While fad diets may help you lose a significant amount of weight initially, they aren’t sustainable for the long haul. In addition, the severe restrictions of most fad diets often lead you to simply gain back more weight than you started with. This is called yo-yo dieting and it can actually lead to more weight gain than loss, not to mention making it even harder to lose weight over time. One of the most effective ways to lose weight is to build healthy habits that are sustainable for a lifetime. Here are 5 great habits to start building now to lose weight naturally.

  1. Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleeping habits would probably be the last thing that people think about when it comes to dieting. But how well rested you are has a direct impact on the choices you make. Studies show that when you are tired you are more prone to making bad decisions in general, but especially when it comes to food.

  1. Prepare Your Own Food

Preparing your own food offers a number of significant advantages over eating out when it comes to weight loss. When you put significant time and energy into preparing your own food, you are more likely to also take the time to sit down and enjoy it, rather than just scarfing it down. Appetizing pictures on the menu are also an enticement to drop your healthy eating habits and indulge. While there is certainly nothing wrong with eating out occasionally and even indulging, it shouldn’t be a regular habit. The good news is, with a variety of home delivery services like Thrive Market, preparing your own food has never been easier.

  1. Watch What You Drink

Cutting out just a single 20 oz soda per day will save you a whopping 250 to 400 calories. There is a great deal of evidence that even diet soda, loaded with artificial sweeteners can actually cause you to gain weight rather than lose it. Soda is also not the only drink that’s a diet killer. Sugar laden coffee drinks, juices and even energy drinks can all rack up calories and pack on the pounds. If carbonation is what you crave, invest in a water carbonator or buy plain sparkling water and sweeten it with a touch of real fruit juice.

  1. Stay Active

While working out or exercising is great, if you exercise an hour a day and spend the other 23 hours sitting or sleeping, it’s not going to do much to help you lose weight or even maintain a healthy weight. Staying active means finding ways of getting up off the couch or out from behind your desk throughout the day. There are a number of ways to pack some activity into your normal daily routine that don’t involve going to a gym or needing a shower afterwards. If you regularly use a copier at work and there are several options, choose to print to the farthest away copier instead of the closest. Smokers will almost always find a way to take smoke breaks throughout the day, so take a tip from them and get in a 10-15 minute walk break every few hours.

  1. Surround Yourself With Healthy People

Healthy people have healthy habits and those habits have a way of rubbing off on you. If you constantly spend time with people that lead an unhealthy lifestyle, they are going to influence you to do the same. If you spend time with people that love to hike, do yoga or eat clean, you may find yourself doing the same. Just remember, however, moderation in all things. You don’t have to ditch your couch potato friends entirely, just balance your time between people that love to veg and people that love veggies.

The best diet is one that you can sustain for a lifetime. The best diet is also more about building healthy habits than counting calories. Not all great diet habits have to do with your food choices either. Rather a healthy diet is often the natural outcome of a balanced, healthy lifestyle.