5 Lifestyle Choices that can Burn Fat

What’s the point of dieting if we’re only going to gain the weight back once we stop? Why are personal trainers telling us that only about 20% of the people who lose weight are able to maintain their new weight for more than a year before gaining it all back?

In the conversations we’ve had with dieticians, personal trainers, and other fitness professionals we discovered that the key to losing weight permanently has more to do with our lifestyle choices than it does with dieting or depriving our bodies of calories.

Consider for a moment that 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, and they’ll spend another $33 billion on dieting “solutions” to help them. While some may be successful in the short term, once they achieve their target weight, they’re likely to go back to their previous lifestyles…and back to their previous weight.

A personal trainer we talked to with a fitness center in Canary Wharf (London) told us that he’s helping his clients overcome this “yo-yo” effect by taking their focus off dieting and putting it towards making lifestyle choices that promote fat loss. Whatever your weight loss success has been like in the past, here are five lifestyle changes that are sure to help you achieve greater success losing weight and keeping it off permanently.

First, consider making the following two modifications to your diet:

  • Up your intake of water: it’s a natural appetite suppressant, and it is essential for the metabolization of stored fats and carbs. While research suggests drinking an 8-ounce glass with each meal, consider the impact of replacing your morning latte with lemon water. Try making that lifestyle change every other day…and keep it up for a full year. See what you think of your weight loss results with this single strategy alone...

  • Swap in more high-protein foods: Studies show that choosing to eat more foods high in protein leads to appetite reduction and we have more control over our eating. Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and pistachios all come in easily transferable packets – take advantage of them. Here’s a few more ideas to help you add more high-protein foods to your diet.

Second, be more physically active:

Unless you have a specific fitness goal in mind, ANY physical activity counts. Being more physically active is, after all, a choice. During the pandemic, people got innovative in terms of how they got in their exercise routines, and those same strategies apply today. Doing planks, body weight squats, or sit-ups during commercials or in your office is no less effective than it was during the days when we were “sheltering in place.”

Here are a few simple changes you can make to increase your physical activity each day:

  • Choose stairs over escalators

  • Do laps in your house while you’re talking on the phone

  • Yoga / Pilates while you’re watching TV

The truth is that you can get in a surprisingly effective workout in as little as 20 minutes.

Third, manage your stress levels:

Stress is unavoidable, but how you manage it is very much in your control. If left unchecked, stress can prevent you from losing weight. It leads to sugar cravings, and our bodies are wired to store sugar, especially after stressful situations. The danger is that this excess sugar gets stored in the form of abdominal fat, which can be especially troublesome to burn off.

You can find thousands of methods to manage stress online, but it’s up to you to take those steps - you need to make a deliberate effort to adopt more stress management techniques in your life. Breathing techniques, reciting self-affirmations, even putting your phone away for extended periods of time are all healthy habits to manage the effects of stress, and keep the excess weight off.

Fourth, make sure you’re getting enough sleep:

In a recent study, it was discovered that people who got less sleep than others had up to a 9% increase in belly fat – don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep in your battle against unwanted fat.

In fact, there is new research to show that getting a good night’s sleep has a direct link to the amount of food people eat during the day — almost 300 fewer calories on average! If you maintain that trend over the course of three years, that’s over 25-pounds of weight loss.

That’s a remarkable achievement if you can change your lifestyle to accommodate just one additional hour of sleep each night.

Five, practice of mindfulness:

Losing weight has just as much to do with our brains as it does with our stomachs! Mindfulness is simply the act of taking the time to consider your habits around eating:

  • Why are you choosing to eat what you eat?

  • Are you really hungry, or are you bored?

  • How will you feel if you decide to eat what you’re choosing to eat?

Once we stop for a moment to consider our habits surrounding food, we’re in a much stronger position to make more sensible meal choices. This fifth and final lifestyle choice is essentially about slowing down our pace and evaluating our relationship with food. It sounds a little corny if you’ve never tried it before but having the discipline to pause for a moment before we indiscriminately shovel food into our mouths is a huge change that can help you lose weight permanently.


How many of us find it all too easy to make up excuses for making significant, positive changes to our lifestyles, whether they be dieting changes or starting a new workout regimen? Fortunately, this is an area of our lives where personal trainers and fitness professionals can be tremendously resourceful in helping us to cultivate lifestyle changes into long-term habits that produce favorable, permanent results.

Much of the information above came from the personal trainers we’ve talked to. A simple search of “pt near me” in your browser can be your first step to finally discovering how these and other lifestyle changes can lead to permanent weight-loss results in your life.

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