Losing weight, especially if you have a significant amount to shed, is no easy feat. Even more, keeping the weight off once it’s been lost is often considered the true challenge; some commonly-held estimates in the weight loss world involve startling gain-it-back stats. For example, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles discovered about two-thirds of people who lose weight tend to gain it all back and then some within just a few years their initial loss.
Couple this with endless stories about celebrities or friends who packed on the pounds after they lost weight or whose weight continually ebbs and flows, and it’s obvious that weight loss maintenance isn’t easy. However, it is possible. Here are several tips to help you stay on track.
1. View your new eating and fitness habits as a way of life
Don’t make the mistake of falling back into old habits once you reach your weight loss goal. Just because the scale says a certain favorable number isn’t a green light to start eating in ways that caused your weight gain in the first place. Before you know it, the pounds start creeping up.
Instead, break out of the mindset that healthy eating is only about weight loss or that it’s boring. Otherwise, you’ll constantly feel deprived and annoyed with every spinach salad and apple you enjoy.
Embrace your eating and exercise habits as part of a healthy lifestyle that’s not only keeping pounds at bay, but staving off infections, giving you more energy, cleansing your organs and even improving your mood and memory. Make it part of who you are, every day.
2. Have seconds
Yes, you read correctly.
One mistake I made after losing 70 pounds back in 2007 was engaging in extreme food restriction for fear of gaining weight again. I continued to eat as though I were still on a diet, not even consuming one single cookie or having extra helpings of even healthy foods like tomatoes or kiwi. Eventually, I fell into some eating disordered behaviors, but thankfully am back on track. During this time, I learned that it’s okay to have seconds from time to time.
Practicing restraint of certain foods is good for weight loss maintenance, but too much of it can be detrimental. You might end up losing too much weight or, you might overindulge since you deprive yourself so much on a regular basis. It’s all about balance.
3. Become more involved with health-minded friends
This doesn’t mean you should abandon friends who don’t share your gym-loving passion, but at the same time, reminders of your old eating habits (or lack of them) could act as triggers. Consider engaging in indoor and outdoor activities with friends who are health minded or who have lost weight themselves. You’ll all motivate each other to stay healthy. Like the foods you eat, this too, is all about balance. Interact with a mix of people, making sure health conscious individuals are also a part of this picture.
4. Sign up for health and wellness e-newsletters
Many health and wellness sites have sections where you can sign up for a daily newsletter. From recipes to exercise routines, you can tailor your preferences. Many give you the option of choosing to have information delivered to your inbox once daily, twice daily or other variations. Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, New Jersey offers this on her site. Why not subscribe (it's free) to Amy's Eat List today and get weekly insight delivered right to your inbox?
By choosing to see health-related information every day as soon as you open your email, you’re immediately exposed to positive information about fitness, healthy recipes, new exercises and nutrition advice. Regularly seeing such details act as encouraging reminders to stay in shape physically and mentally.
5. Surround yourself with positive body image mantras
Many people are frustrated by the excess skin and stretch marks that develop after they lose weight. However, that often comes with the territory, especially if you’ve shed a significant amount pounds. But rather than feel down over these physical changes, develop some uplifting body mantras that undo those negative body image thoughts. Consider making them a part of your personality. For example, “I love my stretch marks; they’re my wild streaks!” may be a fun, positive mantra to tell yourself.
6. Look at old pictures of your past self
If you find yourself drooling over donuts or slacking off in the exercise department, look at some past images of yourself. Seeing how far you’ve come in terms of feeling stronger and being healthier (perhaps your blood pressure or your “bad” cholesterol (LDL) numbers have improved) can motivate you to stay on track. Indulge periodically, but not so much as to return to your unhealthier habits.
7. Remember how much your health has improved
Many people remain motivated to continue their healthy eating and exercise habits because their weight loss led to improved health conditions. Several people say that without the extra pounds, their joints don’t hurt as much. Others report no longer requiring blood pressure medication, say they can breathe easier or that certain heart-healthy, cancer-fighting foods have improved overall health.
Think back to any health issues you had—no matter how small—that improved as a result of your weight loss and remind yourself that no bag of potato chips is worth medical visits and related bills.
Good luck. You can do this.
©Copyright 2011-2017, Jennifer Lea Reynolds, FlabbyRoad.com, Flabby Road and Flabby Road: Moving on & Leaving the Elastic Waistbands Behind. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Lea Reynolds and Flabby Road with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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Jennifer Lea Reynolds
U.Jennifer Lea Reynolds is a weight loss success story who enjoys living a healthy lifestyle. A fan of the elliptical, roasted asparagus and remembering to put the lid on the blender, she’s appeared in many national and local print publications. She lives in New England where she writes professionally about health and wellness in online publications including U.S. News & World Report, Reader's Digest, Woman's Day, The Huffington Post, and more.