4 Ways to Fool Yourself Into Lasting Weight Loss

I know, it's hard to keep up your mood while trying to slim down. But research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows that people are 4.5 times more likely to continue a new healthy behavior more than a year later if there are positive emotions around it. That's long-term success! As researcher Barbara L. Fredrickson, PhD, explained to me, “enjoyment motivates sustained change by creating non-conscious desires that are far stronger than conscious willpower.”

In other words? Get happy! Your body will naturally want to keep on track, making it much easier for your mind to go along. Then watch the inches melt off!

If you're hitting a rough patch, ask yourself:

1. Are you drinking enough water?

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, young women experienced more fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating when they were mildly dehydrated. You may feel hungry, cranky, or tired, but it could really be your body signaling dehydration. Make sure you drink a glass of water with each meal and see if it improves your mood.

2. Are you sleeping well?

You know you’re not exactly chipper when you’ve skimped on sleep, but being sleep deprived can affect your mood, your appetite, and eating habits more than you may realize. Columbia University researchers discovered last year that people consume up to an extra 300 calories a day when they get less sleep than usual! Here's why: Not getting enough sleep makes you more sensitive to stress and increases hunger. What’s more, it also makes you crave sugary, carb-y foods. They'll provide an instant energy boost but subsequent blood sugar crash, a cycle that can lead to overeating. Break it before it starts by trying to recalibrate your rest.

Related: 14 Sleep-Better Tricks You Haven’t Tried >>

3. Are you eating plenty of fats?

Yes, I said fats! Healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, which are a crucial part of my new Digest Diet healthy-eating plan, have tons of benefits, including a potent effect on your mood. Recent research from the University of Connecticut found a link between women who took omega-3 supplements during pregnancy and a decreased risk of postpartum depression. And another animal study from Indiana University discovered that mice with symptoms of bipolar disorder had fewer episodes of depression and mania when they ate diets rich in DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Try salmon once or twice a week or munch on walnuts for a daily snack.

 Related: 5 Healthy Fats You Should Eat >>

4. Are you laughing often?

In today’s fast-paced, always-multitasking culture, I think it’s important take time to genuinely laugh out loud. Laughing is a proven health habit (studies show it reduces stress and improves blood flow in arteries) and it burns calories too! British researchers found that an hour of intense laughter can burn as many calories as a half hour of hitting it hard at the gym. Schedule in a little humor: sitcoms, YouTube, or even our cartoons on ReadersDigest.com offer plenty of laugh-out-loud inspiration.


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