The Best Way to Lose Weight and Keep It Off

I get asked all the time, “How does one keep weight off?” or “How do you lose weight?” The answer is simple and often takes a lot of work + patience.

three healthy and fit ladies
Great first impression image relevant to your topic

You’re reading this because you’re interested in nutrition, weight loss, maybe fitness, maybe weight management. Success in all of these topics boils down to one very basic and boring feature: HABITS.


If you’re still with me after that attention-grabbing introduction … here’s how we’re going to break down the process of choosing, developing, and finally automating habits that will lead you to weight loss, better fitness, <insert health or life goal here>.

First, define your goal.

Second, choose a behavior (ie, habit) that, if you did nothing else, would make reaching your goal easier.

Third, repeat behavior every day. If it’s helpful (it is for me), monitor your progress towards your goal.

Fourth, notice that your new habit takes little to no effort, is having its intended effect, and now you can move on to the next habit that will move you closer to your goal.

1. Define Your Goal Before Starting a New Habit

Actually defining what it is you want is:

  • often the most challenging, but
  • definitely the most important,

first step towards reaching any goal.

Heard of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based) goals? Take out a piece of paper, open a note-taking app or Google Doc and for 5 minutes, answering these questions:

  1. What’s the big goal? Go big make it Specific and Measurable – forget about Attainable for now.
    • Examples: Lose 20 lbs, be able to do 3 pull-ups in a row, earn X dollars/month, etc.
  2. How is it relevant to you? If it’s not relevant, make it so. I’m going to assume it’s relevant.
  3. By when? Set a time goal without worrying too much about it.
    • Examples, one year from now, in five years, by next December.

2. How to Choose a Healthy Habit

Thinking about your big goal, what is the one thing you can start doing NOW that will make reaching your goal easier?

This is trickier and less obvious. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds you might be tempted to say “stop eating”, or “skip lunch”, in order to reach your goal. However, will doing this make reaching your goal easier?

In the same example: Let’s say you tend to snack too much after dinner, even when you’re not hungry. You suspect this habit is causing you to slowly gain weight. What is one thing you can do to reduce or eliminate the snacking? Some ideas:

  1. Have a healthy afternoon snack, so that you’re not hangry at dinner.
  2. Instead of eating after dinner, do something that changes up your routine – go for a walk, play a game, read a book, or call a friend.
  3. Instead of your usual snack foods, munch on raw fruits or vegetables.

Pick one thing that will make reaching your goal easier and start doing it.

3. Make the Habit “Stick” Through Repetition

There’s some debate on how long/many times/many days you have to do something in order for it to become an automatic, or habitual action.

For example, do you remember how many days in a row you had to brush your teeth before you no longer had to think about it? I don’t. Sometimes, my kids still forget, and they’ve been brushing for years!

For habit-forming, I’ve read that it takes anywhere from 17 to 66 times/days of repetition. The point is, whatever action or behavior you choose to start, do it for at least – and probably longer than – two weeks (or 14 days).

After at least 14 days/times, then reassess if you like.

Obviously, what you’re doing here is “practicing” your new behavior. As unglamorous as “practice” and “habit-forming” sounds, it is absolutely effective and leads to the last – and best – step in this process …

4. Healthy Habit Success = Confidence

After you’ve crushed one healthy habit and made it an effortless part of your routine, you have the experience and knowledge to move on to the next habit.

Perseverance breeds success; success breeds confidence and more success.


We just broke down the process of choosing, developing, and finally automating habits that will lead you to weight loss, better fitness, or whatever behavior change you want to make in your life. Here are the four main steps:

1. Define Your Goal Before Starting a New Habit

2. Choose the Right Habit

3. Make the Habit “Stick” Through Repetition

4. Healthy Habit Success Builds Confidence and More Success


Now, you should know what you need to do in order to get started on your health goal journey. You can define, choose, and execute on the habits and goals that are important to your health and well-being.

Other Helpful Resources: