15 habits of people who have effectively lost over 20-30 lbs and kept it off. Great advice for losing weight

A few weeks ago I rediscovered the book 7 habits of highly effective people. I am sure you heard of this book considering it has been around forever. Anyways, I did not read the book again but the title did get me thinking.
What are the habits of people who have effectively lost over 20 – 30lbs and sustained that weight loss?
The key part of that sentence is sustained that weight loss. As someone who has lost over 30 pounds I can tell you that losing weight in my opinion is easy compared to sustaining it.  But I have sustained my weight loss for over 3 years now. I know what I do and I write all about here on my blog. But I was curious what other people do or have done to sustain their weight loss. So I decided to ask this question on the Organize Yourself Skinny Facebook Page.  125 of you responded and gave some great responses.
Before I share a summary of the responses I want to talk about an observation I made as I was reading all of them. I found it very interesting – though not surprising – that not one person mention a fad diet or strict diet program when talking about losing weight and/or sustaining their weight loss. A couple people did mention Weight Watchers but I think that program does work for a lot of people because it focuses on lifestyle and habits. I personally don’t think paying for a program like Weight Watchers is necessary but out of all the programs out there I think it is the most realistic.  Anyways, my point is that almost every single habit that was talked about was free and did not require a specific “plan” or “program”.
Now of course this is not a scientific study by any means but only what I found by asking people who follow the Organize Yourself Skinny Facebook page. You can view all their responses in full here.
Please note these habits are not in any kind of order. All of them are equally important. I summed up all their responses into 15 habits, added my thoughts, experiences, and resources if available.
I think you will feel relieved and pleasantly surprised –or not – to find that all 15 of these habits are real everday habits that anyone can implement into their lifestyle. All without sacrificing yourself or any of the food you love. These habits don’t require a monthly fee, for you to buy special diet foods, or the need to follow a list of complicated rules.

15 Habits of People Who Have Effectively Lost Over 20 – 30lbs and Kept it Off

1. Do not eliminate foods or deem certain foods as bad or “off limits”

With all the restrictive diets flooding our tv’s and computer screens you would think the only way to lose weight would be to completely eliminate food groups and only live off kale and water. Well that is not the case. Most people who lose weight and sustain their weight loss do not do so by removing certain foods completely from their diet but finding a way to fit them into a healthier lifestyle. For weight loss to be sustainable your lifestyle needs to be sustainable.

2. Develop routines and make it your lifestyle

Losing weight has everything to do with creating healthier habits. To do this you need to switch up your routines. Basically, if you do what you always do then you are going to get what you always get. Once you have created new routines and stick with them those routines will eventually turn into habits and become your new lifestyle. Keep in mind that it takes 21 days to form a new habit so don’t give up on those new routines so quick. Also, don’t try to overhaul your life in one week. Slow and steady friends. Too much to soon will cause you to burn out and get discouraged.

3. Eat clean (er) foods

Basically clean eating means eating foods that are minimally processed, if processed at all, and closest to their natural state. When you eat clean foods your body receives more nutritious foods, which means it will be nourished and statisfied longer.

4. Have an accountability system

Accountability systems are so important with losing weight. They help you measure success, identify issues, and motivate as you move forward. I personally use my scale to hold me accountable. That is what works for me. I also pay attention to the way my clothes fit and how I look in pictures. I know the picture thing might sound weird but for many years I hid behind my kids in pitcures because I hated the way I looked. One reader suggested always looking at yourself in a mirror, front and back. I think the picture and mirror tip comes down to not hiding from yourself. Hold yourself accountable. Now I am not suggesting that you become obsessive with the scale or mirror. Not at all. But having an accoutabitly system is very effective in helping to lose weight and sustain that weight loss.

5. Practice portion control

Once you embrace and learn the concept of portion control is when you realize no food is truly off limits. The saying “everything in moderation” absolutely rings true in the world of sustainable weight loss.

6. Tracking food

Next to portion control, tracking food is one of the most powerful tools with losing weight. In order to make any changes with food you need to know what you are eating and more importantly how much. Some people will say that counting calories or tracking food is tedious and too time consuming. Yes it does take a little time up front however the rewards in my opinion far out weigh any inconvenience. Plus, once you become more aware of the food you are eating you may not need to track as much. However, I have ALWAYS found it helpful to fall back on tracking whenever I have gotten off track.

7. Prioritize exercise

In order to reach your goal weight and sustain that weight loss you have to prioritize exercise. When you combine a healthy diet with exercise you will see results. Not only will your body change and look better but your mood will change and you will have much more energy.  Now don’t get scared cause I am not saying you need to run marathons or spend hours in the gym. But you do need to get sweaty a few times a week. Find what works for your lifestyle and make a commitment to exercise 3-4 times a week.

8. Eat every few hours

I hate being hungry. When I am hungry I tend to get headaches, crabby, and become totally fixated on food. It really is not a pretty sight. So I have learned that instead of eating 3 bigger meals with long periods of time in-between I do much better with eating 5 smaller meals a day. This helps keep me satisfied all day and prevents me (most of the time) from making bad food choices.

9. Find healthy substitutions for favorite foods

I think the biggest myth with losing weight is you must give up your favorite foods. This is not true at all. In fact, I have found it to be the exact opposite. If you want to lose weight and sustain that weight lost you need to find a way to continue enjoying the foods you love. Once you start to feel deprived is when your efforts to create healthier habits will crumble. You want to create eating habits you can live with forever.

10. Stay hydrated

I never really concerned myself with hydration. I always thought I drank enough water. However, once I started drinking smoothies in the morning I realized that maybe I was not properly hydrated before. Because when I drink smoothies I feel alert all day, never get headaches, and have a ton of energy that lasts me all the way till night. When I don’t drink them I feel the opposite. Drinking my smoothies not only give me a good dose of fruits and veggies but it also gives me a lot of water and liquid to hydrate my body. For me it is difficult to fully hydrate my body with just drinking water all day. If that works for you great but I have found smoothies to really help with hydration.  If you find yourself tired all the time and not having energy try doing more to hydrate yourself because that could be the issue.

11. Meal plan along with preparing meals and snacks ahead of time.

Creating a menu plan and preparing your foods ahead of time helps you become more intentional with the food you are eating. When you are intentional you think before you eat and most likely will make better food choices. Both of these tools – used together – serve as the roadmap and vehicle for a healthy lifestyle. Without either of them I would never know what I am eating and certainly would not have the food available when I am ready to eat. And you know what happens next? Yep, take out or quick unhealthy snacks. Taking the time to menu plan and then preparing the foods that you can ahead of time will make such a big difference with your weight loss efforts.

12. Have a cut off time everyday with eating.

This has been one of my go to weight loss habits. Late night eating has always been an issue for me as I am sure it is for other people too. By giving myself a cut off time I am able to control my night time calories. This habit, as with others I have mentioned, keeps my intentional with my eating. My personal cut off time is 7:00pm so I know if the clock says past 7pm and I am eating more than likely I am eating unnecessary calories. Now your cut off time can be whatever works for you. I know some people work crazy schedules and 7pm does not work for them. The point is to stop eating by a certain time to prevent overeating. It has work wonders for me and I believe it can really help you in meeting your weight loss goals.

13. Have a max weight for the scale

This is not something I have practice but I think I will start. I know some people do not like using the scale but for me it works. I weigh myself every week to keep me in check. I try to post my weekly weigh in on my FB page and blog every week or so. Sometimes I am a slacker and go a few weeks without posting. But I will tell you when I start to see the number go up and up that is enough incentive for me to refocus and get back on track. I love the idea of having a max weight because then it gives you a little flexibility but always you are giving yourself a limit.

14. Cook at home

One OYS reader wrote “weight loss begins and ends in the kitchen”. I absolutely loved this and couldn’t agree more. Early on in my weight loss journey I learned that if I wanted my weight loss to be sustainable I needed to learn to cook real food at home. Trying to lose weight and survive off boxed diets meals was not sustainable. When you cook at home you control the ingredients, portions, and are able to prepare food that you enjoy.

15. Never stop

Even though I did not put the other habits in any kind of order I did want to put this one last. I want you to leave with this. Losing weight and sustaining that healthy lifestyle is a process and journey. It is never over. I have said this many times before but I will say it again – there will be times where you think you got this whole weight loss thing down then there will be other times where you eat a box of thin mints and feel like you lost all control. But no matter how bad you think you “slipped up” never stop trying. Always keep moving forward.
Those are the 15 habits I came across from people who have effectively lost 20 – 30lb or more. I hope you find these encouraging and helpful as you move through your weight loss journey.
Credit : organizeyourselfskinny.com

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