11 Practical Ways To Maintain Your Weight Loss
We work hard to slim down, and it comes as no surprise we feel defeated and depressed when gaining weight again. When lost pounds return we tend to feel weight loss is not meant to be. Motivation and confidence suffer as we gradually lose willingness to do something about it.
Weight loss is possible to maintain, and you can achieve it successfully. Below we’re going to show you evidence-based strategies that promote weight management and help you maintain weight loss. Scroll down to learn more.
Why we regain weight?
The scenario we know all too well – we lose weight and feel incredibly proud of ourselves, but just a few months later we start gaining weight.
Why does this happen? Why can’t we lose weight and keep it off? First of all, we can maintain weight loss, but in order to do, it’s important to identify the reasons why some of us regain weight. They are:
- Restrictive diets – with a desire to lose weight quickly many men and women opt for fad diets which are indicated by their restrictive nature. These diets involve avoiding consuming certain food groups entirely. Restrictive eating patterns also promote a very low-calorie intake. While you do get to lose weight effects aren’t long-term. Yo-yo effect occurs where a person regains weight and puts on even more pounds
- Returning to old eating habits – a common mistake that many of us make is that we return to old eating habits as soon as we achieve desired weight loss. You see, well-balanced diet is an irreplaceable segment of a healthy lifestyle, it’s not a program that you’ll follow for a month or two. That way, weight management will be easy to achieve
- Lack of physical activity – this is similar to the above-mentioned eating habits. In many cases, people exercise and increase physical activity levels only to lose weight, and then they stop. A sedentary lifestyle is the biggest culprit behind weight gain
- Other factors: lack of sleep, unrealistic expectations, lack of healthy habits that promote weight management
Now that you know why we regain weight let’s see how to maintain it in a healthy range.
Don’t skip meals
The road to a successful weight loss is paved with good eating habits. Most of us decide to eat less in order to slim down. We eat less frequently and limit calorie intake. Once they lose weight, some people still decide to skip meals hoping it would help them to keep it off.
Wrong! The most important thing to remember if you’re looking for a practical way to maintain your weight loss is that you should not skip meals. People usually skip breakfast although it’s the most important meal of the day. Studies show that skipping breakfast is correlated with weight gain and obesity. Therefore, eat your meals regularly for successful weight maintenance (1).
As much as we’d like to lose weight without exercise, the truth is that physical activity is vital and it goes hand in hand with a well-balanced diet. Once you achieve desired weight loss, the last thing you should do is quit exercising. Evidence shows that not only is physical activity important for weight loss but it also plays a huge role in weight management. In other words, you’re more likely to maintain weight loss if you exercise regularly and increase activity levels (2). You see, it’s not only important to work out on a regular basis, but you also need to be more active in general. Instead of exercising for 30 minutes and spending the rest of the day on the couch watching TV you should walk more, use stairs whenever you can, and try to boost activity levels in other ways too.
How much water do you drink per day? The answer is probably “not enough.” We tend to drink water only when feeling thirsty but by then certain signs of dehydration may develop including fatigue and headache. Drinking water is vital for good health and wellbeing, but what many people don’t know it’s also crucial for weight management. Studies show that increased hydration promotes weight loss (3) meaning it can also help maintain it. Strive to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. If you tend to forget all about it, then try downloading an app which reminds users to drink water. Remember, drinking a glass of water before a meal helps you eat less.
Eat enough protein
Our body needs protein to function properly. This essential nutrient has a number of functions such as muscle growth, but it also keeps us full. Thanks to its ability to promote fullness adequate protein intake prevent overeating and thus helps us lose weight and keep it in a healthy range. Studies reveal that protein boosts levels of hormones that promote satiety and weight reduction while lowering the concentration of hormones that promote hunger (4). Try to consume enough protein. Good sources of this nutrient are eggs, lean meat, dairy products, seeds, nuts, beans, and other foods.
Stress is a physical response to some change or situation. All of us are under stress at one point or another. One of the biggest sources of stress is work. Numbers show that 46% of people are under stress due to workload, 28% have people issues, 6% are stressed out because of lack of job security, and 20% adults find it difficult to juggle between home and work which makes them experience stress (5). High levels of stress hormone cortisol are linked to increased weight gain and bigger BMI (6). Therefore, in order to maintain weight loss, you need to do something about stress. Instead of ignoring or waiting for it to go away on its own, do something you find relaxing.
Get enough sleep
We have become a chronically sleep-deprived society. Instead of going to bed at a decent hour to get enough good night’s rest we spend nights watching TV or Netflix, chatting, and whatnot. As a result, we’re sleep deprived, energy levels are low, fatigue is high, and it’s needless to mention stress levels rise. Lack of sleep is also associated with gain (7). An important strategy for successful weight loss maintenance is getting enough sleep. It’s not just enough to get eight or nine hours of good night’s rest, and you also need a proper schedule which involves going to bed and waking up every day at the same time.
Weigh yourself regularly
The scale is the enemy; it’s a horrible little thing that shows us things we don’t want to see. That’s how we usually think about scales that sit in the corner of the hallway or the bathroom and taunt us. Many of us don’t weigh regularly, even after we lose weight. I lost weight, why would I want to weigh myself anytime soon; you’re probably thinking that right now. Well, evidence shows that weighing yourself regularly can actually promote weight loss and improve its maintenance (8). The reason is simple; you’re more aware of the progress, start thinking about weight-control behaviors, and you’re more mindful about your diet. The scale isn’t our enemy, and it can be our BFF.
Eat enough fiber
Fiber is absolutely crucial for digestion which is why we need to consume it in our diet. Without adequate fiber intake, our digestive system doesn’t function properly. It’s also important to mention that fiber is also vital for weight management (9). Why? Mechanisms of action are numerous including the fact that fiber has the tremendous potential to suppress our appetite and keep us full for longer. As a result, we find it easier to resist cravings and stop overeating. Consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole wheat, and other good sources of fiber that will help you keep off your weight loss.
Parisian women use a practical trick to maintain their weight without starving themselves – they use smaller plates. Portion control is an important aspect of weight management (10). Our brain is projected in a way that it makes us eat all food from the plate even if we’re not hungry anymore. That’s why you catch yourself emptying out the plate although you didn’t feel hunger and feel guilty right after. Portion control allows us to eat just enough, without stuffing ourselves with food. That way, we avoid consuming too many calories, and it becomes easier to maintain our weight loss success.
Have a food journal
Nowadays we have plenty of options to track food intake. Some people do it the old-fashioned way where they write everything down in a notebook or printed out food journal. Others simply download an app and track calorie consumption. The choice of food journaling method relies mainly on a person and their preferences. One thing is for sure though; food journal promotes weight loss (11), and it can also help us maintain it. Why? We get a first-hand insight into our food consumption, identify strengths and weaknesses which allow us to modify our diet. In turn; we get to lose weight faster and find it easier to maintain it. Successful weight loss and management would be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing, common mistakes you’re repeating. Food journals allow you to do just that – lean more about yourself and your habits.
Build more lean muscle
You’ve probably noticed at this point that weight loss also decreases muscle mass. Now that you’re working on weight maintenance it’s useful to consider building more lean muscle. The reason is simple; decreased muscle mass slows metabolism meaning you burn fewer calories during the day (12). The formula for effective weight loss/management is straightforward: you need to burn more calories than you consume.
By building more lean muscle mass, you’ll be able to boost your metabolism and therefore support weight maintenance. To build more lean muscle, you need to engage in strength and resistance training, eat more protein, and avoid over-training. Getting 30 to 45 minutes of exercise a day is just about enough. You’ll notice that with more defined muscle mass your weight loss becomes easier to maintain.
If you’ve ever wondered how to maintain weight loss or keep your current weight in a healthy range, this article provided plenty of ideas that are bound to help you out. There is no magic formula, and it’s very simple actually – a healthy lifestyle is crucial for weight management. Well-balanced diet coupled with regular physical activity in combination with some smart habits is the solution if you want to avoid regaining weight and struggling to slim down again. Now you just need to implement these recommendations into your lifestyle. You can do it.