I lost 100 pounds by following 5 small daily habits

In 2013, after giving birth to my first child, I weighed 245 pounds. Even though I’m a yo-yo dieter and have lost 20-40 pounds since I was 12, this time I had to lose over 100 pounds.

After experiencing gestational diabetes, I knew I had to achieve a healthy weight so I wouldn’t develop type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.

After 25 years, I finally learned how to lose weight and keep it off by ditching fad diets. This time, I instead improved my digestion while adopting a diet based on real foods.

I met my initial weight loss goal of losing 100 pounds per year after my second pregnancy in April 2017. I followed 5 daily habits to lose that 100 pounds.

Nissa Graun pictured before (L) and after (R) losing 100 pounds.
Nissa Graun

1. Start each day with a healthy start

The first routine is that I start each day by doing something healthy, like walking or resistance training.

My body has been trained to wake up bright and early after having children. So once the kids were old enough to be more independent in the mornings, I took advantage of those early hours when I was the first one up and got in some exercise right away. That way, there are no excuses later in the day if I feel tired or too busy.

Back when I started this routine, working out meant hitting the elliptical in the morning. But these days, depending on my schedule, I might start the day with a walk or resistance training.

According to Dr. Andrew Huberman, forming habits that are difficult to maintain is best done within the first 8 hours of waking up. Of course, if you can’t walk or exercise in the morning, I recommend finding another healthy morning routine.

2. Meals focus on protein

The second habit I changed to lose 100 pounds was that I focused on protein at every meal. Preparing a protein-rich breakfast is important if you want to lose weight and stay in shape. Take protein as the basis of all Meals are equally important.

Protein is the macronutrient that keeps you most full, meaning the more protein you eat, the fewer total calories you consume throughout the day; Eating less than you burn is an important factor in weight loss.

Protein is also important because getting enough protein will help you maintain and build lean muscle. The more lean muscle you have, the higher your metabolism.

It’s especially important to skip the donuts, bagels, and cereal at breakfast and instead start your day with a protein-rich meal.

When you start out with a high-carb meal, it can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate uncontrollably throughout the day. These changes will lead to cravings and hunger making it nearly impossible to maintain a calorie deficit.

If you are the type of person who cuts free time on weekends or even holidays, if you want to set yourself up for more success, then give up that mindset now.

At a minimum, you still want to focus on eating a protein-rich breakfast. If at the end of the meal you have room left over for a pancake or cake, try having a few bites instead of the whole thing and see if that’s enough to satisfy your craving.

3. Ditch processed snacks

The third habit I changed was that I swapped highly processed snacks for real food. While this may seem obvious, I don’t think everyone understands the difference between whole foods, whole foods, and processed junk foods.

Processed foods are almost anything that comes in a box or package. And yes, this includes dishes that say “keto-friendly” or “low-calorie” on the packaging. Although food manufacturers design their packaging to make these foods appear to fit your diet, highly processed foods are also designed to make you eat more of them.

Studies show that people who include too many processed foods in their diet eat more calories each day than those who focus mainly on whole foods.

I’m not saying you can’t eat any processed foods if you want to lose weight, because you can, and I actually can too. But I have the greatest success when I eat about 80% to 90% of my diet from whole foods — things like meat, vegetables, fruit, eggs, and cheese.

These days, if I want more processed foods—something like dark chocolate or chips and salsa—I usually wait until later in the day. This is because by then I’m already nourishing my body with a variety of nutritious foods, so it’s less likely that any food I eat will increase my hunger or lead to a binge. eat and drink.

I’m also careful to include these foods in my macros so I don’t eat too much. If I don’t have any calories left at the end of the day or my protein intake is too low, my meal will have to wait until tomorrow night.

4. Track each meal

The fourth habit I changed was tracking each meal. I’ve been tracking my meals for a long time, but I’ve never been as consistent as I should be to get long-term results.

In the past, I started my day strong by tracking my breakfast, but by lunch or maybe dinner, I found myself eating multiple meals and guessing at the calories.

While it can be a great strategy for weight maintenance, if you still have a lot of weight to lose and aren’t making the progress you want, tracking each meal is important.

Yes, that means you should watch dinner. Even if it’s a restaurant meal where you don’t know the exact calories, it’s important to make your best guess. Even on my days off, I keep track of what I eat.

The main reason I’ve become so strict about tracking my meals, even on weekend nights and holidays, is because I’ve found that when I give myself permission to not track, I also give myself permission to overeat. level.

Those little passions started to add up and hinder my progress. Since steady weight loss depends on consistent habits, I finally started getting the results I wanted when I forced myself to track every meal.

5. Give up the “All or nothing” mentality

The fifth habit I changed to lose 100 pounds was that I abandoned the “all or nothing” diet mentality.

I used to be a yo-yo dieter. I’ll start a diet, make one small mistake, throw my hands up in the air and say, “Screw it, I might as well just eat junk food for the rest of the day.”

It was this “all or nothing” dieting mentality that kept me stuck in yo-yo dieting for decades. While part of it was that I needed a major mindset shift, another part was that I was eating too little during the week to speed up my physiological processes happening on the weekends.

Additionally, I ate a lot of junk food and didn’t have a lot of whole foods that kept me feeling full. All of this led to me binging on all the junk food I could get my hands on just to keep my body from feeling constantly hungry.

I blame myself for being weak. In fact, I’m not weak, I’m too strict during the week, leading to me having to diet non-stop on the weekends.

Learning how to nourish my body with more nutrient-dense foods and eat enough has helped me escape the “all or nothing” diet mentality.

One mistake doesn’t mean I have to throw out my entire diet and start over. It just means I made a choice that took me a little off track. But as long as I get back on track with my next choice, there won’t be much, if any, damage done.

I believe the only way to deal with the overeating that society places on us is to stop making excuses for ourselves. We need to realize that we are all busy people and we all face choices.

Whether or not you make progress on your weight loss plan depends on making the right choices more consistently.

That doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate your child’s birthday with a piece of cake or that you can’t sample a small candy bar or two on Halloween. It just means you have to make more good choices when faced with holidays and celebrations.

Nissa Graun is a health author, coach, content creator, and mother of two amazing boys.

All opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own.

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