Where to start
When you are starting out on your journey of creating new, good, habits it can be hard to know where to start. There are a few simple habits than can benefit everybody.
Track your food
Tracking food is the most effective habit to start if you want to lose weight. Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research published a study of 1700 participants. It was found that individuals who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. Tracking food is also a key component of the Weight Watchers program used by hundreds of thousands of people annually.
First and foremost, tracking your food gives you awareness of what you actually are eating. We might conveniently forget the 3 cookies we had after dinner if we rely on our memory. If you are mindlessly eating while you watch TV at night, you won’t be aware of how much you are actually eating.
Secondly, it gives you accountability. If you commit to cutting out sweet snacks, it will be blatantly obvious whether or not you stick to it based on your food diary.
Next, its a great way to learn about your current eating habits. Do you have a sugary sweet an hour after lunch? Maybe you are making up for a sugar crash after lunch and you should adjust what you eat for lunch.
Quite simply, “if you bite it, write it.” Make the habit of writing down what you eat before you start. Use a notepad and pen or an app like MyFitnessPal on your phone. The tool doesn’t matter, tracking everything you eat matters. Chose the tool that works for you.
Take a walk
Many studies have found that walking:
- Helps you maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduces the chances of disease like heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
- Strengthens your bones and muscles.
- Improves your mood.
- Improve your balance and coordination
Go for a walk after dinner every night. Eating dinner serves as the reminder to help you do it every day. Walking after a meal also has been shown to boost metabolism which helps with weight loss. Lastly, walking after dinner is a great way to procrastinate on doing the washing up!
The benefits of gratitude has been studied my many organizations. They have found that expressing gratitude:
- Grateful people report experiencing fewer aches and pains.
- Gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.
- Grateful people sleep better.
- Gratitude improves self esteem.
There are several ways you can express gratitude. You could get a diary and set a reminder on your phone for 9pm every night to jot down three things you are grateful for. You could download an app like 5 Minute Journal and use it to help you record your gratitude. Or, you could start a family tradition of sharing something you are grateful for over dinner.
To get started, pick just one of these habits and get going. You really can’t go wrong with any of them. Learn more about habits and how they work.