you'll burn extra calories in the process.
Don't just go for a walk around the block. Amp up your and your pup's walking time to at least 15 minutes at a brisk walking pace twice a day, and you'll burn nearly 200 extra calories daily. As you get more comfortable walking for 15 minutes, you can increase each session to 20 and then 25 minutes.
You Know How to Cook
If you can boil water for pasta, you can also boil water for blanched vegetables. Know how to turn the knob on the toaster? Toast up some sprouted whole wheat bread and top with sliced avocado. Have a microwave? You can easily sub out your Lean Cuisine for one of these simple microwave recipes. You may not be cooking the healthiest meals now—or cooking as often as you should be—but we bet you can still cook.
A 2014 study found that people who cook dinner at home consume roughly 140 fewer calories—per meal!—than those who either ordered takeout, ate at a restaurant, or warmed up a frozen entree. Start simple by making a point of cooking your own breakfast every day for a week. Some of our favorite (and easy!) options are overnight oats, smoothies, fried eggs, or peanut butter toast with banana. To get you started, check out some of our top-notch overnight oats recipes.
If you're the kind of person whose closet is ordered by color, your desk is always kept clean, you've purchased multiple tubs for the kids to store their toys in, or you always pay your bills on the same day, your organizational skills can be harnessed for your slim down.
The next project you can tackle? Clean your kitchen. A study by Cornell researchers found that those who had a clean kitchen made healthier food choices and ate fewer calories than those who snacked in a dirty environment. Once that's done, grab a calendar and make a meal plan. Knowing which groceries you need to buy and what dishes you've planned on making going into the week will make it much easier to continue with your diet after that willpower-killing late night at the office on Thursday. To get you started, check out these 25 Tips For A Better Meal Prep.
You Love Listening to Tunes
Make that $9.99 Spotify Premium subscription work for you! Listening to music isn't just a way to break up the monotony of your morning commute. It can also make your workouts more productive: According to various studies, listening to music not only can distract exercisers from pain, but fast-paced music that includes motivational phrases can help you move faster, keep pace, boost your mood, and subconsciously motivate you to work harder—all of which will supercharge your weight loss progress.
Check out the "Running" tab on Spotify that syncs your pace with songs that have similar BPM (beats per minute) and watch how the music amplifies your workout. Alternatively, use music to help you get motivated for morning workouts by switching your alarm from an annoying buzz to an exercise jam!
You Enjoy Gardening
It helps liven up your yard and puts a smile on your face when you gaze out the window! Gardening isn't just a stress-relieving hobby; it can also be used to revamp your diet.
Instead of just planting flowers, consider growing your own herbs, fruits, and veggies; it's a win-win for weight loss! Gardening can actually burn between 200 and 400 calories per hour—and once your crops are ready to be picked, you'll have an abundance of low-calorie, nutritious fare to add into your family's meals. That's what we like to call a two-for-one deal!
Grocery shopping might seem like busy work while window shopping is a treat, but either task is actually a secret weight loss weapon! You're not only wandering around the store on your feet, carrying a basket (not pushing a cart) can be good for the triceps and biceps.
Did you know it would only take you 22 minutes of shopping for these best pantry staples for weight loss to burn off a cool 100 calories? What are you waiting for? Grab your wallet and shopping list and get out there!
Your Office Is On the Third Floor
Yes, just having your office within striking distance of ground level will be a huge asset when it comes to trimming down. It means you can take the stairs! This activity isn't just great for moving, but it also adds an element of resistance training (via gravity). Research shows that a program consisting of a combination of resistance training, cardiovascular exercise, and nutritional modifications is the ideal weight loss method.
Heels might be cute, but so is a toned body. Keep a pair of comfortable shoes at the office and make a point of taking the stairs whenever you're getting in or leaving. Walk to the water fountain throughout the day, and if it's close enough, pick up your food if you ever order takeout. If you drive to work, make a point of parking further from the office to give yourself an extra five-minute walk in the morning.
You Have Kids
You probably know all too well that your little ones are constantly in need of burning off their never-ending energy, but did you know you can take advantage of it and get in on the action with them? It's a great way to get moving without heading to the gym.
Diana Newton, co-owner and trainer at Fitmix Studio in LA, came up with a great way to get in some exercise with your young ones: "Create an obstacle course for your kids and race them! Run, jump, crawl, race!" she says. "Don't have kids? Hang with your friends' kids and let their parents go on a day date while you babysit."
You Value Friendship
You know how important friendship can be—and that's why you'll always take time out of your day to help your friends in their time of need. You also know that surrounding yourself with successful people encourages you to succeed! Here's one example: A recent study published in the journal Obesity discovered that overweight people who spend more time with thinner people over the course of the year were more successful at losing weight compared to those who hung around people of similar weights.
Team up with a few friends who enjoy high-intensity workouts and join forces to create your own weekly boot camp club. Not only will your workout be free, but you'll also get to spend more time with your buddies!
You Seek Out Ways to Save $
You've signed up for countless sales alerts, always scour the internet for deals, installed money-saving plug-ins to your browser. Heck, you even have a coupon bag you keep in your purse at all times! We mean, who doesn't enjoy saving a few dollars? Luckily for you, you'll start to see your wallet grow fatter while you slim down—it's just one of the 33 Reasons To Lose Weight Besides Fitting Into Your Old Jeans.
Being overweight costs us a lot of money—and we're not just talking about ripped pants from chafing or popped shirt buttons. According to a Health Affairs report, people who clock in at a healthy weight spend an astounding 42 percent less cash on medical bills and health expenses than their overweight peers. Your financial future isn't just dependent on health care; you'll also be saving loads of cash by cooking at home instead of eating out at restaurants, leaving the liter of soda on the shelf, and swapping fresh veggies for frozen dinners. Get started with these ways to save at the grocery store.
You Pamper Yourself
Getting a massage, taking a vacation, or getting your nails done all might seem like indulgences, but it also means that you value taking care of your mind and body. In fact, women who are considered to be more accepting of their bodies are far more likely to stick to a healthy diet, according to Ohio State University researchers. Translation: your well-being plays a crucial role in weight loss; those with high levels of stress also have high levels of the belly-fat-storing hormone cortisol. Taking the time to relax and treat yourself can help mitigate daily stressors.
You can pamper yourself on the cheap by engaging in daily mindfulness or meditation. Take 10 closed-eye minutes in the morning to practice breathing, think about what you're grateful for, and remind yourself of your goals. You can also use a spa day, facial, or yoga class as a reward for every few pounds lost or a mini-vacation when you've hit a major milestone. Just be sure to avoid these 30 Worst Vacation Habits For Your Waistline.
Maybe it's all those early years on the soccer team, the annual pot you could win from your fantasy football league, or simply growing up with an older sibling—whatever the origin, your competitive nature will be essential to zapping away your bat wings. Instead of utilizing it to make a point of winning poker night, try your hand at making it work in your flat-belly favor.
Try a 30-day "No Takeout Challenge," commit to eating vegetarian on #MeatlessMondays, sign up for a 5K that's scheduled in a couple months and train for it, join an adult rec league, or host your own Chopped-inspired cooking night challenge with healthy ingredients. Want to get your friends in on the fun? If you track your fitness with Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit, iPhone 5s+ or Apple Watch you can challenge your friends to an activity duel on Matchup—the app allows others to see who logs the most steps. Cultivating a healthier life doesn't have to be boring. In fact, here are 35 Fun Ways To Lose Weight.
You Love Fruit
Apples, berries, bananas—you name it! You've begun to realize you can satisfy your sugar cravings with these naturally sweet foods. You're not only helping yourself lose weight by substituting high-refined-sugar, weight-inducing, nutrient-deficient foods with the natural variety, these fruits are also teeming with countless better-body nutrients like satiating fiber and free-radical-fighting antioxidants.
First thing is first: buy some! Don't let your love of the sweet food be limited to restaurant desserts or store-bought smoothies. Leave a bowl filled with fruit on your counter in the kitchen or on a table by your keys—that way, you'll just grab a banana, apple, pear, or peach whenever you're headed out to do errands and you won't be tempted to stop at the drive-thru on your way home. Next, try your hand at these smoothies for weight loss.
You Like to Read
We're not just talking about those of you who stay up late reading a new thriller; those of you who read the newspaper in the morning with your cup of java can also utilize this healthy habit.
While fictional novels are great beach reads, harness your passion for reading to work in your weight-loss favor. Check out motivational books, food anthropologies—one of our favorite authors is Michael Pollan—and restaurant guides from your very own, Eat This, Not That! to read up on essential weight-loss tactics. And instead of watching a show or scrolling through your social feeds before bed, switch out your tech for a book. It'll help you fall asleep better so you can get a restorative night's sleep. That's not the only way to reduce belly fat; here are another 30 Things To Do 30 Minutes Before Bed To Lose Weight.
You Enjoy Being Outside
There's nothing quite like feeling the warmth of the sun on your face after a long day spent in the office. For many, being outside allows you to feel in tune with nature, gives you space to play with your kids, and it ramps up levels of mood- and immune-boosting vitamin D. According to University of Milan researchers, vitamin D helps to accelerate weight loss for those who are deficient and on a low-calorie diet.
Planning fun and active things outside during the week takes the pressure off to try to get in additional time for a spin class or lift—and it can be just as effective in helping you slim down. Instead of going to happy hour with your friends, head to the park with a frisbee or a football and log some playtime, or hit the trails with your family on the weekend. When it's a bit chillier, go ice skating or cross country skiing.
You Love Coffee Dates
Nowadays, it seems like frequenting a coffee shop is an everyday occurrence. If taking a detour to your local Starbucks is part of your morning commute, don't stop now! While frankencoffees made with more sugar than a candy bar will undoubtedly ruin your waistline, there are some benefits to stopping by this corner store as long as you follow our guide to stay slim at any coffee shop.
Coffee can be a great weight-loss drink—when prepared the right way. Teeming with free-radical fighting antioxidants, energy-boosting caffeine, and low in calories, it'll help your body flush out toxins, keep your mind focused on any task at hand, and keep your diet on track. Next time you're at the shop, skip the sugar and either stick to black or go with a tiny bit of heavy cream or milk for an extra boost of protein and slow-digesting fats that keep your energy levels stable throughout the morning. Looking to switch up your buzz? Try some of our favorite teas for weight loss.
You Have a Hobby
Whether you enjoy nature photography, knitting, reading, sketching, whittling, quilting, hiking, puzzles, or even writing poetry, you've already developed a tool that will help you fight boredom-driven food urges.
Because "I'm bored" is the second most common reason for eating (behind feeling hungry), having a hobby to distract you for roughly 20 minutes whenever you feel a craving coming on can help you save yourself the unnecessary calories you would have indulged in otherwise. Having a hobby makes it easy to hack away at the tie between emotions (like boredom) and food, so you'll start to make healthy food choices moving forward. Besides having a hobby, these 21 Tools To Help You Get Serious About Losing Weight will also make the scale tip in your favor faster.
You're a Sucker for Sushi
Even if you were content with a lazy night in, when your friend texts you that they'll treat you to sushi, you just can't resist. Why would you? Sushi has a justified rep for being a healthy option when it comes to eating out: Fish is high in muscle-building protein and inflammation-quelling omega-3 fatty acids—two nutrients which will further your weight-loss efforts. However, there is the occasional order that's full of fried batters, junky carbs, mayo-based sauces, even misleadingly high-cal salad dressings, pushing your dish over the edge into cheat meal territory.
Whenever you're craving the Japanese treat, head to the fishmonger instead and order a piece of sockeye or pink salmon, halibut, or striped bass. Each of these is one of the most nutrient-dense fish for weight loss because they're high in protein and omega-3s while being low in mercury. Studies have found that replacing a high-omega-6, inflammatory diet with more omega-3-rich fish can help prevent weight gain and may even assist with weight loss.
You're A Morning Person
Your coworkers may not appreciate your cheery attitude in the early hours (and your friends may be disappointed you start yawning during a night out at 9 p.m.), but your chipper mood in the morning will be a great asset when it comes to exercising for weight loss.
Instead of waiting until the end of the day to get your workout in—when things can come up and get in your way—make a point of exercising in the morning; it can be as simple as a brisk walk with your morning coffee. It not only will help you feel like you've accomplished something before you even get to work, it'll help you stick to a more consistent sleep schedule, which experts have found is crucial to keeping away diet-derailing hunger pangs.
You're A Social Media Star
One of our favorite ways to lose weight without counting calories (it's #10!) is to make your meals 'gram worthy—Instagram, that is. And many of us are already doing it! So, how does your desire to snap a shot of every meal help you slim down? Two ways: for starters, when you take the time to make your plate of food look gorgeous, it can encourage you to load your plate up with eye-catching, colorful, fresh veggies for a better shot. Secondly, when you spend time preparing the food you eat, a study published in the journal Health Psychology found that this food will be significantly more satisfying than if the food is prepared for you.
Snapping shots of your food is also a great way to hold yourself accountable to your diet. Keep a photo food journal by snapping a pic of everything you eat. When you start to realize you have to take a photo of that donut you snuck from the break room, you'll be less likely to indulge in it.