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10 Everyday Habits With Major Health Benefits, Backed by Science

Those healthy habits that experts claim to be secret weight-loss weapons aren't so elusive after all. In fact, you're probably already doing them!

In terms of being healthy, what if we 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.

It's not just the calorie-cutting swaps that 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 they may even already be in your everyday routine. Below, we've listed the everyday habits that can help you be healthier starting right now. Combining these simple changes with The Best Ways to Lose Belly Fat for Good, Say Doctors can help reach your weight loss goals!

Take a walk

Woman walking dog

Walking for weight loss is one of the easiest forms of exercise you can do to drop some pounds. Whether it's walking around your house, office, or grocery shopping, your legs are moving. Don't just go for a walk around the block. A JAMA Internal Medicine study found that sedentary, overweight men and women lost body fat and weight when they walked or ran 12 miles a week over the course of eight months—and that's without changing their diet. Amp up your walking time to at least 15 minutes at a brisk walking pace twice a day or 30 minutes once 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.

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Cook a meal


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. You may not be cooking the healthiest meals now—or cooking as often as you should be—but we bet you can still cook. And you'll be healthier if you do it regularly. 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.

Put on some tunes

fit man running with music

Make that 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.

Practice self care

Healthy habits

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

Blend a smoothie

Healthy habits

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. Plus, studies show a correlation between fruit consumption and lower, healthier weights. 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.

Get outside

Healthy habits

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 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.

Pour a cup of coffee

coffee pot pouring into two mugs

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 avoid these 7 Things You Should Never Add to Your Coffee. 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 keep your mind focused on any task at hand and keep your diet on track by boosting your metabolism. In fact, women who drink two or three cups of coffee a day have been found to have lower total body and belly fat than those who drink less, according to a The Journal of Nutrition study.

Take some time for your hobby

Healthy habits

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.

Wake up early

Healthy habits

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 living a healthier life. Being exposed to morning light, whether it's pure sunlight or bright indoor lighting, is associated with leaner body weights, according to a PLOS One study.

Post your meals on social media

Healthy habits

One of our favorite ways to lose weight without counting calories is to make your meals 'gram worthy. 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 for your diet. (And studies prove it.) 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.

Olivia Tarantino
Olivia Tarantino is the Managing Editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more about Olivia
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