It’s been over five years since I decided to take responsibility for my health and change my lifestyle. As a result, I’ve lost 40 pounds of fat and managed to keep it off. Here are the seven habits I followed, which made a huge difference on my weight-loss journey. If you want to lose weight, or just want to feel healthier and more energetic, I highly recommend introducing a few of these into your routine:
1. I ask my body permission.
On my journey, I was so determined to become fit and slim that I exercised like crazy although my body told me to stop numerous times. I ignored my tiredness, aches, and pains and kept pushing. I was proud that my mind was so strong and I could persevere. I ignored my body until one day I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I hurt my knees and it was painful to walk, not to mention do squats, lunges, or run.
Don’t ignore what your body is telling you. Now, I ask my body permission: “Is it OK if I do another 10 minutes of cardio?” Sometimes it says yes, and sometimes it tells me just to stretch. Sometimes when I’m tired and not sure if I should go to the gym, my body tells me to hit the bed. The same goes with food. Instead of trying to figure out what to eat and what would be healthiest, I ask my body what it feels like having. The answer almost always pops into my head immediately.
2. I learn something new every day.
I have a list of personal and professional skills that I want to learn this year, or in the next five years, so I dedicate a few hours a day to learning them. I watch online video courses, read books, or listen to audiobooks to advance in certain areas of my life. These skills may be public speaking, web design, learning a new language, mastering food photography, or writing skills. Ask yourself, what skills would help you grow? Identify them, prepare a plan for how to learn them, and commit at least an hour a day to study.
3. I have a green smoothie for breakfast every day.
Dark leafy green vegetables are extremely healthy because they provide copious amounts of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes. So including a lot of them in your diet is essential if you want to become healthier and lose some weight.
Although I love salad, I can only chew limited amount of these veggies, so incorporating green smoothies into my diet has been an excellent way to up my intake of greens. Here’s my go-to recipe: ripe bananas, kale or spinach, berries or raw beetroot; add some ice water and blend until smooth.
4. I meditate for 20 minutes every day.
Numerous studies have shown that meditation helps relieve stress. Since emotional eating and stress are some of the major reasons for excess weight, a simple meditation practice can make a huge difference.
I started meditating in 2012 and aim to sit down in silence for at least 20 minutes a day. It has made a huge difference in my life: in understanding my behavior, dealing with stress, changing my eating habits, and finding my life purpose. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to improve his or her life.
5. I simplified my diet.
Food doesn’t need to be complicated. I have a green juice in the morning. I snack on fruit in the first part of the day. Then I eat some simply prepared veggies, often with beans or homemade hummus. Choose foods that you enjoy eating and that are healthy for you. Cook in large batches and prepare food in advance. Eat to live; don't live to eat.
6. I exercise regularly.
I discovered that I love to exercise and now do it at least six times a week. It’s an important and enjoyable part of my routine, and I feel that something’s missing in my day if I don’t exercise.
Exercise is beneficial to your physical and mental health, mood, productivity, and longevity. It also helps burn calories and get rid of excess fat faster. Find something that you enjoy doing, whether it is yoga, lifting weights, dancing, tennis, swimming, Zumba, belly dancing, or running. It’s vital that you move in a way that makes you happy; otherwise your efforts to exercise will not last for long.
7. I wake up early.
I’m a natural night owl, but changing my rhythm by waking up at 5 a.m. every day has made a significant difference to my energy levels, productivity, and mood. I practice yoga while watching the sun go up. I feel full of energy and connected to a higher power.
We all need energy, but energy does not only come with food. We can generate energy by controlling our focus, staying mindful, choosing to see beauty in others, and making a decision to be happy and positive on a daily basis.
Seeking more weight-loss inspiration? Check out a few more stories from mbg contributors: