Congratulations! After lots of effort and commitment, you accomplished your weight loss goal. You probably love your new body and feel so much better – mentally, physically and emotionally.
But now that you’ve come this far and the weight’s finally off, you want to make sure it stays off, right? To help you do that, here are the top 13 tips to maintain your weight after weight loss.
Why Does the Weight Come Back After Dieting?
First, it’s important to remember that it’s not your fault that it’s hard to keep the weight off. Researchers have found that within two years of losing weight, most dieters will end up weighing more than they did before their weight loss efforts began.
What’s the problem? Homeostasis. Now, usually, homeostasis is a good thing. It’s what helps keep everything stable and balanced in your body. Homeostasis is your body’s daily status quo.
Now, if your body is accustomed to weighing a certain amount, or your brain and stomach are used to consuming a certain amount of food every day, it can be a shock to your body when you decide to change this daily norm.
So, after you’ve lost weight, you might love it. But your body’s homeostasis might be freaking out a little bit because it wants to get back to the old “normal”. That’s because it’s not yet accustomed to this new normal.
Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Bruce Lee, says, “If you have been at a certain weight for a while, then the body tends to try to maintain that weight.”
How to Not Regain Weight
Dieting might have been a challenge, but keeping unwanted weight off is just as challenging for some. But here are some things you can do to keep that weight off and help your body recognize its new homeostasis.
1. Exercise Regularly
Everyone should exercise, whether they’re overweight or not. But if you’re striving to keep your body at a healthy weight, exercise is a definite must. It can help you to burn off excess calories and keep off unwanted pounds.
Plus, it helps to regulate your appetite, improve your mood and motivate you to stay on track.
Exercise can get boring, especially if you do the same sport or activity. So, try to alternate between two or three favorite activities. And even better, try to do it with someone who can hold you accountable and make it more enjoyable.
2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Without enough sleep, everyone puts themselves at risk for gaining weight. A good night’s sleep helps our body regulate its hormone production.
If your hormone production goes out of whack, it’s easier for our body to retain and/or gain unwanted weight. So, always aim to get enough sleep each night.
3. Eat Mindfully
Mindfulness during mealtime can help you pay attention to how you’re feeling. And this can cue you in on your satiation levels and whether or not you’re still hungry. When you eat more mindfully and more slowly, you also lower your risk of overeating.
Take time to enjoy every bite and be present as you experience the flavors, textures, and beauty of the meal before you.
4. Eat Dinner Two to Three Hours Before Bed
Eating late dinners means that you consume a lot of calories, which are only going to sit, unused throughout the night.
Instead of overloading your body this way, aim to eat your dinner at least two to three hours before you go to sleep. This will allow you to use some of this energy before hitting the sack. It will also give your body a chance to digest everything properly so that your body’s restorative nightly processes won’t be disrupted.
5. Don’t Deprive
Your body hates feeling deprived. And the more you deprive yourself, the more you’re likely to cave in and binge.
Instead of cutting out certain food groups entirely, allow yourself a small amount once or twice a week. That way, your body won’t feel like it’s being insulted, cheated or deprived.
6. Increase Your Fruit and Vegetable Intake
The best way to keep your mind and body feeling happy and full is to allow yourself plenty of fruits and vegetables. They’re rich in nutrients, fibers, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and so much more.
When you’re enjoying so much of the earth’s bounty, you might not experience former cravings, especially when it comes to sugar and processed carbohydrates.
7. Cut Back on Processed Foods
Processed foods generally don’t fill you up. But there’s one thing that almost all processed foods are full of: sugar. And consuming too much added sugar, especially fructose, will inevitably lead to weight gain.
So, whenever you can, cut out processed foods and replace them with whole, unrefined and unprocessed foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes.
8. Increase Healthy Fats and Proteins
People following the Atkins’ diet know the importance of fats and proteins in obtaining a healthy weight. These people also can continue to eat fats and proteins once the diet is over and this ensures that they never feel deprived.
Instead, they feel full and satiated, while also consuming nutrient-dense calories.
9. Eat a Balanced Breakfast
Skipping breakfast is a general “No-No”. Those who do skip breakfast tend to overeat throughout the day. In addition, they tend to experience sugar crashes that makes them reach for quick fixes like sugary caffeinated beverages and processed foods.
But by eating a balanced breakfast with carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, you set your body’s metabolism in motion and create balance for the rest of the day.
10. Never Eat While Standing, Watching TV or Scrolling Through Your iPhone
Mindless eating will almost certainly lead to overeating. So, put away your technological devices and give yourself at least 20 to 30 minutes to enjoy your meal. This will allow you to practice mindfulness, gratitude, and to take part in meaningful conversations while you dig in.
11. Check Your Weight Twice Every Month
You don’t have to obsess about your weight, but it’s important to check your weight once every two weeks or so. Numbers on a scale can help you understand if your daily habits are helping you or hindering your weight loss efforts.
12. Release Limiting Beliefs, not Just Extra Weight
Energy healer, Carol Tuttle, suggests that your limiting beliefs and the ideas you have about yourself, your body and your health are what’s making it difficult to lose weight. These same ideas can be the reason why it’s difficult for you to keep the weight off, too.
By releasing these negative beliefs that are holding you back, it’s possible that you can also release unwanted pounds.
13. Find a Support Group or Friend Who’s Committed to a Healthier Lifestyle, too
Friendship, belonging and human connection are absolutely necessary for your health and wellness, especially when you’re faced with the challenging task of keeping off all that unwanted weight.
To help you get through this, seek out a local or online support group to help you stay motivated. Otherwise, see if you can join any of your friends who are also trying to improve their weight and/or lifestyle.
You can maintain your weight after weight loss. It might not be easy, but it’s totally do-able, and these 13 tips will help you feel great for years to come.