Seemingly harmless habits can affect what size you'll be five or 10 years from now. Peek into your future with our quiz. Then use this cheat sheet to target the most effective ways to make a difference. Want to see how you’re doing? Retake this quiz at Self.com to track your progress.
Improve your eating
Write off weight. To lower BMI, keep a food journal. Jotting down all bites is the top predictor of weight loss.
Befriend a farmer. Shop at a farmers’ market to balance your diet (lots of produce, no packaged snacks!). Locate one at www.apps.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets.
Eat heartily in the a.m. Make your morning meal the main one. Aim for up to 500 calories. Studies show big breakfasts can keep you small.
Start cookin’. Prepare at least half of your meals at home. It’s one of the best methods to ensure you take in more vegetables and less fat.
Snack smarter. Stop smoking and munch right to help your body stay at a healthy weight. For every cup of fruit and vegetables quitters add to their daily diet, they reduce their chances of gaining weight by 13 percent, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports.
Cut calories in your cup. Limit yourself to one glass daily of soda or alcohol. Replacing caloric beverages with water can help you drop up to 20 pounds in a year.
Get your brain on board
Chill. Relaxing daily can lower the stress hormones that spur overeating, a study from Harvard Medical School in Boston finds. Carve out 20 minutes each day to commune with nature: Regular visits to areas with trees reduce stress.
Swap reruns for sleep. Replace half an hour of television watching with additional shut-eye daily and you’ll wake up with lower levels of hunger hormones. Plus, it’s easier to make healthy choices when you’re rested and energized.
Pace yourself. Slow down at meals so your mind has time to register fullness before you go back for seconds.
Hoof it. Can’t change your commute from car to foot? Achieve a similar effect by delivering news to coworkers in person, not via email.
Firm up. Muscle burns calories even as you rest, but women older than age 35 lose about a quarter pound of muscle per year. Fight the loss by adding three sessions of metabolism-revving strength training to your weekly routine.