Changing habits, especially ones you’ve had for many years, isn’t easy. But breaking these five unhealthy habits can make a difference in your weight, which is why we encourage you to eliminate them for two solid weeks.
- No TV while eating — and only as much as you exercise.
Studies show that watching TV — or any other “screen time,” such as computer use — is a driver of weight gain. You aren’t moving, and there’s a good chance you’re also sipping or nibbling on something. So spend only as much leisure time watching TV — or in front of any screen — as you spend exercising. That way, you’re breaking the bad habit of mindless eating and adding the good habit of being more active.
- No sugar — except what’s naturally found in fruit.
If you want something sweet, eat fruit. Otherwise, stay away from sugar and sweetened foods, including table sugar, brown sugar, honey, jam and jelly, candy, desserts and soda. Alcohol also counts as a sweet. Keep in mind that many artificially sweetened foods like candy, cookies, cakes, ice cream and yogurt can still pack lots of calories. Relying on fruit to satisfy your cravings is a healthier, lower-calorie habit.
- No snacks except fruits and vegetables.
Common snacks typically have a lot of calories and little nutritional value. If you’re hungry between meals, eat only fruits and vegetables and nothing else. Snacking on healthy fruits and vegetables a couple of times a day can help you manage your weight. Stock your home with a variety of ready-to-eat vegetables and fruits.
- Moderate meat and low-fat dairy.
Limit total daily consumption of meat, poultry and fish to 3 ounces — the size of a deck of cards. If you consume dairy products, use only skim milk and low-fat varieties, and consume them in moderation — about two servings daily. Full-fat dairy products contain saturated fat that can raise your cholesterol. Even lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry have some saturated fat and cholesterol and can be high in calories.
- No eating at restaurants — unless the meal fits the Lose It! program.
Eating out is associated with weight gain. The tantalizing sights and smells of a restaurant, deli counter, bakery display, food court or concession stand entice you with high-calorie menu items and large portions. If you must eat out, make sure you order foods and beverages that fit the habits in this plan.
Changing habits is challenging, but with confidence and the right strategies, you can succeed. And remember: Your immediate goal is to stick to these changes for only two weeks.