The top five habits of people who lose weight

Don't eat fruit. Eat fruit. Don't eat carbs at night. Don't eat carbs at all. There are so many different health 'rules' touted by various health experts, many of which completely contradict each other. So what are the habits that really do lead to successful, long-term weight loss? We asked leading Australian dietician Susie Burrell, author of Losing the Last 5kg and the just released Lose Weight Fast! to share the tips that have helped her clients to lose weight for good.

4:41PM, Feb 14

1.     Plan your meals

Burrell says knowing what you'll be eating for the week ahead is the key to avoiding those situations where we reach for unhealthy foods because we're hungry and there's nothing else to eat. "People who lose weight … set aside time at the beginning of the week to make sure they've got all the foods they need on hand. They've got all the ingredients they need to cook healthy meals, they're taking their lunch to work," Burrell says. "That's the number one rule of long-term dietary success."

2.     Eat breakfast early

Not eating breakfast, or having it very late in the day, is a common way people sabotage weight loss. "The metabolism burns more calories in the first half of the day, and studies always show breakfast eaters to have a lower body weight than non-breakfast eaters," Burrell explains. She says eating breakfast also helps to prevent over-eating later in the day. So how early should you be tucking into your Weet-Bix? "People who are looking to lose weight should eat breakfast early in the morning; before 8am, but the earlier the better."

3.     Prioritise your vegie intake

Filling up on salad and vegetables so you have less room for more high-calorie foods is a habit Burrell says has helped so many of her clients to lose weight for good. "At lunch and dinner they have serves of salad and vegetables, which means that they get full and get all the vitamins and minerals they need." If you dread eating vegetables, pick just one or two that you like (or dislike the least!) and always have some handy to add to your lunch and dinner.

4.     Regulate your alcohol intake

While an alcohol detox such as Feb Fast or Dry July can be an effective way to kick-off your weight loss, Burrell says it's not necessary to completely cut your beloved wine, beer or spirits. "Watch your alcohol intake and learn to regulate it," she says. "[People who lose weight] know what their alcohol limits are, they know they can have one glass of wine every night, or they just drink on the weekends. They have a clear rule in their head about how much alcohol they are going to drink."

5.     Compensate

Burrell's fifth and final top tip is compensating. She explains: "People who control their weight successfully usually don't ban certain foods, but when they do have a heavy meal they compensate with a lighter meal. Or if they've had parties for a few nights in a row, they'll have a few nights of light meals. They can compensate when they've overdone things a little bit, and they are very attuned to that."

Have the above tips helped you to lose weight? Share your advice on Facebook and Twitter.

The top 10 foods for weight loss

Susie's new book Lose Weight Fast! (RRP $27.95) is out now.

By Erin Van Der Meer


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