This article is for anyone looking for simple tips and strategies for maintaining weight loss after dieting.
You’ve dieted and exercised and finally reached your goal weight. This is a wonderful achievement and something you should be proud of, but rather than feeling happy, many a dieter in this position is plagued by the uncertainty of knowing if maintaining weight loss will be beyond them.
Make no mistake about it; long-term weight maintenance will be impossible if you shed your excess pounds but fail to make lifestyle changes to ensure that the pounds you worked so hard to lose don’t come creeping back.
The best way to avoid this is to steer clear of fad diets and not view dieting as a quick fix. Instead, you should think of it as something you are doing not just to look good but also to improve your health and fitness.
With a fad diet, you can lose weight quickly. However, being overly restrictive is unrealistic long-term and also dangerous to health. Another problem is that severe calorie restriction slows the metabolism and shifts our appetite-regulating hormones, both things that result in weight gain.
Following are 6 weight maintenance tips that will help make this task easier.
6 Tips for Maintaining Weight Loss
1. Don’t Eat on Auto-Pilot
If you’re set on maintaining weight loss, don’t eat on the run or while engaged in activities that distract you. This includes watching TV, reading, surfing the Internet, or chatting with a friend. Eating this way will almost certainly result in over-eating.
Sit down for meals, and always be mindful of how much you are consuming. Eat slowly, chew your food well, and savor every mouthful.
Stop eating from time to time and ask yourself if you are still hungry. When we eat quickly, we usually eat more without realizing it. Eating at a leisurely pace will give your brain time to let you know when you’ve had enough.
Sometimes what feels like hunger can actually be thirst, so drink water before and with every meal. Water is the ideal beverage for dieters as it is calorie-free yet filling.
2. Avoid Over-eating Healthy Food
Just because a particular food is healthy doesn’t mean you can have as much of it as you want to without gaining weight. Consuming too much of any food can result in weight gain. Prime examples include nuts, avocados, and foods rich in olive oil. Overindulging in low-fat foods can also cause weight gain, so always be aware of your portion size.
Measure or weigh your food, and don’t feel you have to finish everything that’s in front of you. If you have left-overs you wish to save for another meal, place each food item into a separate container. That way, you won’t be tempted to finish off a container full of food in one sitting.
Serve yourself 20% less than you think you will eat. Researchers at Cornell University found that most people can eat 20% less food without being aware that their portion size is smaller.
If sitting down to a partially empty plate of food makes you feel deprived, use a smaller plate. This has proved to help us feel satisfied when eating less.
3. Track Your Workouts and What You Eat and Drink
An effective but often overlooked method for maintaining weight loss after dieting is to keep a record of your daily calorie intake and exercise regime. Accurate tracking can help enormously with long-term weight maintenance.
Be honest. If you fudge the details, the only person you will be short-changing is yourself.
If you are an emotional eater, note the circumstances under which you eat more than you should or eat when you aren’t hungry. Make a note of how you felt at the time. Seeing this in black and white will help you make better choices in the future.
Highlight the days you ate well, particularly enjoyed your workout, and felt happy with your efforts. Having this information on hand will allow you to draw from it if your motivation begins to falter.
4. Weigh Yourself Often
Regular weigh-ins will alert you to weight gain before it gets out of hand. You will then be able to eat a little less over the coming days to get back on track.
How often you weigh yourself is up to you. Keeping in mind that our weight fluctuates from day to day, a once or twice a week weigh-in will suit most people. However, recent research has shown that a daily weigh-in can aid weight loss. You can read about this here.
5. Don’t Skip Workouts
You’d be right in thinking that skipping the occasional workout won’t result in weight gain. The risk with doing so, however, is not so much physical as it is psychological. Once we drop our commitment to our exercise program, it’s all too easy to go from slacking off once every two to three weeks to once or twice a week, or more often. Over time, this can result in weight gain, especially for those who have finished dieting and are in the weight loss maintenance phase.
To keep your enthusiasm for working out fresh, steer clear of exercise you don’t enjoy. If you’d rather swim laps than run on a treadmill, swim. Prefer to take an aerobics class over pedaling on a stationary bike? Do aerobics. While not all aerobic activity burns the same number of calories, the majority burn a similar amount. If your exercise of choice falls short on this front, compensate by adding an extra workout a week or by extending each session by ten minutes or so.
The social aspect of competitive or team sports can make this type of exercise easier to stick to, so schedule regular games of tennis, squash, or any other sports you enjoy. Even walking can be far more enjoyable with company, so find a willing family member, friend, or friends, and walk together.
If the pandemic prevents you from exercising outdoors and you don’t want to use exercise equipment, try a fitness DVD.
6. Plan Ahead
For long-term weight maintenance, plan ahead.
There will be times when it will be difficult to stick to a healthy eating plan. This could be during the festive season, while you are on vacation, or celebrating a special event with family and friends.
The above situations could also prevent you from sticking to your fitness program, as could a temporary illness, a new job, a house move, dealing with an urgent family matter, or another change in life’s circumstances. If you can’t fit in a full workout, try to do ten or fifteen minutes.
HIIT is ideal for busy times. Each workout is short but intense, offering total body toning and burning many calories. However, you will need to already be reasonably fit to undertake it. And it is not something you should only do on the odd occasion. If you decide to include it in your fitness program, aim to do it two or three times a week.
If you find you’ve gained a bit of weight, don’t mentally beat yourself up over it. It’s easier to lose three pounds than thirty, so the sooner you get back to healthy eating and exercising, the sooner you will get back to being the shape you want to be.
7. Think Long-Term
Committing to eating healthily and exercising regularly, long-term, makes maintaining weight loss easier. Living this way, you will still be able to indulge in your favorite treats, though maybe not as often or in as large a serving as before.
The 80/20 rule works well for many people, meaning if you eat wisely 80% of the time, you can be more relaxed about what you eat the other 20% of the time. Don’t view this as a diet, but as how you choose to live your life.
Don’t stick rigidly to the same diet, ad infinitum. Mixing things up will mean there’ll be less chance of you becoming bored one day, having a major pig-out, then thinking that since you’ve fallen off the wagon, you may as well stay off.
The same goes for exercise. Varying your workout will prevent boredom and enable you to target different muscle groups.
Final Thoughts on Maintaining Weight Loss
I hope you find these weight maintenance tips useful. Losing weight then keeping it off is achievable for all. It will take willpower and persistence, but if you eat healthily most of the time, you will still be able to indulge in moderation.
If you find an exercise you enjoy, you will look forward to it, which makes working out easy. For me, that currently involves regular walks and doing Figure 8.
Based on Latin dance moves, Figure 8 Fitness is suitable for all fitness levels. The workouts burn a lot of calories, and provide a total-body workout that is particularly beneficial for trimming the waist and abs. If you’d like to read a review, click on the previous link.
Or if you’re looking for more diet tips, read 10 Best Ever Diet Tips That Actually Work.