For a lot of us, maintaining our weight after we have finally, after putting so much effort, time, and patience in the process of weight loss, reached our goal weight is and can be a problem. The main reason, especially for anyone who has been following a certain diet plan that has, until now, provided instructions as to what you should and should not be eating, is being left without a plan.
After a diet plan ends, many of us are clueless as to what, how much, and when they should be eating. Often the overwhelming feeling is what causes us to get back to our unhealthy eating habits, thus leading to weight gain, yet again.
But there are other reasons as well, that can easily lead to gaining back the lost weight. Being under a lot of stress, going through yet another sleepless night, eating too much, even too much of healthy foods, and forgetting everything about the importance of regular physical activity are only some of the reasons on this list (1).
The best ways to help you manage your weight
The reasons that we mentioned before are exactly why we recommend following the tips that we have to share with you. With these tips, you should be able to maintain your lost weight, continuing to follow a healthy lifestyle that will benefit your physical and mental health. Apply these tips as a part of your everyday life, and you will be far from gaining that lost weight back ever again.
Start your day with a healthy breakfast
Eating breakfast is important at any time in your life, including that when you are trying to lose weight and that when you are trying to hold to those weight loss results. It is essential that you make eating a healthy breakfast a part of your everyday morning routine. Make sure that you wake up a couple of minutes earlier to have enough time to prepare a healthy breakfast that you can even take with you to work. Eating a chia pudding with some berries, overnight oats with some banana, or an omelet are all great breakfast options.
As science suggests, those who eat breakfast each day tend to have healthier habits, exercise more, and consume more of the recommended macro- and micronutrients, which is exactly what will keep you away from gaining back the lost weight (2). One study was done back in 2002 actually showed that 78% of the participants who ate breakfast maintained their weight loss results for at least a year (3).
Another mistake that many people do is forgetting to drink enough water. Staying hydrated is very important for our health, including the part when you are trying to maintain your weight loss results, and there are a few reasons as to why that is.
Drinking a tall glass of water before a meal can prevent you from overeating and help you keep your calorie intake in order (4). In addition, drinking more water will help you to burn more calories throughout the day as well (5). So make sure that you take that water bottle with you wherever you may go to keep sipping on water at any time.
Keep on moving
Being regularly physically active plays an important role in weight maintenance. As expected, it will help you burn more calories, boost your metabolism, and improve your mood, among many other mental and physical health benefits.
Most importantly, it has been scientifically proven that being physically active will help you to maintain your weight after weight loss. Several different studies have shown that people who do at least 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity are more likely to maintain their weight after weight loss (6, 7). If you are tired of running or going to the gym, then perhaps you can experiment a bit and find another workout to keep things interesting and keep that lost weight from ever coming back.
Include protein in every meal
Eating enough protein on a daily level is bound to help you maintain your weight after weight loss. It is worth mentioning that protein helps you reduce your appetite, boost metabolism, and promote fullness – all of the effects that will allow you to hold back to those weight loss results (8, 9, 10). You will feel more full, stepping away from all those dangerous “empty calories," and burn more calories, successfully maintaining your weight.
One of the best tips that we can give you is to include protein in each and every one of your meals, including the optional snacks. Some great and tasty protein sources are eggs, lean meat, beans, legumes, tofu, seeds, nuts, fish, cheese, milk, Greek yogurt, etc. There are a lot of options that you can experiment with in order to get more protein in your diet, thus maintaining your weight.
Eat lots of fruits and veggies
Most fruits and veggies, with some exceptions, of course, are low in calories and high in the much-needed nutrients (11, 12). Also, our beloved fruits and veggies are filled with helpful fiber. This means that by eating fresh fruits and veggies, you will feel more full, thus efficiently reducing the calorie intake throughout the day (13, 14). In order to maintain your weight, make sure that you eat 2 to 4 servings of fruits and veggies that you can add to your meals or use them as a delicious snack in the middle of the day.
Do not be afraid to lift some weights
In all the time that you have spent being physically active, how far away did you stay from lifting weights? We understand that it is not everybody’s dream to have bulky legs or arms, but that does not have to happen when you are lifting weights.
In fact, weight lifting is bound to provide some great weight loss and weight maintenance results. Those who have introduced weight lifting as a part of their workout routine are considered to be more likely able to maintain their weight loss results as compared to those who did not (15). So it is time to build some positive mindset towards weight lifting and introduce some resistance training at least two times a week to get those muscles to activate and grow.
Get a good night sleep
In general, sleep deprivation is not linked, and it will never be linked to anything good, so why would you think that it will help you maintain or lose any weight at all? As soon as you are done reading this article, it is time to either go to bed to plan out a sleep schedule that you will be following instead of staying up late, depending on what time it is where you live, that is.
But seriously, being sleep deprived has been linked to obesity on multiple occasions (16, 17). Plus, staying up late just means that you will be spending the night in front of the TV, binge eating junk food, which will definitely cause weight gain in the long-run. It is time to adjust your sleeping habits and start getting those 7 to 8 hours of recommended sleep each night.
Watch over your carb intake
Eating too many carbs is what will definitely erase every result that you have achieved throughout the hard work that you have been putting at the gym. We are not saying that all carbs are evil, but you do have to be smart while eating carbs.
Maintaining your weight will be easier if you watch over the types and amounts of carbs that you include in your daily diet. Their importance cannot be denied, but still, certain types of carbs are better to be avoided. For example, make sure that your intake of refined, simple carbs such as those found in white bread, white pasta, store-bought fruit juices, energy drinks, sugary coffee, and teas is at its minimum.
Instead, introduce more low-calorie foods that offer complex carbs that your body will actually need to burn extra calories in order to digest them. This list would include brown rice, buckwheat, corn, oats, quinoa, barley, as well as all of the delicious fruits and veggies as well. Keep your carb intake low in order to maintain your weight loss results the best that you can, as suggested by many researchers around the world. Following a low-carb diet is bound to help you lose and then maintain your weight in the long-run (18).
Manage your stress levels
If you remember, we mentioned the high-stress levels as one of the reasons why you keep gaining back your lost weight over and over again. It is the high cortisol levels, which is the so-called stress hormone, that can contribute to weight gain, according to science (19).
Well, here is a little trick for you – make sure that your stress levels are low as possible by relying on some effective relaxation methods. Regular physical activity is a great way to cope with stress and let off some steam at the gym. Getting a nice, relaxing massage, or even a good night's sleep can help you with that as well. Maybe you would like to try out yoga and meditation or even acupuncture – there are many options that you can explore, each more promising than the previous one.
Forget about cheat days
One unhealthy habit of ours that keeps leading back to either weight gain while dieting or weight regain after the diet has been completed is having way too many cheat days. People tend to think of their weekends as their cheat days, which means that they can enjoy all of their favorite, unhealthy foods such as potato chips, candy, cakes, and fast food, without realizing what this does to their body and their weight loss goals.
Research shows that those who are following regular healthy eating patterns all throughout the week, including the weekend, are more likely to achieve sustainable weight loss results that are meant to last (20). So instead of engaging in two whole days of unhealthy eating, here is an idea – have a donut now and then. Do you like potato chips? Have some and get it over with. You do not have to wait for the weekend to come so that you can have some of your favorite, even unhealthy, food. You just need to be mindful of how much of that unhealthy food you are eating.
Keep a food diary
Now that you are no longer trying to lose weight, you can use a calorie tracking app or a food diary to make sure that your calorie intake is still on point. Calculate your recommended calorie intake according to your age, gender, weight, height, etc. and use any method that you feel comfortable with to track your daily calorie intake. By doing so, you can be aware of how much food you are eating and what sort of food you are eating.
Weigh yourself regularly
This last tip would be left as an optional and not encouraged tip just because it is often linked to causing negative feelings to those who rely on it. We are talking about stepping down on that scale and weighing yourself. Although weighing yourself will give you an idea about your current weight, if it is causing you to judge yourself or starve yourself because of feeling unhappy with what you are seeing, then we recommend staying far away from that judging scale.
If you thought that weight loss is hard, you are in for a real treat when it comes to maintaining your weight loss results. But it does not have to be, not if you know the right methods that you can easily apply in your life, thus living a better, healthier life. We hope that our 12 tips will help you accomplish exactly that and even help you lose a couple of more body pounds as a part of that process as well.