Tweak it: 5 small life changes for a fitter, healthier you

Start thinking of weight management as an overall behavioral and lifestyle change

Racha Adib

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If you’ve tried to diet over and over again but somehow always seem to fail, maybe it’s high time you tweak your weight loss strategy. Sometimes, dieting just isn’t for you and the added pressure of sticking to a particular diet could be the main reason you’re failing.

Instead, what you can do is start thinking of weight management as an overall behavioral and lifestyle change. After all, the super fit and healthy people you envy didn’t get that way over night.

Luckily, we’ve collected some hassle free habits that can greatly influence your weight management attempt. With time, these habits can become second nature to you.

Stop obsessing about your weight. Now this habit is not as easy as it sounds, you are your own worst critic after all. And when you’re trying to lose weight, I bet you’re weighing yourself every single day and saying to yourself “I’m fat” and “I’m unattractive.” But you know better more than anyone else that this attitude never got you anywhere and the personal attacks are not true. If anything, it just made you act less healthily.

The right attitude you should adopt is to love and accept yourself no matter what shape or size you are. Your weight does not determine the person you are today because you have so much more to offer. Choose to eat right and exercise because it makes you feel good, and because you deserve to have a healthier body.

Listen to your body. The best judge of how much you should be eating is your very own body. Always worrying about counting calories and fat grams to control your weight can be tiresome and with time, you pretty much have an idea which foods are better for you and which foods are not as good. The key is listening to your hunger and satiety cues.

It’s simple, if you’re not hungry, then just don’t eat. Whether you’re sad, bored, or tired shouldn’t be reasons to eat and catching up with a friend, listening to music, or watching a good movie are better substitutes. At the same time, you don’t want wait until you’re very hungry to eat, because that can get you to over eat or make an unhealthy choice. The right time to eat is when you’re slightly hungry and by the time you make it to the table it will be just right. Your cue to stop is when you’re satisfied; neither hungry nor full.

Get your sleep. Lack of sleep can do so much harm to your body. It can get your cranky, hungry, and craving for bad food. The culprit here is the hormone cortisol, which your body releases when you don’t get your ZZZs and makes you feel hungrier than normal. Many people are struggling with hectic schedules and long working hours, but remember that sleep should be right up on that priority list.

Be active. Yes this does include exercise, but that’s not the only thing we’re referring to here. The activity we’re talking about is referred to as NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenisis) which includes fidgeting, walking up the stairs, pacing while on the phone, and getting up your chair every 30 minutes can reduce up to 500-1000 calories and might matter more to your overall health than your trips to the gym. Pretty NEAT right?

Love what you eat. Yes you should be eating healthy, and getting your veggies, and minimizing the saturated fat, but if it’s not flavorful or enjoyable, and you’re left feeling unsatisfied, then it will often lead to overeating in an attempt to become satisfied. Look for healthy foods you enjoy. Hit the supermarket and see what healthy options work for you.

And when you do decide to splurge a little and have some cake, don’t let the guilt ruin the fun for you. It’s really about balancing nutrition and taste and determining whether that cake is worth the calories or not. If it doesn’t taste that great then simply take a bite and stop.