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4 Habits to Spur Weight Loss and Help You Shed Those Unwanted Pounds

Let’s face it, if weight loss were easy, 66 percent of American adults wouldn’t be considered overweight or obese. But the fact is this: losing weight takes a combination of moving enough, eating the right foods, and having the motivation to continue doing it. And it can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re first getting started.

Instead of trying to change everything at once, you can see better results by focusing on one or two habits at a time. By making small, consistent changes to your lifestyle, you can spur weight loss and finally shed those unwanted pounds for good.

To help you get started, we’re giving you four healthy habits that can help you reach your weight loss goals, whether you want to lose five pounds or 50.

Make a Plan

When you want to lose weight, you need to start with an action plan. That plan should include how you’re going to burn more calories than you take in. It should detail what you’re going to eat and how much of it you’re going to eat. Your plan should discuss what types of physical activity you’re going to engage in and for how long. A good plan also includes how to handle difficult situations, such as stress eating, and the setbacks that inevitably happen in every person’s journey.

If developing a weight loss plan feels overwhelming, or you don’t know where to begin, find some support. Engage family and friends to get healthy with you and talk to your family doctor about the best options for you and your body. If you have serious health problems, your doctor can advise you on the best practices for your condition.

Start Your Day With Protein

It doesn’t matter if your breakfasts have always consisted of sugary-sweet cereal or were non-existent when weight loss is your goal, you should start your day with a healthy serving of protein. Not only can eating breakfast kick-start your metabolism and increase the number of calories you burn throughout the day, but by making breakfast a protein-rich meal, you stay fuller for longer and reduce the risk of running to the vending machine before lunch.

Easy morning options that are high in protein include:

* Hard-boiled eggs
* Peanut butter and apple slices
* Greek yogurt
* Turkey and lettuce wraps
* Handful of almonds

Stay Hydrated

Increasing your water intake can help with weight loss in multiple ways. First, the body needs water for almost all its functions, including weight loss. What’s more, often times, the brain misreads thirst cues, causing you to think you’re hungry, when really, it’s water that your body needs. Increasing your water intake can also improve how you use energy and increase the number of calories you burn by stimulating your metabolism.

If you’re working out, you should strive to drink half of your body weight in ounces a day. So if you weigh 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces of water. If that seems impossible, don’t panic: studies show that even 1–2 liters of water a day can significantly aid in weight loss.

Don’t Diet. Make Healthier Choices, Instead!

Although there’s a new diet guaranteed to help you lose weight every week, in most cases, diets don’t work. Sure, they may help you drop 20 pounds in a month, but two months later, that 20 pounds has found its way back to your hips, along with five more.

If your meal plan for weight loss feels more like a diet than healthy eating, it’s time to take a closer examination of what you’re eating. Avoid any food plan that excludes whole groups of foods and doesn’t include food you don’t want to give up long term.

Instead, keep it simple by opting for real foods in appropriate quantities. Depending on your weight loss goals, it’s often recommended that women eat a minimum of 1,200 calories and men a minimum of 1,600 calories a day. Get these calories through whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats for the best results.

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