You’ve finally reached your weight-loss goal and the feeling is absolutely heavenly! But, tough as it was, this was just the beginning. A much harder path lies in maintaining this weight lifelong. The idea of having to eat strictly and exercise regularly can sound daunting. But don’t give up. With a tad bit of willpower and self-restraint, you can keep up the ideal weight all your life. Here’s how.
1. Eat Regularly And On Time
By now, your diet involves a decided number of meals. Do not deviate from this. Eating on time, on a regular basis, will prevent hunger pangs and helps you avoid unplanned snacking that can soon turn to overeating.
2. Stay Away From Simple, Refined Carbs
According to studies, those who follow a low-carb diet have seen much more success in maintaining/losing weight than those who don’t.1 More importantly, however, refined carbs like pasta and bread lose all the fiber once they go through processing. Eating these does no good to you. So while it is important to continue consuming carbs, be sure to opt for whole grain options instead and have them in moderation.
Load Up On Protein
Protein is your best bud in weight maintenance.2 Here’s how:
- Burning protein requires a lot of energy. By eating protein, you make your body use up a lot more calories too.
- Eating high-protein foods will keep you feeling full for a long time, thus avoiding the need for any extra meals or calories.
- Proteins reduce your appetite by regulating the levels of hormones that control your feelings of hunger.3
- Protein-rich foods will also boost your metabolism and help you burn off the foods.
4. Eat Lots Of Veggies
A low-calorie, high-fiber diet is what you need to maintain a healthy weight. The fiber keeps you full and reduces appetite while the lack of calories prevents weight gain. The perfect food option with these features is vegetables. By eating a plateful of veggies for a meal, you eat enough without doing anything to put on weight.
5. Never Skip Breakfast
Want to be a success story? Follow those who’ve been there, done that. People who’ve maintained a steady weight, post weight loss, never skip breakfast. Here’s how it can help:
- Breakfast habits set the tone for the day. A healthy, satisfying breakfast will keep you in good mood all day long.
- A well-planned breakfast gives you the energy required to handle the day ahead, with essential nutrients, fibers, and minerals.4
- Scheduling breakfast will also help you schedule the rest of the morning and thus workout on time. Also, eating the right food post-workout will help your muscles recover.
- Breakfast might even keep you away from overeating or snacking later on.
6. Eat Properly
How you eat can be as important as what you eat. Eating at a calm, relaxed pace will help you stop chewing the moment your hunger is satisfied. This is extremely helpful, especially in cases like emotional eating, which is a major cause of obesity. So, when you eat, do not talk, do not watch TV, and just focus on what you eat instead.5
7. Drinks Lots Of Water
Drinking water is one of the essentials for weight loss and maintenance. Drinking water just before a meal will make you feel full and thus reduce your appetite. According to some studies, it might even increase the number of calories your body burns by improving the metabolism.6
Following a healthy diet will take you far, but not all the way. Exercising is equally important. Aim to get at least 150 minutes of exercise in a week. Most people who’ve successfully maintained weight after reaching their goal, for more than a few years, tend to exercise at least for 60 minutes every day. How you about planning this 1-hour exercise routine is up to you.
9. Boost Those Happy Hormones
Exercising is not all about making you feel exhausted and ripped. The disconnection from work, focussing on something you’re passionate about, and being able to zone out for a while all give your brain a healthy boost. The additional release of endorphins put you in a happy mood, reduce stress, and encourage you to eat right.7
Reduce Cardio And Work On The Muscles
While it might have helped you reach your weight-loss goal, cardio alone can’t help you maintain the weight for a longer period as it ignores the muscles reduces metabolism. Taking up weights will help with muscle growth, prevent its loss, and thus give the metabolism a quick boost. Discuss with your instructor and come with a workout plan that will target all the muscles.8
11. Keep An Eye On The Scale
By now, you know that there won’t be any drastic changes to your weight overnight. However, checking your weight regularly is a good way to keep you motivated. A slight increase from your ideal weight can wake you up. According to studies, people who check their weight regularly have been seen to eat fewer calories.9 This trick might or might not work for you, but give it a shot.
Suit Up To Fight The Temptations
Once you reach your goal, it can be quite tempting to have a cheat meal every now and then. After all, you did succeed in doing something really big! But don’t let up. No matter what, never miss a day of exercise or eat something that’ll ruin your efforts. To make it easier, plan a detailed the workouts and meal for an entire month. Even more important, stick to this plan every single day.
Fewer hours of sleep or poor-quality sleep is a major cause of obesity as it naturally leads to impulsive eating. By messing up the levels of the hormone ghrelin, lack of sleep will shoot up your appetite.10 Additionally, with the workouts, dieting, and your regular workout, you deserve those few hours of blissful peace.
Have a support system, be it in the form of a friend or family. With somebody else keeping track of your goals, you will be more inclined to keep up the pace. Even better, partner up with a friend or your spouse to help stick to your routine.
15. Blow Off Some Steam
Stress is a factor that has a major role to play in weight gain and obesity as it increases the level of the hormone cortisol. This rounds up your belly nicely while making you feel like eating more and more, constantly. Adding to that, we’ve all had those days when we just dig into a big bucket of ice cream to deal with stress. Focus on your goal of maintaining your weight and deal with the stress first. Combining your workouts with a few sessions of yoga and meditation might do the trick.
There’s no one specific way to perfectly maintain weight throughout your life. Find tricks that work out for you as an individual. Avoid following strict diets and get enough of nutritious foods. With a little bit of self-restraint and control, taking these steps to stay fit will soon become a natural part of your life.
|↑1||Clifton, Peter M., Dominique Condo, and Jennifer Beatrice Keogh. “Long term weight maintenance after advice to consume low carbohydrate, higher protein diets–a systematic review and meta analysis.” Nutrition, metabolism and cardiovascular diseases 24, no. 3 (2014): 224-235.|
|↑2||Pesta, Dominik H., and Varman T. Samuel. “A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats.” Nutrition & metabolism 11, no. 1 (2014): 53.|
|↑3||Weigle, David S., Patricia A. Breen, Colleen C. Matthys, Holly S. Callahan, Kaatje E. Meeuws, Verna R. Burden, and Jonathan Q. Purnell. “A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations–.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 82, no. 1 (2005): 41-48.|
|↑4||O’Neil, Carol E., Theresa A. Nicklas, and Victor L. Fulgoni. “Nutrient intake, diet quality, and weight/adiposity parameters in breakfast patterns compared with no breakfast in adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2008.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 114, no. 12 (2014): S27-S43.|
|↑5||Robinson, Eric, Paul Aveyard, Amanda Daley, Kate Jolly, Amanda Lewis, Deborah Lycett, and Suzanne Higgs. “Eating attentively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating–.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 97, no. 4 (2013): 728-742.|
|↑6||Boschmann, Michael, Jochen Steiniger, Gabriele Franke, Andreas L. Birkenfeld, Friedrich C. Luft, and Jens Jordan. “Water drinking induces thermogenesis through osmosensitive mechanisms.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 92, no. 8 (2007): 3334-3337.|
|↑7||Scully, Deirdre, John Kremer, Mary M. Meade, Rodger Graham, and Katrin Dudgeon. “Physical exercise and psychological well being: a critical review.” British journal of sports medicine 32, no. 2 (1998): 111-120.|
|↑8||Donnelly, Joseph E., Steven N. Blair, John M. Jakicic, Melinda M. Manore, Janet W. Rankin, and Bryan K. Smith. “American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 41, no. 2 (2009): 459-471.|
|↑9||Steinberg, Dori M., Deborah F. Tate, Gary G. Bennett, Susan Ennett, Carmen Samuel‐Hodge, and Dianne S. Ward. “The efficacy of a daily self‐weighing weight loss intervention using smart scales and e‐mail.” Obesity 21, no. 9 (2013): 1789-1797.|
|↑10||Patel, Sanjay R., and Frank B. Hu. “Short sleep duration and weight gain: a systematic review.” Obesity 16, no. 3 (2008): 643-653.|