How to Successfully Keep The Weight Off
The majority of people who lose weight will regain half of that lost weight within one year. And many others will regain it within 3 years. So, what's the secret to keeping that weight off in the long term?
Keeping a healthy weight can be broken down into three main factors: eating healthy foods, not overeating and engaging in some physical activity. But as simple as that sounds, actually sticking to it can be hard.
We make multiple decisions about what goes into our bodies every day and quite often we don't even think about it. We are also heavily influenced by media - constant advertising of junk food at meal times and during sporting events. Not to mention the availability of so much food and drink that is just blatantly unhealthy.
There's nothing wrong with having a snack. Your body is sending you a message that it's requiring food and that equates to needing energy. But often, snacks are the worst possible type. The vending machine doesn't specialise in healthy snacks - only sugar-filled bars, carb-laden potato chips or corn chips, etc. At least most drink machines now have water as an option in addition to all the unhealthy sugar-filled soft drinks and fruit juices. If you want a healthy snack, be organised and take it with you. Have an apple or a low-sugar yoghurt.
Losing the Weight
Obviously there often needs to be a special effort to lose the weight initially before you can get into weight maintenance mode. Most people make the mistake of just focusing on the scales. Weight is NOT the most important measurement of success even though we always talk about "losing weight". What you want to lose is "fat". You want to lose those unsightly bulges - shape up and slim down.
Fast weight loss usually indicates that muscle is being lost as well as fat. Remember that muscle weighs 3 times as much as fat. It is actually possible to slim down, tone up the muscle and look great, and not see a massive change on the scales.
Another key point is that muscle burns a lot more energy (calories) than fat so if you lose muscle it's going to be harder to keep the weight off. If you tone up your muscle - not necessarily bulk up - weight maintenance becomes easier.
Losing weight the right way makes a massive difference to keeping it off. Usually, if it comes off fast, it will probably go back on just as fast. That's the Yo-Yo effect.
Guides to Healthy Weight Maintenance
1. Keep to a Meal Routine: eat at roughly the same times each day. People who succeed at long-term weight loss tend to have a regular meal rhythm. A consistent diet regimen helps with long-term weight loss maintenance.
2. Choose Healthy Fats: Source healthy fats from nuts, avocado and oily fish instead of fast food. Trans-fats are linked to an increased risk of heart-disease.
3. Walking: Have a goal of 10,000 steps a day. Take the stairs and get off one bus stop earlier to ensure you're getting your heart rate up every day. Most phones have an app that can track your steps.
4. Pack healthy snacks: Instead of chips, biscuits or candy bars have an apple or protein snack.
5. Read food labels: check the fat, sugar and salt content on food labels and choose accordingly.
6. Control Your Portion Size: use smaller plates, and drink a glass of water and wait five minutes then check in with your hunger before going back for seconds.
7. Break up Sitting Time: decreasing sedentary time and increasing activity is linked to substantial health benefits. Time spent sedentary is related to excess weight and obesity, independent of physical activity level.
8. Think About What You Drink: choose water and limit fruit juice to one small glass per day, and preferably have freshly squeezed juice.
9. Eat Like the French: slow down and eat while sitting at a table, not on the go. Internal signals regulating food intake, such as hunger and fullness, are not be as effective while distracted.
10. Have at least five serves of fruit/vegetables a day: whether fresh, frozen or tinned: fruit and vegetables have high nutritional quality and low energy density. Eating the recommended amount produces health benefits, including reduction in the risk of cancer and coronary heart disease.