Creating new healthy habits can be a serious struggle. Good habits are difficult to form, especially when it comes to weight loss, but if you want something enough, motivation and consistency are sure to pay off. This is where habit stacking comes in. Habit stacking is essentially stacking new habits onto already formed habits. This creates a new healthy habit that can help you achieve your long term goals. Weight loss requires developing healthy habits in most areas of your life, including diet, sleep, and fitness. Here’s how to use habit stacking for weight loss.
What is ‘Habit Stacking’?
Habit stacking is a strategy where you stack a new habit onto an already formed, existing habit. Essentially you’re using something you already remember to do to remind you to do something else. For example, flossing before brushing your teeth or meditating while you wait for your morning coffee to brew. The key is to treat a habit stack like a single action instead of individual tasks. Be sure to chain small habits together that naturally fit. You don’t want them to feel burdensome, they should make sense together.
One of the ways habit stacking works is by a phenomenon called “synaptic pruning”. Synapses are connections between neurons in your brain that support your current behaviours. The more you do something, the stronger the connection becomes. When a connection goes unused, your brain eliminates it. This is why it’s so hard to form new habits, but habit stacking is one of the best ways to overcome this.
3 Benefits of Habit Stacking
1. Creates Healthier Habits
Everyone has habits in their daily life, from eating breakfast to brushing your teeth to washing your face. Habit stacking helps you create healthier habits by adding healthy activities onto your current habits. For example, drinking your morning coffee with a newspaper or book instead of scrolling social media, or taking your vitamins right before you eat breakfast.
2. Can Help You Lose Weight
If losing weight is a goal of yours, you can create healthy habit stacks that will help you drop those unwanted pounds. Losing weight is tough to do, especially if you’re stuck in your old ways. If nothing changes, nothing changes. Use habit stacking to incorporate more activity and healthier eating into your days so you can achieve your weight loss goals faster and keep them up long term.
3. Makes You More Productive
Once habits are formed they become a normal part of your life. You don’t even have to think about doing them anymore, reducing wasted time and helping you become more productive. The less decision making you have to do, the more time you have to get the important things in your life done.
Habit Stacking for Weight Loss: 7 Tips and Ideas
1. Yoga Before Bed
Yoga is a great way to relax and unwind, so it’s ideal to do before bed. Plus, it helps you stay healthy and lose weight. Make it part of your nighttime regimen to do a yoga session before bed. Even if it’s short, it still gets your body moving and boosts your metabolism.
2. Go for a Walk After a Healthy Lunch
Walking is so important to stay fit and healthy. If you don’t have time to do a full workout and shower on your lunch break, taking a walk is an excellent alternative. Taking a 15 to 20 minute walk after lunch is a great way to fit physical activity into your day. If you spend most of your day sitting down and being sedentary, daily walks can make a huge difference.
3. Use a Habit Tracking Calendar
Another good way to stay on top of your new habits is to track them. A habit tracking calendar is a great way to plan out your goals and track your progress as you start habit stacking. The ultimate goal is for your habit stacking habits to become second nature, but until then, tracking your habits will give you great motivation to stay on top of your goals!
4. When Your Work Day is Done, Put On Your Gym Clothes
Changing into your gym clothes right when your work day is over makes it more likely for you to actually go to the gym then just head home. Going home before you go to the gym allows for distractions and laziness to take over. Heading to the gym immediately after work is a great habit to form that will help you lose weight.
5. Plan Your Meals and Snacks Before Grocery Shopping
Going to the grocery store without a plan is a recipe for unhealthy eating. Plan your meals and snacks before going grocery shopping so you know exactly what you need to pick up and what you’re going to make. Exercise and healthy eating go hand in hand when it comes to weight loss. Planning out healthy meals and snacks ensures you’re on your way to your health and weight loss goals.
6. Do Simple Meal Prep After Grocery Shopping
It’s one thing to have a plan for your healthy meals and snacks, but it’s another to make sure you actually go through with the plan. Meal prep is a key way to do this. When you get home from the grocery store, immediately chop up and store produce for snacking and meal prep. It’s easy to put things in the fridge and let them go unused, but doing meal prep right when you get home will help ensure you’re making healthier eating choices.
7. Try a Habit Journal
The Reboot Journal is a habit journal for building positive, life-changing habits. It turns proven theory and concepts from science and psychology into practical daily habits. It will help you reduce decision fatigue and reliance on will power and memory and help you feel more in control of your life.
If you’re trying to lose weight, habit stacking may be just the thing that helps you reach your weight loss goals. Try our tips and ideas to get started!
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