Weight loss is a two part challenge. First, you need to lose weight. Then, comes the second part, keeping it off. Maintaining your weight is often more difficult than losing it. The reason is that weight loss can be done by making a short term effort. Making sure it won’t come back is a something that you need to worry about for years.
Some say that over 90% of diets fail. It’s not because people fail to lose weight. It’s because they gain it back afterward. In this article I want to provide you with some weight maintenance tips to help you keep the pounds off. I hope that you will find them useful.
Lose Weight The Right Way
Your ability to maintain your weight loss begins with how you actually achieve this weight loss to begin with. You need to choose a diet plan which will help you lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.
Avoid fad diets or those which advocate an extreme eating routine. Don’t use starvation diets or those which are based on a specific food. If you plan on using any supplements, make sure that they are affordable so you won’t have to quit using them after a short while for financial reasons.
If you do choose a restrictive nutrition plan or an extreme workout routine and you plan on following it for a short time only, make sure that you have a plan to gradually switch to a more sustainable routine. Don’t just stop your program and have nothing planned in its place.
Sleep Enough Hours
Weight maintenance is not just about food and exercise. It is also about leading a healthy life. One of the key factors which most people disregard is sleep. If you sleep too little, it is going to be hard to maintain your weight. In a study published by the International Association for the Study of Obesity, the effect of the hormone ghrelin was studied. Ghrelin is a hormone which increases appetite. A higher appetite makes it more likely that you will overeat and start to regain some of the weight that you’ve lost.
The amount of ghrelin in your body is increased when you sleep too little. This is why I recommend sleeping at least 7 hours each night. In addition, sufficient sleep increases the amount of the hormone Leptin in your system. Leptin actually reduces appetite so by sleeping more you’re improving the internal hormonal balance in your body and making it easier to avoid overeating. For more on this issue, check out this article: Lack of Sleep, Leptin and Ghrelin.
Work On Your Psychology
A study which attempted to find reasons for weight maintenance and relapse in obese women looked at 76 women. Some of the women used to be obese but managed to lose weight and to keep it off. The second group comprised of women who lost weight but suffered a relapse and gained it back. The third group was comprised of women at a healthy weight.
Through in-depth interviews with each of the subjects, a number of psychological factors which contribute to weight relapse were uncovered. Women who regained the weight they lost suffered from one or more of the following:
- Disappointment in the weight loss they achieved. Even if they had lost weight, it wasn’t good enough.
- A tendency to evaluate their self-worth by their body image and weight.
- Lack of vigilance when it came to weight control.
- Eating to improve their mood.
- A black and white thinking style. Either everything is good or it’s bad, with little or nothing in between.
You need to ask yourself, and your loved ones, whether you exhibit any of these behaviors. If you do, now is the time to take action and work on them. The way you think and feel is crucial for your long term weight maintenance success.
Reduce Stress In Your Life
One of the main reason why people eat too much is stress. It’s not called stress eating for nothing. People tend to subdue their anxiety with food. It’s a short term solution but it can cause long term damage to your weight loss effort.
To reduce stress you should:
- Get sufficient sleep.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid stressful situations.
- Practice yoga, meditation, or other calming activities.
You must also learn to break the link between your feeling of stress and hunger. You should always ask yourself whether what you’re experiencing is physical hunger or an emotional one.
Make Exercise a Daily Habit
Exercise is vital for maintaining your weight. As weight loss and weight gain come down to calories in vs. calories out, you need to be active to increase the amount of calories that you burn.
The reason why I want you to make exercise a daily habit is that habits are hard to change. They become a part of your routine.
It’s very easy to become complacent and stop exercising once you lose weight. You no longer have the clear goal that you did when you were trying to lose weight. It’s easy to leave things off for tomorrow or the next day, to skip a workout here and there.
Unless exercise is a habit, you will likely not put in the kind of effort that you did when you were trying to lose weight. This can quickly lead to weight gain.
I’m not suggesting that you need to go to the gym every day. An evening walk is good enough on some days. All that’s important is that you keep active. It’s good for your weight and for your health.
Control Your Calories
Exercise helps you burn more calories. Now you need to make sure that you don’t eat too many of them. You need to maintain control over your calories. I don’t mean counting them. I do not advocate calorie counting. What you need to do is be aware of approximately how many calories you’re eating.
Overeating is generally a thoughtless activity. If you just keep it in your mind that you need to have a broad estimate of how much you’re eating, you will naturally keep yourself in check.
Check Yourself and Take Swift Action
Even if you take all the steps above, you may still find that you’ve regained some of the weight you’ve lost. The important thing is to not get depressed and to take swift action to correct this situation. You should weigh yourself regularly (not too often) to be aware of your condition. If you find that you’ve gained weight, change your diet and increase physical activity to lose the excess weight while it is still little.
In order to maintain your weight you need to take a broad approach. It’s not enough to eat right and exercise on occasion. A healthy lifestyle is needed. Sleep, low stress, an active routine, psychology, and control over your food, are all important factors which will help you avoid a weight relapse.