Maintaining Is The Key
Once you’ve worked so hard to lose weight and regain your health, you don’t want to risk losing any ground. But how can you maintain your weight loss, and your health, in normal life?
Weigh yourself regularly. Sounds too simple, but Dr. Sciamanna’s research confirms what we first learned from the National Weight Control Registry. People who weigh themselves most often and most consistently are best at catching and releasing new pounds before those interlopers acquire residency status.
Plan your meals. You can maintain your weight with a low-fat, low-carb, or well-balanced diet; just pick one and stick with it. That takes planning. The Penn State team confirmed that people who successfully maintain their weight tend to eat the same things most of the time, but they vary what goes with these foods. A grilled-chicken salad will taste different if you use mixed greens with mustard vinaigrette instead of spinach with raspberry vinaigrette. Add chopped vegetables to the former and sliced fruit to the latter for even more variety. You’re still having “a salad” for dinner. A standard meal that you can modify allows you to be consistent without being boring.
Make a list before you shop. The “plan your meals” bit works only if you also write down everything you need before you shop. Again, it’s common sense, but it’s uncommonly used.
Focus on process, not outcome. When you’re losing weight, you think of an outcome and then find a process that takes you there. For weight maintenance, it helps to start with the process. Try these sustainable habits.
Drink a lot of water. The water itself may or may not be important for weight control, but the practice of drinking it throughout the day serves as a gentle between-meals reminder.
Eat the same number of meals a day. It doesn’t matter if you have three, four, or six. You just can’t skip a meal or planned snack. It disrupts your hunger cues and puts you at risk of eating stuff you’d typically avoid, or of overeating when you finally do eat.
– via ACTIVE.com
Deciding Who You Want To Be
Changing your weight has an effect on much more than just the scale. Getting healthier often changes your outlook, your habits, and how you feel in your body.
For everyone who works to lose weight, who is it that manages to keep the weight off and stay healthy long term?
1. They do it for themselves first.
“Your desire to maintain must be driven by something that’s deeper and consistent with your own internal values,” says Scott Kahan, MD, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness.
Take some time to think about what’s really important to you and how your weight ties into it. For example, you want to be there to see your grandkids grow up, or to take that biking vacation you’ve always wanted to do.
2. They prize exercise.
You could lose weight based on your diet alone. But to maintain weight loss, physical activity is an absolute must, says James O. Hill, PhD, co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry, a national database of more than 10,000 people who have lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it off an average of 5.5 years.
Most people in the registry move for about an hour a day, and walking is their preferred activity. If walking for 60 minutes straight sounds daunting, it’s fine to break it up, or do something else you enjoy, Kahan says.
3. They get their baggage in check.
Many people turn to food when they’re stressed. If that’s you, learning new ways to handle your emotions is a must.
Experiment to find things that work for you. Some ideas: Get into your garden, go for a walk, torch stress (and calories) with a serious workout, do yoga to chill out, or connect with a friend.
Want more ideas? Consider booking a few sessions with a counselor who has experience working with people to overcome their emotional eating.
4. They don’t go it alone.
If you’re a lone wolf, it’s time to join a pack. “Everybody needs some support, whether it’s emotional or logistical, so you stay accountable,” Hill says.
Try teaming up with family, friends, or co-workers, or sign up for a weight loss support group even if you’re already at your goal weight, Kahan says. If you slimmed down with help from a dietitian or other expert, keep checking in with that person every now and then.
– via WebMD
What is your goal weight? Do you have plans to maintain your weight loss?