So you’ve reached your goal weight, now what? It can be relatively easy to lose weight when you put the work in, but it is maintaining that weight loss that can be difficult. To successfully maintain weight loss, it’s important to view it as a lifestyle change, as opposed to a short-term fix. Rather than going from diet to diet and trying multiple detoxes and cleanses, adopt new habits and stick to them. Make small consistent changes every week, until eventually these will become regular habits that have a huge impact on your weight and wellbeing. Here are some tips for maintaining long-term weight loss:
1. Get your emotions in check
Are you someone that tends to eat when you are stressed, upset or bored? If this is the case, you need to change your emotional connection to food. Rather than viewing food as a way to provide comfort, take each bite thinking of the nourishment and good health it provides. If you are stressed or upset, go for a run; not only will this aid weight loss it will also release endorphins to put you in a good mood. If you are bored, do something productive. Start that book you’ve been meaning to read or get through some of the items on your to-do list.
2. Find healthy ways to manage stress
As previously mentioned, for many people stress is a common trigger to binge on food. When we are stressed our body releases cortisol, a stress hormone that increases our appetite and causes cravings for all the wrong foods. Cortisol also promotes fat storage, especially of visceral fat; the dangerous kind that can surround your vital organs and cause heart disease and diabetes. Stress is not only bad for weight loss, but has a myriad of negative effects on general health and wellbeing. Healthy ways to manage stress include yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, reading one of your favourite books, and listening to relaxing music. You may benefit from taking magnesium; a vital mineral that helps to alleviate stress and relieve restless sleep.
3. Avoid “cheat days”
While you might love the idea of having a cheat day, this over-the-top way of rewarding yourself is not feasible when it comes to long term weight loss. Moderation is key. Rather than gorging on high-carb foods all day long, allow yourself to indulge when the right moment arises. Enjoy some pizza over dinner with a friend, or treat yourself to a piece of birthday cake on your mum’s birthday. This way you can enjoy the food without feeling guilty or derailing your weight loss efforts. If you do find yourself getting cravings between lunch and dinner, have some Synd-X Protein Powder. Synd-X is a low-carb, high protein powder that reduces cravings for carbohydrates and reduces hunger.
4. Find a workout you enjoy
Working out shouldn’t be a chore, find something that gets you moving and causes you to break out in a sweat. The gym isn’t for everyone, perhaps you prefer going for a run outside or participating in a group sport like soccer, basketball, swimming; or maybe even a boot camp class. A great way to stay motivated is to find a friend or family member to work out with. Keep things interesting by mixing things up with new exercises or creating an awesome playlist for your workouts. You may benefit from taking glutamine, an amino acid that is vital for muscle growth and healthy function, and also assists muscle recovery after exercise.
5. Eat slowly
Food should not be consumed in a rush, but savoured. Try to sit down when you’re eating, and chew every mouthful 15 to 20 times before swallowing. This is very useful for giving our bodies adequate time to signal we are full, as well as allowing more time for our digestive enzymes to break food down. It generally takes 20 minutes for our stomach to register fullness, so the slower you eat, the better. Try to put your cutlery down in between mouthfuls, and participate in conversation rather than speed eating. Not only are you being more social, it is also much better for your digestion and absorption of foods.
6. Establish a routine
Establishing a healthy lifestyle should not consist of strict rules and depressing restrictions, however guidelines are essential for maintaining focus. Implementing a regular routine and dietary plan is key for keeping you heading in the right direction. Planning healthy homemade favourites ahead of time is a good way to avoid making poor choices out of convenience, and ensures the quality of the ingredients you are using. Prepping in advance also makes your life easier and saves money. It takes an average of 3 weeks to form a new habit, so even when you are feeling unmotivated these ways will become habits and easier and easier to stick to.
7. Don’t get obsessive
To keep track of your weight, don’t get into the habit of jumping on the scales every day. Rather, go off how you feel and how your clothes fit. If you like to weigh yourself, allow at least a week between weigh-ins. Ensure to weigh yourself in the morning, before you eat and after you have gone to the toilet for a more accurate result.
8. Drink lots of water
Drinking water is essential for a number of reasons, such as ensuring hydration of your liver and kidneys, ridding toxins from the body and aiding weight loss. Get into the habit of taking a bottle of water with you everywhere you go; as your body requires small, frequent sips of water throughout the day. Drinking water can also prevent overeating, as often people mistake hunger for thirst and reach for a snack when they should really be drinking more fluids.
For further information on weight loss maintenance, check out Dr Cabot’s book ‘I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why’. It consists of a 12-week eating plan set out in three stages; with the third stage designed to be a long-term lifestyle change.