"COVID-19 Update: I am excited to announce that In-Home Training is once again available. To allow for safe In-Home Sessions, strict guidelines will be followed; to view those guidelines please read COVID-19 Update: In-Home Training . Virtual Training and Online Training are also available. For now Training at Fortis Fitness West is still suspended."

10 Habits to Help You Lose 20lbs (& Keep It Off)

Author: Train Smart Fitness & Health |


Your habits will dictate your outcomes. Losing 20lbs or being successful at anything isn’t just about making a couple of right choices. You need to be able to make the right choices consistently. They need to be ingrained as habits.

What habits do we need to cultivate to be able to lose 20 pounds or more and keep it off?

Check out this list for 10 habits that will help you lose 20lbs and keep it off!

  1. Hydrate first thing in the morning

    60% of your body is water and it is vital to many of your body’s functions. One of those important functions that water helps with is the removal of waste from the body. Another benefit of water is that it helps suppress the appetite. If you start your day off well hydrated, you’ll be less likely to crave a calorie filled drink. Over the course of 8 or so hours of sleeping your body loses a lot of water. You need to start rehydrating as soon as possible. Start your day with a tall glass of water, better yet have a filled reusable water bottle by your bedside.

    Personal Fitness Trainer Mississauga

  2. Check and track your weight daily

    If you have a goal weight, then you need to regularly check your weight to see if you’re making progress towards it. You’re probably asking “Why can’t I just check my weight weekly or monthly?” Checking your weight weekly or monthly won’t give you a clear picture on your overall progress over the course of that week or month.

    Here’s an example: Let’s say you check your weight every Monday morning, you do a pretty good job of sticking to your diet and you weigh and track your food intake. Monday to Friday you stick to your diet and on the weekends you allow yourself some Cheat Meals (more on that later). Maybe you started off at 185lbs in Week 1, in Week 2 you weighed 185lbs again and in Week 3 you were 186lbs!. This limited information may lead you to believe some wrong conclusions like “Calories In Calories Out doesn’t work!”, “Dieting is BS!” or “Screw this I give up, I’m just gonna eat whatever I want!” . But what you missed by not checking your weight daily is that in Week 1 this was your weight each day:

    Tuesday 184.8lbs
    Wednesday 184.6lbs
    Thursday 184.2lbs
    Friday 183.9lbs
    Saturday 183.8lbs
    Sunday 184lbs
    Your average weight for Week

    Your average weight for Week 1 was 184.3; you lost 0.7lbs that week! Your weight will naturally fluctuate up and down and by not weighing daily you’re putting more pressure than need be on a single weigh in. If you looked at the average you would see that your diet is working. Or maybe your average weight is going up, but those once a week weigh-ins just happen to be at times when your weight is lower. With limited data you can’t make an accurate adjustment either way. As a plus there is research to show that those who weigh daily tend to have better results because they have more awareness.

    Personal Fitness Trainer Mississauga

  3. Add a variety of vegetables to your diet
    Aside from the health benefits of vegetables, they are a very useful tool in a weight loss diet. Vegetables can add volume to your meals which can improve satiety (that feeling of fullness after a large meal) and when you’re eating less calories than you’re used to this becomes very useful to keep you from binging after dinner. Swap out some of the rice, fries, bread and other fillers for a variety of veggies.

    Personal Fitness Trainer Mississauga

  4. Measuring and tracking your meals

    Just like progress reports and checklists keep you on track at work, measuring and tracking your meals will tell you if you’re sticking to your diet. By measuring and tracking you’ll gain awareness of the food going into your body, how that food affects your weight and whether or not you’re actually sticking to the plan. A food scale is an inexpensive tool and there are plenty of food trackers available. Another benefit of this is that once you’ve been measuring and tracking for a while, when you’re eating out you’ll be better at eyeballing the food and how it will impact your diet. You don’t have to be perfect, but if you’re not measuring and tracking, then you’re just guessing. If you’ve been successful in other areas of your life, then you know that guessing will likely get you nowhere.

    Personal Fitness Trainer Mississauga

  5. Prioritize Protein

    Protein serves many important functions in the body. Aside from its importance to your health, it's also very useful when trying to lose weight. It has less than half the calories of Fat (9 calories/g of Fat vs 4 calories/g of Protein). It has a higher thermic effect than Fat or Carbs (your body uses energy to digest food and Protein requires more energy to digest). Lastly, Protein is also very satiating. Make a habit out of keeping a Protein shake or bar with you as a snack. It will be far more satisfying than cookies, cake or something else of little nutritional value. The next time you’re preparing a meal or looking at a menu, prioritize the Protein.

    • Personal Fitness Trainer Mississauga
    • Personal Fitness Trainer Mississauga
    • Personal Fitness Trainer Mississauga
    • Personal Fitness Trainer Mississauga
    • Personal Fitness Trainer Mississauga
  6. Planned Maintenance Days instead of Cheat Days/Meals

    As promised, let’s talk about Cheat Days/Meals. Don’t do them. You’re probably thinking that’s a strong statement, and you’re right. Unplanned, untracked cheat days/meals will significantly set you back. Remember, we’re trying to create sustainable healthy habits that will not only help you lose 20lbs, but also keep it off. Don’t misunderstand, this doesn’t mean you can’t eat that crazy looking ice cream you saw an ad for on Instagram or that you can’t enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. Most major events of the year don’t come up out of blue. You know when Eid, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Canada Day, etc will be. Aside from those major events, most other social events and general outings take place between Friday evening and Sunday night. If you’re anything like me, you know that you’ll be eating high calorie meals on those days. That’s fine, I’m not saying don’t have those meals or don’t enjoy them, the opposite in fact. But, you need to plan for it ahead of time. Try setting up your diet in a way that allows you to eat at maintenance over the weekend, it's not a free for all; eat at maintenance (calorie calculator). Compensate by increasing your calorie deficit by 100- 200 calories/day during the week. On the Friday, purposely eat fewer calories earlier in the day, leaving room for drinks with guys/girls, a large family dinner, etc. Yes, you can enjoy those foods/drinks you’ve been craving without feeling guilty, but you have to give it some forethought. Remember “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.

  7. Exercise daily

    This is pretty simple so I’ll keep it short. Progressive exercise on a daily basis will help you create a calorie deficit to burn fat and help maintain or gain muscle. As a bonus, it can act as an insurance policy for a weekend where you went a bit above maintenance calories. You wouldn’t wreck your car every week just because you have insurance, so don’t wreck your diet every week and think that exercise will take care of those extra calories. You’ll be cultivating the wrong habit if you do that.

  8. Opt for active hangouts

    One of the good things to come out of this COVID situation, is that when I get together with friends, we meet up at a park to workout, go on a walk or throw around a frisbee. Include some physical activity in your socializing, it doesn’t have to be something intense. A 30min walk with a friend a couple of times a week will help you towards your weight loss.

    Personal Fitness Trainer Mississauga

  9. Meditate when you’re having cravings

    No matter how much you plan, cravings will come. They’ll come at times when you’re stressed, they’ll come at times when you’re happy, they’ll come at times when your stomach is so full that you can’t imagine eating anything else. So what will you do when cravings come around? Will you satisfy the craving or will you let it pass? Practicing mindfulness meditation will help you regulate your cravings. By practicing mindfulness regularly, the next time a craving comes around, you can sit/stand/lie down/walk mindfully and see those cravings for what they are and let them pass.

    Personal Fitness Trainer Mississauga

  10. Get quality sleep each night

    Poor sleep will lead to poor health. There is some evidence to show that those who report low quality sleep also tend to weigh more and report more difficulty losing weight. This is still being researched, but my speculation; as one of those people who struggles with low quality sleep, is that fatigue leads to bad decisions and lower willpower. When you don’t sleep enough it's harder to fight back against cravings, to stick to a plan, or to stay focused on your long term goals. Poor sleep may be perceived as a threat by your body and as a response it may lower your activity levels to try to preserve Fat for survival. How can we improve our sleep? Have a regular bedtime and wake up time. No caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime. Minimize the use of electronics close to bed time. Meditate for a few minutes in the evening.


Cultivate these habits and you’ll be well on your way to losing 20lbs or more and keeping it off. If you need some help building positive habits and breaking negative ones I highly recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear or contact me for Training & Nutrition coaching that’s based around habit building and breaking.

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only endorse products that I personally believe in. Thank you for your support!

Hydration And Electrolytes | Why WATER Is So IMPORTANT | SBS Academy 2018
Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight
Why you may want to weigh yourself daily
5 tips that will help you sit through cravings
Sleep Deprivation and Obesity