Lasting, healthy weight loss demands that you transform your eating and exercise habits. But many other choices you make each day, such as how much time you spend sleeping or surfing the Internet, can also make a difference.
The habits described here and in the Harvard Special Health Report Lose Weight and Keep it Off can help you move toward your healthy weight-loss goal.
Set small, specific, and realistic goals
Perhaps you’d like to be the same size you were in high school or when you got married, but that would mean dropping more than 50 pounds. Don’t go there — not yet, at least. Set a more realistic goal of losing 5% to 10% of your weight, and give yourself plenty of time and some flexibility to reach that goal, keeping in mind that most people take at least six months to achieve that degree of healthy weight loss. Also try to avoid generalized goals, such as “I should eat less at dinner and exercise more.” Instead, set specific and short-term (that is, daily or weekly) goals, such as these:
- I will choose a few dinner recipes and shop for the ingredients on Sunday.
- I will bring a healthy lunch from home instead of going out at least three times next week.
- I will call a friend to take a walk after work on Monday and Wednesday.
- I will decrease exposure to problematic food (“stimulus control”) to avoid temptation, such as keeping cookies away from sight in the kitchen.
Eat breakfast slowly — and mindfully — every morning
Many people skip breakfast because they’re too rushed or they aren’t hungry. Try getting up 15 minutes earlier (which means going to bed earlier so you don’t sacrifice sleep time) to make time for breakfast. Practice eating slowly by putting down your utensil or sipping water, coffee, or tea between bites. Ideally, you should spend at least 20 minutes on each meal, but that may be more realistic during your midday or evening meal; choose one to get started. Set a timer to check yourself.
From these habits or others in the Special Health Report, choose the one that seems the most feasible for you, and try to stick with it for a week or so. It’s important to make these healthy habits routine. Once you find yourself doing one fairly consistently, add another. Over time you will realize that many of these habits can be interconnected.
For more ideas and information on healthy weight loss, buy Lose Weight and Keep It Off, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren
Psalm 38:3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; There is no health in my bones because of my sin.
Matthew 9:12-13 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. “But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Luke 5:31-32 And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Exodus 15:2 “The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him.
Acts 3:16 “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.
Exodus 23:25 “But you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst. Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Psalm 32:4-5 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
Psalm 149:4 For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.
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