Simple Steps May be Best for Healthy Habit Creation
Scientifically proven healthy habit creation tips for taking the weight off.
Creating a new healthy habit can be daunting, but it needn’t be. We often get discouraged that we can’t possibly conquer something that hard. Not true. First, think back on a habit that you successfully created (be it flossing to not forgetting your purse as you leave the house, whatever). Now think back on what steps you took to make that goal a habit. More than likely it was taking a small step, or making a small change in your routine that made all the difference.
Healthy Habit Creation Research
In an article in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers decided to have 2 groups (intervention and control) to lose weight. In the intervention group researchers gave them a pamphlet with ten healthy habit tips, ranging from tips to decrease the amount of food consumed or increasing the activity, promoting use of routines, and increased awareness on food choices.
Researchers found that when the intervention group tracked their progress and made notes on how they were doing they lost more weight than their control-group counterparts (~4lbs compared to 0.88lbs). Now while this weight loss may not be monumental, it is clinically significant because of the lack of hands-on effort by the researchers and the minimal effort of the participants. This intervention didn’t include any real exercise regimen or specific dietary restrictions or meal-planning.
So what was this magical list the participants had? Nothing special. Simple tips and the participants could work on incorporating these simple tips into their lives resulting in a healthy habit formed and healthy lifestyle achieved-after 32 weeks.
I’ve written before on some of my top tips for losing weight during the holidays and maintaining your fitness level during the holiday season, but here are the tips proven by research to help you create a healthy lifestyle-regardless of the time of year.
Top 10 Healthy Habit Creation Tips
- Keep to your meal routine. Try to eat at roughly the same times of day-whether that’s 2 or 5 meals.
- Go reduced fat. Choose reduced fat food when possible. Limit high fat foods, if used at all.
- Walk off the weight. Walk 10,000 steps a day-use a pedometer or other fitness device to help.
- Pack a healthy snack. If you snack, choose healthy foods like fruit or low calorie yogurts instead of cookies and candy.
- Learn the labels. Check the fat and sugar content of foods when you do your shopping.
- Caution with your portions. Don’t heap food on your plate (unless it’s veggies). Think twice before going for seconds.
- Up on your feet. Break up sitting time. Stand up for 10 mins every hour.
- Think about your drinks. Choose water or sugar-free drinks.
- Focus on your food. Slow down. Don’t eat your food on the go or while watching TV. Eat at the table if possible.
- Don’t forget your 5 a day. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
You’ll notice these tips are anything special. Simple things. Many are just trying to raise awareness or help make small changes to your routine. It sounds simple, but it works. Think back on that behavior that you successfully made into a habit. How did you do it? Try a similar approach for another health habit and you’ll be on your way!