Presented by WW (formerly Weight Watchers) in Partnership with ClassPass
If you feel like your schedule for eating, sleeping, working, working out, and just living has been upended over the past year-plus, you’re not alone. As we transition into a new season, you might be thinking about creating new habits, getting back to old routines, or shying away from some not-so-great ones.
That said, it can be overwhelming to know where (or even how) to start building healthier habits without completely upending your entire life. That’s why making some small, simple shifts to your everyday routines is the ultimate form of self-care that you can start practicing no matter where you are and what your health and wellness goals may be.
So, if you’re considering how you want to start getting healthier and losing weight (if that’s part of your goals), here are 8 things to keep in mind:
Give yourself a break.
Before you do anything else, take a minute to practice a little bit of self-compassion. This is a moment in time that none of us have ever experienced before. So, if you feel like things are out of your control or that stress-eating has become a regular part of your routine, don’t beat yourself up. We’ve had a collective rough time recently, and reacting in less-than-helpful ways is normal. Simply giving yourself the space to acknowledge this can help you reset and make the choices that feel right for you.
Instead of vowing to overhaul your routine overnight, start where you are, and focus on what you can control right now—that may mean tomorrow’s lunch, a weekend trip to the park, or carving out time on Sunday to plan and prepare meals for the week. Keeping it as simple as possible is your first step toward doing things that are repeatable, and repeatability is key to building healthier habits for the long-haul.
Plan for regular meals and snacks throughout the day—it might mean having a bite every three to four hours or always stashing something to munch on at your WFH set-up or in a gym bag. This will help you stay full and satisfied, and keep you from feeling ravenous going into your next meal. You’ll also be less inclined to immediately opt in on a second serving and take a moment to notice if there’s something else you need instead. Ultimately, your personal schedule is your strategy—find a cadence that works for you and stick with it.
Think more produce, more often.
Whenever you can, try to get more fruits and veggies onto your plate. Making an omelette? Clear out your crisper drawer for the ultimate veggie breakfast. Going out for tacos? Double veggies, please. Pouring yourself a big glass of water? Throw in some fresh or frozen fruit for DIY spa water. This is a great way to reframe how you think about eating on a weight loss journey—instead of eliminating or restricting entire foods or food groups, focus on all the delicious, nutrient-dense foods you can add to your meals and snacks.
Build satisfying meals and snacks.
If Step 1 is planning when to eat, Step 2 is thinking about what to eat. Alone, foods rich in protein or fiber can help you feel fuller longer, but the combo is particularly impactful for helping you feel satisfied and maintain a stable energy-level. Need some inspo about how to pair fiber-filled carbs and lean sources of protein? For snacks, it could look like Greek yogurt with berries, a spoonful of nut butter with a banana, or a sliced apple with part-skim cheese. For meals, you might make avocado toast with an egg or a bright salad with grilled chicken.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
While there’s no direct link between water and weight loss, proper hydration helps you stay alert, energized, and keeps everything running smoothly in your body—from temperature to digestion and more! That said, it’s so easy to get home after a busy day of errands or log off after back-to-back Zoom meetings and realize you’ve barely had any water. Everyone’s needs are different, but most of us can meet our goals by aiming for 9-12 cups per day, plus a few extra after a tough workout. If you find yourself struggling, try using visual cues (a cute water bottle or your favorite glass) or auditory cues (alarms on your phone or computer) to help remind you to fill up throughout the day. The WW app is another great tool—there’s a built-in water-tracking feature to help you keep tabs on how much you’re drinking.
Make sleep a priority.
Getting enough shut-eye is one of the most underrated aspects of any weight-loss or wellness journey; sleep can have a domino effect on everything you do in a day. If you’ve barely slept, it’s that much more challenging to make it to that early-morning workout class or prep food for dinner. Sleep, or lack thereof, can also impact hormones that affect how physically hungry we feel on a daily basis. While you may not be able to add 10 extra minutes to your sleeping time (much less two hours!), knowing that lack of sleep can lead you to feel hungrier can help you take action right now, and inspire you to head to bed a little earlier, next time.
Move more—in whatever way works for you.
Adding extra activity to your day is a great compliment to any other changes you’re making in the interest of health and wellness. But that doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym every day or commit to running miles each week (unless you want to, then by all means, go for it!). Any activity is beneficial, so think about how you can sneak more movement into your day—no matter how short it might be. Your goals could be as simple as standing up between meetings, taking a 15-minute walk after dinner, or streaming one new workout from ClassPass each week. Remember this: The best type of activity is one you actually enjoy, because that’s what you’re more likely to do consistently.
Looking to start a weight-loss journey? Check out these science-backed weight-loss tips from WW.