If you've ever lost and regained the same 15, 25 or even 50 pounds, you know how hard it is to maintain your weight. This is probably why we often hear that it is a lot easier to lose weight than it is to keep it off. That's why finding a program that morphs into a lifestyle is the key to maintaining your weight loss. If you're ready to say goodbye to dieting, and hello to a new lifestyle, we have you covered. Here, we share six top tips to keep the weight off for good.
Have a Realistic Goal Weight"If you find your weight loss stalls at a certain point, it may be incongruent with your personal weight goal, or it may be your body telling you that any less weight is unfeasible," Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition , explains. In other words, your "goal weight" may not be your body's "goal weight." If you're exercising five days a week with regular weight-training and maintaining a balanced diet with adequate protein, Moreno says you may need to respect that your body is communicating to you that it's at its set point. If you can't maintain a weight by eating "normally" (a dietitian can evaluate this for you), Moreno says you're likely not at your body's happy weight.
Be Mindful About Portions and Snacking
"Eating the crumbs that fall onto the counter, licking the remnants off the peanut butter spoon, polishing off your toddler's leftovers from his plate and taking bites and bits while cooking can actually be significant over time if done frequently and mindlessly," Moreno says. Her recommendation? Try to be mindful of your hunger and fullness, and ask yourself these four questions when you're about to eat something that isn't a concrete meal or snack:
- Am I truly hungry for this, or is it just "there?"
- Am I bored?
- Am I anxious?
- Am I on auto-pilot?
Have External SupportFamily and friends should be supportive in this transition, Dr. Rocio Salas-Whalen, endocrinologist and founder of New York Endocrinology in New York City, says. "Eating is very social, and we can feel peer pressure to eat more or eat things that we know we shouldn't," she explains. That's why having a supportive group of people can help you avoid situations that could make you choose behaviors that lead to regaining the weight.
Schedule a Quarterly Report With YourselfWe have lots of meetings with other people, so why not schedule one with yourself? Certified personal trainer and Precision Nutrition certified sports nutritionist, Amanda Dale , says you should first identify the initial and consistent habits that helped you lose weight (for example, walking 10K steps per day, eating a vegetable with every meal or drinking only calorie-free beverages), then every three months have an honest check-in about whether you are maintaining those habits regularly. If the answer is no, Dale says to simply recommit to the habits that you know work for you, and focus on maintaining those until the next quarter.
Live an Active LifeWhile this may seem obvious, we often forget that being active isn't just about exercise. That's exactly the way Amy Shapiro, RD and founder of NYC-based private practice, Real Nutrition feels. "Living an active life doesn't mean you need to work out more; it just means you need to spend more time moving than not." Some examples of moving more include standing on the subway, walking to work, pacing while you take phone calls and using a stand-up desk.
Participate in Regular Strength Training
The benefits of strength training are endless but helping to maintain weight loss is likely one of the top perks. "Maintaining and/or building muscle mass increases the number of calories you burn at rest—muscle is an active tissue, fat is not," Shapiro says. Lifting weights or doing resistance training three times a week will help to maintain your muscle mass and therefore keep the weight off. Aim to include movements that challenge your entire body and consider doing full-body workouts for two of your training sessions.
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