Since its inception in 1994, the United States’ National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) has monitored over 10,000 individuals who have dropped considerable amounts of weight and maintained it for extended periods of time. The study discovered that participants who have maintained their weight loss successfully employ several similar tactics. Whatever diet you use to lose weight in the first place, the following practices may help you maintain your weight loss:
Decrease calorie intake
According to some experts, properly regulating your weight comes down to a simple equation: eat fewer calories than you expend. But this is oversimplifying the process. The weight loss journey isn’t a linear process. When you restrict calories, you may experience weight loss for the first few weeks. That’s because as you lose weight, you lose both water and lean tissue, your metabolism slows, and your body undergoes physical changes.
Thus, in order to maintain weekly weight loss, you must continue to restrict calories. Bear in mind that calories differ from food to food and may have different effects on your body. For sustainable long-term weight loss, opt for foods that fill you up and are low in calories. Vegetables and oats make up this category.
Be on a low carb diet
A low-carbohydrate diet can lower your risk of heart disease and limit your consumption of saturated and trans fats food. Instead, you consume lean meats, fish, and vegetarian protein food, non-starchy vegetables, and lots of leafy green and low-fat dairy products.
Eat healthy fat
Frequently, we fall into the trap of making inefficient trade-offs like substituting fat for sugar or other refined carbohydrates with high, unhealthy calories. In other words, we fall for the idea that if we don’t want to gain weight, avoid fat. This isn’t entirely true. There is a healthy and unhealthy fat. Not all fat is hazardous to your health. Healthy or “good” fats can actually help with weight control, mood regulation, and tiredness reduction. Unsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, soy milk, and fatty fish can help you feel full and increase the overall quality of your diet.
Prioritize Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet stresses the consumption of healthy fats and carbohydrates, as well as significant amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish, and olive oil—and very little meat or cheese. However, the Mediterranean diet is about more than food. Regular physical activity and meal portioning are also critical components.
Replace emotional eating with mindful eating
Avoid eating when you are not hungry. Always eat to satiate your hunger. Using food as a source of comfort or to alleviate stress can swiftly derail any weight loss goal. Turning to food when we are upset or anxious, defeats the purpose of weight loss. If you snack when you’re anxious, bored, lonely or snack while unwinding in front of the television at the end of a hectic day, do something about it. Recognize your emotional eating triggers and see how to cope with them to aid in your weight loss goals. Oftentimes the only way to handle emotional eating is to address the emotional need. So,
- Lonely or bored? reach out to others, not the refrigerator. Call up a funny friend who makes you laugh, read a book.
- If you feel Stressed – Consider yoga, meditation, or a warm bath.
- If you feel reduced energy or low, Consider taking a brief or long walk around, listening to stimulating music, or taking a nap.
Cultivate healthy habits
- Concentrate while eating. Avoid eating while working, watching television, or driving. It’s all too easy to consume mindlessly.
- Eat slowly and chew more. Slowly consume your food, appreciating the aromas and textures. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your food and its flavor.
- Know when you are satisfied and stop. It takes time for your brain to register that you’ve had enough. You are not required to always clean your plate.
- Increase the number of vegetables in your favorite main courses to add more substance. Rather than frying or breading vegetables, eat them raw or steamed, Start your meal with a salad or vegetable soup to feel more satisfied and eat less of your main course.
- Set yourself up for weight reduction success by taking control of your eating environment: when and how much you eat, as well as the foods you make readily available.
- Reduce your intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Limiting sugary foods can result in a slimmer waistline and a decreased risk of diabetes. Avoid unhealthy quantities of sugar and refined carbohydrates in the form of white bread, pasta, pastries, white flour, and white rice and substitute whole grains for refined carbs.
- Consume fruit, vegetables, and fiber. Even though you’re reducing your calorie intake, this does not mean you have to eat less food. Beans, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains are high in fiber and take longer to digest, which makes them filling—and ideal for weight loss. It’s normally acceptable to have as much fresh fruit and non-starchy vegetables as desired—you’ll feel satisfied before you’ve had too many calories.
- Fruits such as berries and bananas can be added to low-sugar cereal to serve as sweeteners and flavors. You’ll still get plenty of sweetness, but at a lower-calorie, sugar, and fiber count. Increase the nutritional value of sandwiches by including veggies and avocado. Healthy snacks like carrots and nuts.
- Meal prepping helps you prepare your meals in advance. You may make your own single-serve snacks using plastic bags or containers. Maintaining a regular meal schedule will assist you in avoiding eating when you are not actually hungry.
- Increase your water consumption. Thirst is frequently confused with hunger, so drinking water helps you avoid consuming additional calories.
- Reduce the temptations in your home. If you share a kitchen with someone who is not on a diet, keep tempting foods hidden.
- Prepare your own meals in the comfort of your own home. This allows you to have complete control over both portion size and the ingredients used in the cuisine. Restaurant and commercial foods typically contain far more sugar, bad fat, and calories than food prepared at home—not to mention greater portion sizes.
- Reduce your serving size. Utilize small plates, bowls, and cups to create the illusion of greater quantities. Don’t eat out of huge dishes or directly from food packages, which makes it difficult to estimate how much you’ve eaten.
- Have an early breakfast and early dinner. Consuming a higher proportion of your daily calories at breakfast and a lower proportion at dinner may aid in weight loss. Consuming a larger, more nutritious breakfast will jump-start your metabolism, prevent you from feeling hungry throughout the day, and allow you more time to burn off the calories.
Aside from burning calories, exercise can boost your metabolism and improve your confidence; start early and benefit from it right now. Take a stroll, stretch, and do bodyweight exercises. A small amount of physical activity every day is better than nothing at all. As you lose weight and gain energy, it will be easy to increase your physical activity over time. Pick an activity that you enjoy so that it doesn’t feel like a chore.
Social support is critical. Group support helps participants lose weight and maintain a healthy eating pattern for life. Also, seek out encouragement from family and friends.
Remember, speak with your healthcare professional if you feel like you are struggling, as they can help you determine whether private weight loss surgery could be an appropriate option for you.
Utilize tools to monitor your development
Smartphone apps, fitness monitors, or simply keeping a notebook can all assist you in keeping track of your food intake, calorie expenditure, and weight loss. Visualizing the results in black and white can assist you in remaining motivated.
Get enough sleep and rest
Sleep deprivation stimulates your appetite, causing you to crave more food than usual; at the same time, it prevents you from feeling content, causing you to want to continue eating. Sleep deprivation can also have a detrimental effect on motivation, so aim for eight hours of excellent sleep per night.
Maintaining a healthy weight
It is posited that 95% of people who lose weight on a diet will gain it back within a few years or months. While data is scanty to assert this claim, it is true that many weight-loss programs fail over time. Often, this is simply because very restrictive diets are extremely difficult to maintain over time.
Some diet books claim to contain all the answers to successfully dropping all the weight you desire—and keeping it off. But in reality, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for long-term, sustainable weight loss. Finding the weight loss approach that works best for you will almost certainly take time and will require patience, effort, and some trial with various meals and diets.
Therefore, do not be discouraged if a diet that worked for another person does not work for you. Additionally, do not berate yourself if a diet proves to be too stringent for you to maintain. Finally, a diet is only beneficial if it is one that you can maintain over time.