When it comes to fitness and weight loss, there is a wealth of information out there—some harmful, some helpful. But there is a lot of it, and at times, it can be overwhelming, not knowing what advice to heed. Weight loss is difficult, but if you know what you’re doing, it’s not impossible.

To help simplify matters, here is a list of habits that, used properly in your daily routine, can help you lose weight more easily:

1. Drink Water Before Meals

Studies show drinking water before meals helps you to lose weight. This is likely due to the fact that a belly filled with water curbs your appetite, making you less likely to overeat. Drinking water also helps promote digestion, diminishing bloating and constipation and that overall sluggish feeling. When you don’t feel sluggish, you’re more likely find the energy to exercise.

2. Plan Your Meals

When you’re ill-prepared, you’re more likely to reach for an unhealthy food option. Plan ahead with some time-saving meal ideas. Kick start your metabolism by eating breakfast, and keep it burning by eating multiple, smaller meals throughout the day. Smaller, more frequent meals allows your body to better use the nutrients you feed it, which makes it a more efficient machine.

3. Focus on a Calorie Deficit

As much as our society wants to fight calorie counting, it is still crucial to fat loss. It’s easy to point the finger at carbs, insulin or sugar, but at the end of the day, excess calories are what lead to excess fat. This isn’t as simple as the “exercise more, eat less” approach. You could exercise more, but if you also eat more, you cancel your deficit. You could eat less, but if you also move less, again you cancel your deficit. Nutrition that come from the right foods play a key role, but to achieve the best results, first focus on the calorie deficit.

4. Lift!

There’s more to exercise than sweating it up on the treadmill. Adding weight lifting to your exercise routine will help build lean muscle, which aids in burning fat. Can’t afford the gym? Make use of affordable resistance bands. There are also plenty of common household items that will suffice.

5. Get Good Sleep

For many, this is easier said than done, but nonetheless, proper sleep plays a scientific role in weight loss. Hunger is controlled by two hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone that is produced in your fat cells. The less leptin you produce, the more you feel hungry. The more ghrelin you produce, the more you arouse hunger while also reducing the amount of calories you burn and, subsequently, increasing the amount fat you store. Sleeping less than six hours activates the area of your brain that limits leptin and triggers ghrelin. In order to lose fat, you need to control leptin and ghrelin, but sleep deficiency makes that extremely difficult.

6. Maintain a Positive Attitude

Attitude is everything, and fitness is no exception. Don’t sabotage yourself by approaching fat loss and fitness with the preconceived notion that you will fail. This includes refraining from harmful self-talk and behaviors like looking into the mirror and calling yourself fat or disgusting. Bottom line: don’t treat yourself as less-than. Visualize your success, affirm yourself, work hard, and you will shed those excess pounds.

Sources:
Burn the Fat Blog
CNN
Daily Burn
Daily Mail
Cosmopolitan
PMC
U.S. News