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12 ways to develop healthy habits


There are many diets, different weight loss fads, new tricks, pills and much more, for losing weight. All promise to be revolutionary and create a new you. Some work and some don’t. But who are we to judge?

Years ago trans fat, a dangerous, man-made lipid found in margarine, was thought to be healthier than regular fats. By the mid-90s, public health journals revealed the opposite to be true.

If the scientists sometimes get it wrong, it is safe to say that understanding the nuances of nutrition can be tricky and hard to follow.


So, sometimes the best way to lose weight is to ignore trends and fly-by-night advice, and instead focus on healthy eating strategies.

When delivering wellness seminars, one thing I consistently go on about is Healthy Habits. Develop healthy habits, stick to them, and no matter what nutrition blunders you might make, you’ll still keep yourself on the road to a slim and sexy physique.

Beyond that, being a disciplined person with good habits translates to success.

Eat an early dinner. Recent studies on obesity have found that adults that regularly eat after 8 pm ingested the most calories and carried the most body fat. The key here is to stop eating 3 hours before you hit the sack.

Then, while you sleep, your body is better primed to burn fat instead of creating more.

Reward yourself. Once you’ve established a healthy routine, you need to establish a reward system. Think of a land of milk and honey after a journey of tedium. You can’t stay on a repetitive diet without some form of a reward.

A great way to stick to a low-calorie diet without breaking down into rebellious binge-mode is to reward yourself with a small dessert twice a week. Pick a food you love and treat yourself to a portion of about 200 calories. But remember, you only get the reward if you deserve it.

Read diet and exercise tips. People exposed to nutrition and exercise advice are more likely to make smarter diet and lifestyle choices.

Eat breakfast. Skipping breakfast regularly makes you 4.5 times more likely to be obese. They don’t call it the most important meal of the day for nothing, eating a nutritious morning meal jump-starts your metabolism and prevents you from overindulging throughout the day.

For optimal weight-loss results, choose a breakfast dish with a healthy balance of protein and fibre, like eggs with fruit and whole-wheat toast. Many people I know think it’s okay to skip breakfast…it’s not!

Take snack breaks. Snacking sometimes gets bad press, but planning nutritious snacks throughout your day can actually keep you skinny. Healthy snacking keeps your blood sugar from spiking and prevents hunger pangs, cravings and body fat storage. The ideal snack choice? Nuts. Skip the meat pies.

Drink water. 60% of your body is water, which makes it vital to every important metabolic process. A study had subjects drink two glasses of water before each meal, they found that those subjects lost 30% more body fat over 12 weeks.

Making beverage blunders is one of the easiest ways to gain belly fat. Replace half of what you drink with water and see the benefits for yourself.

Choose whole grains. Choosing nutrient-rich whole grains over processed, white flour-based products can play a major role in keeping you lean. The healthy dose of fibre helps slow digestion, keeping you fuller longer. But do not be fooled by ‘made with whole-grain’ labels. True whole grain products will list whole grains first on their ingredients list.

Eat spicy food. Eating a spicy appetiser before a meal can make you eat significantly less than someone eating a non-spicy appetiser.

The explanation: a chemical compound called capsaicin, found in chilli peppers, acts as an appetite suppressant. That and really spicy food can just be plain tough to eat. It’s common in this neck of the woods, but I struggle with spicy stuff, and I know I’m not alone.

Sleep for 6 to 8 hours each night. Getting a good night’s sleep has been linked to a host of major health benefits, including maintenance of a healthy body weight. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase appetite, lower willpower, and bolster cravings for high-calorie foods.

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