Do you ever scroll through weight loss transformation photos on Instagram, wishing for a Cinderella story of your own? I’ll share a little dietitian secret: That fad diet that’s taken Instagram by storm isn’t the trick to lasting weight loss. The real magic comes with building positive habits.
There are so many reasons why I l prefer to focus on positive habits rather than fad diets. But here’s my favorite: You can start today, with no special equipment, no matter how much weight you want to lose.
Ready to get started? Here are 40 positive habits you can work on to ensure long-term success.
1. Eat on plates that are 9” in diameter or smaller.
2. Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, like cucumbers, peppers, greens, broccoli, and cauliflower.
3. Drink a glass of water before each meal or snack.
4. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day.
5. Serve your meals and snacks from the counter, not the table.
6. Pour snack foods into a small bowl, then put the container away.
7. Drink one glass of water or club soda before each cocktail.
8. Start each meal by eating the non-starchy vegetables on your plate.
9. Walk at least 12,000 steps per day.
10. Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
11. Take a walk while on the phone with family or friends.
12. Take a moment each day to appreciate your efforts—positive habits take time to build, and you’re killing it!!
13. Sit down at the table for meals and snacks.
14. Turn off your phone, computer, tablet, and television while eating.
15. Shut down the kitchen after dinner—no meals or snacks!
16. Track your food intake in a notebook or on an app.
17. Eat an apple every day.
18. Start a daily meditation practice (1).
19. Eat a cup of berries every day.
20. Have a 20-minute timeout before going in for seconds.
21. Meet friends for a workout instead of brunch or drinks (link to social benefits article).
22. Stash tempting foods in the cabinet, out of plain view.
23. Store fruits and vegetables in plain view—eye-level in the fridge, or on the counter if refrigeration isn’t needed.
24. Swap your nightcap for a caffeine-free tea.
25. Trade grapes for raisins, and apples for applesauce or apple juice.
26. Weigh yourself at least once per week.
27. Dance with your kids for at least 5 minutes per day—you’ll relieve stress and burn calories.
28. Take the top bun off of your burger, or the top piece of bread off of your sandwich.
29. Set a timer to go off every 60 minutes at work and take a short walk each time it dings.
30. Do at least one thing every day that makes you happy, that has nothing to do with eating or drinking.
31. Plan to have a small indulgence, like one small square of dark chocolate, each day.
32. Portion calorie-dense foods (like nuts) into single-serving bags when you bring them home.
33. Serve cereal and snack foods out of coffee mugs, not bowls.
34. Snack on non-starchy veggies.
35. Start your day with protein, such as Greek yogurt or eggs.
36. Pack your lunch for work.
37. Include a lean protein, a fiber, and a small amount of healthy fat at each meal and snack.
38. Plan your meals and snacks at least one day in advance.
39. Take your family to a local farmer’s market each weekend to stock up on fresh produce.
40. Take a moment to ask yourself if you’re really hungry before you eat. Sometimes, we turn to food out of boredom, loneliness, anger, or sadness instead of true hunger.
Whew! Does that list seem exhausting?
No worries! You don’t need to do every single one of these habits, every day. Pick one from the list that you don’t already do, and focus on really nailing it. Add another when you feel ready.
Before long, you’ll be well on your way to your own Cinderella story (Instagram transformation pics optional).
Now I’d love to hear from you. What positive habits have helped you to lose weight? Drop your #1 best tip in the comments.