Smart Ways To Keep Weight Off
It's no secret that trying to lose weight can be a roller coaster ride. And while it feels amazing to finally reach a healthy weight, regaining lost pounds several months (or years) down the line can be a bummer. So how do you keep the pounds off once they're gone? Let's take a closer look at research for some simple ways to get smart about weight loss maintenance.
Weight loss is hard enough to begin with, and it’s only half the battle. Keeping the weight off is another story. But before you give up, consider this – according to the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), 20 percent of those who lose weight succeed at maintaining it long term. And while that might seem low, keep in mind that many who attempt weight maintenance lose the focus and strategy that they had in the beginning. It all comes down to staying informed and creating a game plan. Before you know it, you’ll be part of that 20 percent. Here’s how.
8 Smart Ways To Keep Weight Off
1. Reward Yourself
Once you’ve reached your weight loss goals, you’ll have to switch up your mindset in order to maintain the weight. It’s easy to assume that your body will take care of itself. Unfortunately, this is the exact mistake that can pose a problem for successful maintenance. Researchers suggest that rewarding yourself for sticking to a good diet and exercise routine plays a crucial role in the success of weight loss maintenance. These rewards can be anything from a new exercise outfit to a new book.
2. Stick To A Consistent Routine
Whether you’re on vacation or going through the motions of a routine weekday, keep exercise and diet consistent. You’ll be less likely to go off the rails on your path to weight maintenance. Planning ahead will ensure that you’re fully prepared despite the scenario. For instance, if you have a vacation coming up, do some research. Find out where you can buy fresh produce or scope out a cafe that serves healthy, organic food to ensure you don’t end up eating heavy calorie-laden food that could ruin your hard-won weight loss. Don’t expect to “take a break” and come back to your weight maintenance routine after the holidays or a trip abroad. Stick with the program every time, everywhere.
3. Mind Your Calories
It goes without saying that different people use different weight loss methods. However, at the core, certain common behaviors contribute to success. One of the most notable behaviors is eating low-calorie foods. Studies show that people who achieved long-term weight loss maintenance consumed 25 percent (or less) of their daily calories from fat. These findings were consistent regardless of the weight loss method (frequent weigh-ins and strenuous exercise, calorie counting and dietary restraint, or organized weight loss programs.) Consuming low-fat protein like seafood, lean meat, or vegetarian protein sources like legumes or tofu also seems to be a good strategy according to findings from additional studies.
4. Eat Breakfast
If you need to cut down calories, do it healthily by focusing on what you’re actually eating. Don’t skip meals – especially breakfast. According to the UK National Health Services, controlling your weight depends on eating this morning meal. Otherwise, you are more likely to feel famished later on, leading to binge eating or poor snacking choices.
5. Stay Active
At its new healthy weight, your body becomes used to higher activity levels. Keep your metabolism going strong by staying active and exercising every day. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) tracks weight loss maintenance by enrolled individuals who have lost a minimum of 30lb and have kept it off for at least a year. This group has reported significant amounts of physical activity, with men and women burning 3293 kcal/week and 2545 kcal/week, respectively. Over three-quarters of the NWCR cohort take part in simple brisk walks, while others cycle, lift weights, or perform aerobics. This is amazing proof that you can stay fit without paying for fancy classes, memberships, or expensive exercise equipment.
6. Remember Why
Once you finally fit into that old pair of jeans, it’s easy to forget why you lost weight in the first place. Remind yourself why you started this journey by keeping a journal, a log book, or a poster. Some people keep their old photos or oversized jeans to remind them of what they lost or missed out on when they were overweight. It’s no wonder research shows that such a simple reminder is crucial for weight maintenance, along with consistent exercise, a low-fat protein diet, and a reward system.
7. Don’t Go Back To Your Old Bad Habits
Reaching your weight loss goal is a triumphant moment. However, it isn’t an excuse to go back to old and unhealthy habits. Doing so will counteract all of your hard work – it will be only a matter of time before the inches creep back. Avoid putting yourself in situations where you are likely to succumb. For instance, if you know a certain set of colleagues at work are likely to push you into having too many drinks (which add to your calories and sugar intake), meet them over coffee during the day instead. If you know you tend to binge on dessert when you’re hungry, have a slice of fruit or a healthy snack handy to cut the cravings.
8. Weigh Yourself
As hard as it may seem, it helps to meet up with the scale every now and then. Weigh in every couple of weeks to make sure you’re still on track.