31 Daily Habits That Will Help You Lose Weight

31 Daily Habits That Will Help You Lose Weight

Trying to lose weight? It starts in the kitchen. Making small changes to your diet will help you see results without feeling deprived. We’ve got 31 tips from nutritionist Julie Upton| RD| of Appetite For Health that will revamp your eating habits and get you on the right track. Read on and remember to pin or print your favorites| so you can eat healthier and feel better in no time at all.

| Drink More Water

This advice may sound extreme| but it’s actually very doable. For example| if you weigh 150 pounds| aim for 75 fluid ounces (or just under nine and a half cups of water) a day. Try these healthy water additions like lemon and mint that can amp up the flavor of your cup and double its detox power.

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| Banish Trigger Foods

Keep junk foods in opaque containers or in the back of your fridge so you’re not tempted to dig in. Be sure to cut up fruits and veggies for easy snacking instead.

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| Use Measuring Cups

Eyeballing just doesn’t work if you’re trying to keep portions in check. Instead use measuring cups so you know exactly how many servings you’re eating.

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| Think Plant-Based First

When planning meals| think of plant-based foods first u2014 from the ground up. That means your meals should always have a vegetable or a fruit plus a whole grain such as quinoa| barley| whole-wheat pasta| or oats. Then you can add in lean proteins and extras. When you build meals this way| it ensures the right balance and variety in your daily diet.

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| Substitute Sugar With Fruit Puree

Reduce the amount of refined sugars in your treats by sweetening naturally with fresh fruit puree. Almost anything works: bananas| apples| pears| dates| figs| or even grapes. Just note that if a recipe calls for a liquid as well| reduce it by one-quarter when using fresh fruit puree| as the fruit will add moisture to the recipe.

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| Follow the 10:1 Rule

Because many products overstate “”whole grain”” claims| your best bet is to find out for yourself. Harvard School of Public Health researchers recommend choosing whole grain foods that have one gram of fiber per every 10 grams of carbohydrates; not only is this the correct ratio for whole grain foods| but these products tend to be the healthiest choices and have fewer added sugars as well.

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| Clear Out Your Kitchen

One of the easiest ways to lose weight is to clear out the junk food that’s lurking in your kitchen cupboards| fridge| and freezer. Once you’ve gotten rid of unhealthy foods in your cupboards| replace them with lots of wholesome options u2014 fruits| veggies| whole grains| and lean proteins u2014 so you won’t feel deprived. Here are 10 foods you should always have in your fridge and healthy pantry staples everyone should have in their kitchen.

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| Weigh Yourself on a Friday

If you use a scale| this trick may just keep you motivated. Fridays are a great day to weigh yourself because it’s generally when you weigh less| and it can also help you stay on track over the weekend.

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| Make Your Own Meals

Because meals prepared away from home have more calories| fat| and sodium compared to home-cooked meals| eating out just once per day can equal several pounds gained in a year. You can trim 134 calories from each meal if you make it at home instead of eating out or getting takeout. Try it yourself: here are all of our delicious and diverse healthy recipes in one place.

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| Skip the Apps

If you aren’t careful| you could be ordering appetizers that clock in at more than 800 calories when dining out. What to do instead if you’re famished and can’t wait for your entru00e9e? Skip the appetizers section altogether| and opt for a side dish or a soup instead| which average around 250 calories. Go for healthy| produce-filled sides and broth-based soups to save big on calories.

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| BYOBB

But if you pack lunch from home| that can add up to 10 pounds or more lost in a year. Need some ideas? Here’s one month of 400-calorie lunches. Or if you want to save time| make five salads on Sunday night| a huge pot of soup| or one of these low-cal slow-cooker meals.

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| Remember This

Before you reach for that bag of chips| take a moment to remember this convenient acronym u2014u00a0WAIT| or “”What am I thinking?”” Reflect on why you’re craving the treat: if you’re hungry| try something that calms cravings (like these healthy desserts)| or indulge in your favorite treat mindfully. If your cravings are more due to emotional reasons like anxiety| stress| boredom| or loneliness| taking a minute to acknowledge that you’re eating emotionally can help you make a smart decision. Read more on how to stop emotional eating here.

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| Sleep More to Lose More

If you’re trying to lose weight and constantly skipping out on a good night’s rest| listen up: your nighttime habits may be why you can’t make the scale budge. Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived tend to crave higher-fat| greasier| and sugary comfort foods like ice cream and salty snacks. Want to have more energy| feel better| and possibly weigh less? Try to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night.

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| Choose Whole Grains

If you always find yourself reaching for refined carbs| this is one nutritional challenge you need to try: for one entire day| make sure all of the grains you eat are whole grains| like whole-wheat bread| brown rice| and oats| which provide more antioxidants and beneficial fiber while containing less added sugars| sodium| or trans fats than their refined counterparts.

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| Keep Salads Skinny

Salads help you slim down by encouraging you to eat more veggies| but they’re not always a “”skinny”” choice u2014 thanks to high-calorie toppings. A simple green salad that you thought was low in calories can quickly turn into a meal that’s well over 600. Keep counts low by loading up on raw veggies and adding vinegar or fresh-squeezed lemon juice instead of creamy dressing.

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| Turn Up the Heat

Adding some spice to your meals can help suppress your appetite and give a modest boost to your metabolism. Order your curry a little spicier than usual| or add just a few drops of hot sauce to your morning eggs| bowl of soup| or a favorite dip like hummus or guacamole.

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| Stop Juicing

You may think that an all-juice diet can “”reset”” your body and help you feel healthier| but that may not always be the case. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that adults eating the most fruit u2014 especially berries| apples| and grapes u2014 reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by up to 26 percent| while drinking fruit juice was linked to increased risk of diabetes. Liquid calories can cause a more rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin than foods of similar nutritional value.

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| Eat More Mindfully

Setting the stage for your meal is very important| so sit down and make sure you have proper utensils. Once you’re ready to chow down| take a bite of your food| and then put your utensil down as you start to savor what you’re eating. Focus on the aroma| the texture| and the flavors. Slowing down to experience food forces you to get in touch with your hunger and keeps you satisfied longer.

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| Cut Calories From Toppings

Cut the amount of nuts and cheese in your favorite meals by 25 percent by simply toasting nuts and grating cheese. Toasting nuts ups flavor| and grating cheese better disperses that cheesy goodness throughout a dish| resulting in less used overall. Try this technique the next time you are topping a salad with nuts| or a cheesy pasta dish is on the menu.

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| Plan Your Meals

This weekend| make it your mission to plan most of your meals and snacks for the next week. You can do your major shopping whenever you have a free moment on the weekend and then prep anything you need for your healthy recipes. Not sure what to buy? We’ve got you covered u2014 check out our healthy mix-and-match meal planner.

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| Make a List

Here’s a simple habit that can help you make the right choices at the grocery store: bring a list. Shopping without a plan can make you buy up to twice as much and make unhealthier choices than if you write down what you need. So the next time you make a grocery-store run| be sure to plan out meals beforehand and stick to your list.

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| Choose Plain Dairy

If you’re looking to lose weight or watch your sugar intake| opt for nondairy yogurt and milk labeled as “”plain”” or “”original|”” which tend to be lower in sugar than other varieties available. For comparison| Stonyfield Organic plain yogurt only has 12 grams of sugar per serving| while the same amount of french vanilla yogurt has 30 grams u2014 that’s more than two times the sugar!

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| Sweeten Naturally

If you want something sweet on top of your oatmeal| yogurt| or latte| opt for cinnamon| vanilla extract| or almond extract. All provide the essence of sweetness but without any calories or actual sugar| and beyond adding a nice hint of spice| cinnamon also helps temper your blood sugar’s responses to carbohydrate-containing foods.

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| Put the Brakes on Booze

Alcohol is one of the worst diet wreckers; not only is it high in empty calories| but it also stimulates your appetite| weakens your willpower| and lights up areas of your brain that make high-calorie foods seem more irresistible.

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| Distract Yourself

Have three go-to distracters for whenever a craving strikes| so you can get your mind off food and on something else. Have a great book at the ready on your ereader| have your iPod handy with your favorite songs| or take a peek at your favorite online shopping site. If you can distract yourself for 10 minutes| the craving often passes.

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| Practice Portion Control

Using a standard muffin tin when making meatloaf| pasta| egg dishes| casseroles| side dishes| and desserts can help keep your portions in check and cut cooking time. Plus| you can make your meals ahead of time so you don’t opt for something quick and unhealthy when you’re hungry. Try it yourself: these muffin-tin recipes are perfectly portioned for weight-loss success.

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| Stop Cheating on Your Diet

When you feel overwhelmed by work| family| or a busy social calendar| it’s too easy to skip out on the gym. Learn to plan workouts in advance| so you don’t cheat on your healthy goals.

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| Close Your Kitchen

Try closing your kitchen after dinner and allow yourself only water or tea after you’ve finished your last meal| which should be at least two hours before bedtime. Making late-night snacking not even an option will prevent evening overeating. If you find that you’re starving well after dinnertime| change your habits so you’re eating enough calories during the day.

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| Go Bite-Size

Try cutting up a sandwich| piece of banana bread| or bagel into quarters or slicing a piece of grilled chicken into several smaller pieces. It means taking more time to chew each individual bite and acts as a mind game that helps trick your brain into thinking you’ve eaten way more than you really have.

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| Downsize Plates and Bowls

Eat your meals off smaller plates and bowls and you’ll serve yourself about 10 percent less| which can add up to hundreds of calories less every day. Go for bowls that hold no more than one and a half cups and plates that are less than nine inches in diameter.

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| Use the Hunger Scale

Even when you think you’re hungry| you could be eating for the wrong reasons. Many people mistake dehydration for hunger| and others feel the urge when they’re bored or coping with certain emotions. Use this hunger scale for the next few days to keep tabs on your physical hunger and how to eat an appropriate amount to satisfy. It’ll help you realize certain patterns that can lead to weight-loss success.

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