We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. The best way to get lasting results when it comes to weight loss is to modify your lifestyle one manageable step at a time. So forget about attempting to do everything at once or trying to rely soley on willpower to pull you through. Just take it one moment at a time — that’s how you avoid feeling overwhelmed by your goals.
And that’s also what healthy people do. People who are (or have been) successful at losing weight, do so by setting a healthy routine and sticking to it. A day in the life of a healthy individual truly is unique in some very important ways.
Here’s how they do it: 24 hours of weight loss you can follow to see even more results on the scale.
6 AM – 7 AM
People who get in a fitness routine first thing in the morning tend to be more dedicated and lose weight more quickly, as well as maintain a healthy weight.
Several studies back this up. One study showed that working out before breakfast or early in the morning jump-starts your metabolism and directly combats the effects of eating high-calorie, high-fat diets.
Another study of over 500 people by the Mollen Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona revealed that 75 percent of people who worked out in the morning were more likely to do so on an everyday basis, while only half of those who worked out late in the afternoon maintained their fitness schedule.
Researchers also showed that early-morning exercise improves sleep quality. Other studies indicate that exercise improves cognitive function, meaning that a morning workout will likely make daily challenges a little less daunting.
Mindfulness, the practice of being fully present in the moment, is a big part of weight loss. It allows you to slow yourself down and focus on what you’re doing, rather than stressing about what you’re not doing. It also helps you enjoy food more, which keeps you in-tune with when your stomach’s full.
Studies are mixed these days on whether eating breakfast first thing in the morning, but newer ones do show it can lower the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes later in life.
Especially on days you exercise, eating a high-protein breakfast that will keep you full and focused throughout the day is a good idea. Diet-to-Go meals, for example, are packed with lean protein and fiber to help you stay strong until lunch.
If at all possible, consider leaving the car parked at home. Ride a bike. Take public transportation. Walk. Believe it or not, this will give you time to relax and unwind on your way in to work so that you can be your best.
A 2011 study published by the American Diabetes Association followed 123 overweight and obese women trying to lose weight over the span of a year and found that those who skipped the mid-morning snack lost weight more quickly than those who ate it.
Luckily, if you had that high-protein breakfast, this shouldn’t be a problem. Try taking a short walk instead. Or even doing some stretches. Get the blood flowing and get moving if at all possible.
Wait, what? Yep, that’s right. The huge dinnertime meal, a common practice in American culture, may actually be stalling your weight loss efforts.
A pair of studies, one published in 2016 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and one in 2013 published by the Obesity Society, followed women trying to lose weight and found that those who ate their largest meal at lunch, rather than dinner, lost the most weight.
Get up from your desk, take a walk, do some stretching. The key is to get the blood flowing, especially if you have a desk job that involves sitting all day.
Eat a smaller meal than you did at lunch, and try and make it as nutritionally balanced as possible: half fruits and/or veggies, a quarter lean protein and a quarter containing some sort of whole grain.
9:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Set your body into calm-mode to prepare it for sleep. Read a book. Watch some TV. Meditate. Relax. Do something to let your body know you’re ready to hit the hay.
(If you’re having trouble sleeping, try one of our 9 tried-and-true tricks for getting (and staying) asleep faster.)
A good night’s sleep (7-8 hours for most adults) is critical to weight loss. Numerous studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to issues such as increased appetite during the day, skipped exercise routines, more late-night snacking and lower impulse control.
Ensuring your body has enough time to catch the zzzz’s it needs will make tomorrow’s 24 hours of weight loss that much easier!
Author: Caitlin Hendee
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.