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4 Surprising Habits That Can Help You Lose Weight

Weight loss is a common goal for millions of people across the world. Aside from the more obvious outward perks one can gain from adopting this lifestyle change, there are numerous health benefits from weight loss. According to a study involving almost 200,000 individuals, intentional weight loss among those who are overweight or obese can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 21%.

That said, there are many weight control strategies being promoted in media and pop culture, such as diet fads to lose weight that promise quick results. Women can often adopt these due to societal pressure to look good, but they can do more damage than good. The key to a successful weight loss journey is developing healthy habits that you can commit to in the long term. If you want to gain the health benefits of weight loss, here are four surprising — but effective — habits that you can follow.

Exercise earlier in the day

By now, it’s a well-known fact that exercise is important for burning calories and shedding excess body fat. Aside from knowing which types of exercise to do — such as weight training and high-intensity interval training — choosing when to exercise can also affect how much weight you lose.

Aside from setting the tone for the rest of the day, a study found that exercising in the morning was more effective in order to lose weight, by kickstarting metabolism and boosting the rate at which the body burns fat. This can also be linked to how energy is more balanced earlier in the day. Additionally, a similar study on the optimal times for exercising observed that women, in particular, tend to lose fat around the belly and hips if they choose to do morning workouts.

Get quality sleep

Sleep regulates the levels of ghrelin and leptin, which are two hormones responsible for your appetite and fullness. If you don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, then the hormonal imbalances will make you feel hungrier than you usually would.

This is why getting enough sleep serves as a strategy for natural weight loss. Paying attention to the quantity and quality of your sleep not only makes you feel good and well-rested but it also helps you self-regulate your cravings. Getting about 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night can be easier when you use sleep trackers and reduce your screen time before going to bed.

Find an accountability partner

Sticking to healthier habits in the long term is easier said than done. But it helps to remember that as personal as your health and weight goals can be, you don’t have to go through the journey alone. While it is easy to think that fitness is a solo destination, the journey itself is better traversed with companions, and having a good support network is a key driver behind a good weight loss plan.

As such, you can enlist the help of a friend or family member to be your wellness accountability partner. As accountability partners, your role is to encourage each other not to slack off and to constantly raise the bar — whether it’s about adhering to your diet or making time for workout sessions. Fitness experts recommend choosing someone who can strike the balance between support and tough love, so you can stay motivated while still being challenged to do better.

Try the NEAT approach

While exercise is your primary way to burn calories, you can boost your daily physical activity by looking for ways to get active and moving throughout the day. This is called the Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT approach.

Among the notable examples for ramping up your NEAT are: parking in the farthest spot of the parking lot, walking while talking on the phone, and getting up from your desk to stretch from time to time. These may seem simple, but integrating them into your daily routine can help you burn more calories without having to carve out more time for the gym or at-home workouts.

No matter how unconventional these tips may be, what matters most is finding out which strategies work best for you and your body. Like other lifestyle changes, losing weight healthily involves trial and error until you learn which habits can last in the long term.

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