It goes without saying that the Renaissance body types have long been replaced with the newfound standards of beauty. We’ve been back and forth from then on. It's obvious, however, that in today’s world many people are still onto putting a lot of effort into the pursuit of slim and toned bodies. And whether it’s sweating at the gym or sticking to a rigid diet, we all know that the real trick is maintaining weight after that weight loss. And this is the hardest part. Statistics tells us that many people tend to regain the weight they lost within a relatively short period, some even put on more than they burnt. There are, of course, reasonable explanations for such dramatic weight changes. And they usually come down to these ones:
If you deliberately restrict your calorie intake for far too long or deprive yourself of certain foods, it will inevitably backfire. And when you finally get to that slice of cake you won’t get away with just a bite, you’ll have one irresistible binge on your hands. Diets that focus on limiting or completely ditching certain foods (like those high in carbs, protein, fats and so on) can only provoke out-of-control cravings.
You don’t think of your newly adopted habits as a change to a healthier and better living, but rather as a short-term solution or a fix. With diets the deal is this: the longer you’re saving your calories, the more you’re building up your appetite.
The right fitness mindset matters as well: sometimes we engage in a physical activity we don’t really enjoy and do it only for the sake of weight loss. There is a risk that once you lose enough you won’t go anywhere near this treadmill or that yoga mat. When you abruptly halt your exercise routine like this you will notice sudden increase in body fat.
Many diets and fitness routines are rather strict and, let’s be honest, they are mainly the things you force yourself into. What you do is harness all your willpower rather than adopt healthy habits you can later incorporate into your day-to-day life. After you’re done with them your lifestyle is unlikely to really change and bring along a long-lasting weight maintenance.
How to keep weight off after losing it
To make your every effort count you need to learn how to lose weight without gaining it back. Follow these guidelines to maintain your hard-earned physique and the number on the scales.
1. Breakfast truly is for champions
Eat your breakfast every morning without skipping. It helps you divide your daily calorie intake into three or more even chunks which won’t let you go hungry too soon. Because if your stomach feels empty, in all likelihood you will overindulge at lunch or dinner. Whereas breakfast people are usually the ones to report successful weight loss maintenance. It happens because morning meal consumption helps stimulate metabolism like no other food intake.
2. Protein at every meal
It is a given that all food intakes, be it breakfast, lunch, dinner or something in between, should be well-balanced and contain all the important nutrients, vitamins and minerals. But if your question is how to maintain weight loss, protein may have an answer for that. It can lend you a helping hand as a single most important nutrient for that matter. It transpired that our body employs more energy, aka calories, to digest protein in comparison with fat and even carbs. With its help we feel fuller and more satisfied for longer.
3. Don’t leave out fiber
Ditto for fiber, especially since the sad statistics shows that most people don’t add enough of it into their diets. Fiber is an extremely powerful nutrient for gut health. And gut health is the first thing that needs to be taken under control when we talk weight loss. Fiber boosts bowel movement, keeps your hunger satisfied for longer and regulates all metabolic processes. It comes forward as an effective constipation relief aid and a promoter of a good gut bacteria. So, stock up on foods dense in this vital nutrient, such as most fruits and veggies, lentils and legumes, whole grains and other. Plus, fiber has a pleasant anti-aging effect.
4. Step on the scale
Keep track of your weight every other morning. Make a consistent habit out of it. People who weigh themselves regularly are able to spot the slightest weight fluctuations. Being in the know helps, and it goes hand in hand with the following tip:
5. Start a journal
Fill in your weight loss journal as often as necessary. It’s yours and it can be of any kind you please. You can record your food intake, count calories or simply write down your current weight. You can do it only until you can instinctively determine the number of calories on your plate or the size of your clothes.
6. You forgot your carbs!
As soon as their dream body heaves in sight many people decide to give up on carbs in a very indiscriminate way. Meaning they cut out not just chips and donuts, but all the good carbs – like whole-grains, brown rice, potato and quinoa – as well. In truth, not everyone seems to be aware of, is that it won’t help them maintain a healthy weight. In fact, it may have quite the opposite effect. Giving up on good carbs drains your energy much faster making you less active. Without healthy carbs your body misses out on fiber which, as you already know, is vital for your digestion. Also, carbs are essential for effective boosting of fat burning due to fat oxidation. What you can do is lower your carb intake without quitting it altogether.
7. Find the exercise you love
A lot of people don’t think that exercising is that much fun. Because, more often than not, people’s first association with the word ‘exercise’ is gym. Which does not necessarily have to be true. Many of us get a huge kick out of gym workouts, but those who don’t shouldn’t be discouraged either. Swimming, cycling, dancing, yoga, jogging, long walks and so many others are all different types of exercise. It’s easy to come across the thing you love once you start looking.
You can also try to incorporate more exercise into your day:
- Tote your groceries
- Ride your bike to work
- If you’re driving, park further away from the office
- Take the stairs instead of an elevator
- Walk around on your break
8. Sweet spot diet
Don’t be too restrictive and hard on yourself when it comes to food. Don’t limit yourself to a point of starvation. Go for a healthy and realistic diet that won’t be that hard for you to follow. And if you pair it with other points on this agenda your lost weight won’t be going anywhere. The thing about rigid diets is that you can be easily tired of them in a couple of weeks or months. Making health decisions about your nutrition should not be a temporary thing. Healthy eating loaded with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fiber, dairy and protein will help maintain a healthy body weight on its own.
9. Say No to ‘cheat days’
Having ‘cheat days’ is not really helping. It’s like you’re systematically postponing your satisfaction with food. Restricted consumption of the foods you label as ‘bad’ during the week and then ‘going for it’ on a weekend only contributes to calorie gain. You can just end up wolfing down way more than you need to feel full. It’s better to evenly spread out your calorie intake during the week to avoid sudden binges.
10. Drink enough water
Drinking water boosts your metabolism, hence weight loss. First of all, it suppresses your appetite, i.e. you don’t go for a yummy snack when you don’t really need it. And second, it flushes out all the waste your body accumulates throughout the day. Your recommended dosage of water is something in between 1.5 and 2 liters a day.
11. Get enough sleep
When you toss and turn at night the quality of your sleep inevitably plummets. A disturbed sleep works like a trigger for more calorie consumption. And not just any calories – it awakens your desire for junk and sugary foods. Go for 7 or 8 hours for a healthy good night’s sleep.
12. Be on the lookout for stress.
Be aware of your stress levels. Stress can insidiously point you in the direction of a junk food restaurant. It’s a well-known trigger for binges that can make you comfort eat your worries and anxiety. Also, stress can invest into your calorie gain by disrupting the quality of your sleep. Engage in anti-stress activities that bring you joy: yoga, meditation, all types of creative activities, walking. You know the drill - the list is endless.
Remember that in order to successfully maintain your weight just sticking to some diet is not enough. Adopting an overall healthy lifestyle and sticking to it is the only wise decision out there. Try not to eat and live along the strict lines that won’t keep you there long anyway. Choose in favor of realistic habits you’ll be able to develop and to maintain long-term.