15 Best Ways to Maintain Weight Loss
If you have ever wondered, “Is it possible to maintain weight loss?” or found yourself frustrated with yo-yo dieting, look no further than these 15 best ways to keep weight off for good!
If long-term weight loss were easy, words like plateau and phrases like “gaining it all back” would not exist in the dieting world. With all the methods, pills, miracle supplements, and gimmicks out there today about long-term weight loss, is it not about time someone revealed some factual information regarding weight maintenance after weight loss?
bistroMD says, "Yes!" So if you have ever wondered, "Is it possible to maintain weight loss?" or found yourself frustrated with yo-yo dieting, look no further than these best ways to keep weight off for good!
How to Maintain Weight Loss After Dieting
1. Ease off a weight loss diet slowly.
Most diets fail based on their restrictiveness, which may lead to weight loss in the short-term, yet cause to weight regain when getting off of it. That being said, it is important to not jump back into old unhealthy habits, but rather ease off a weight loss diet slowly and embrace the concept of a lifelong healthy lifestyle.
2. Start the day with a high-energy breakfast.
Claimed as the "most important meal of the day," research even supports eating a high-energy breakfast results to weight loss! Researchers randomly divided 11 women and 18 men with obesity and type 2 diabetes into one of two groups:
Group #1: Assigned to eat a large energy-rich breakfast, medium lunch, and small dinner.
Group #2: Consumed six small meals evenly spaced throughout the day with three snacks.
Results showed that the three meal diet plan with the high-energy breakfast was more effective for weight loss among the obese and type 2 diabetes patients than the six small meals. At three months, the high-energy group lost an average of 11 pounds while the eating six small meals gained about 3 pounds. Hunger and cravings for carbohydrates also decreased in the high energy breakfast group, but increased in the six meals a day group.
Kick start your day and maintain weight with a nutritious and delicious breakfast, including egg wraps, overnight oats, and a Greek yogurt parfait.
3. Increase fiber-rich foods.
In addition to supporting heart and digestive health, there is sufficient evidence showing regularly consuming adequate dietary fiber improves BMIs. Fiber-rich foods tend to be more satisfying and filling than low-fiber foods, which helps lessen the risk of overeating and control overall calorie consumption.
Men are encouraged to consume 38 grams of fiber daily while women should obtain at least 25 grams, which can be achieved from fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and other plant-based sources.
4. Ensure adequate protein.
Protein is important to lose and maintain weight, as the macronutrient supports lean muscle, lends greater satiety than carb and fat, regulates hunger hormones, curbs blood sugar fluctuations, increases energy expenditure, enhances fat burn, and supplies metabolic-supporting B vitamins.
Protein intake recommendations vary based on a number of factors, including age, weight, gender, and activity levels, though adults are often encouraged to consume at least 10 to 35 percent of total daily calories from protein sources. To support overall fitness and a healthy weight, women and men should consume at least 46 and 56 grams of protein per day, respectively, which aligns with the dietary reference intake (DRI) of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (g/kg) of body weight.
Ensure adequate intake by incorporating lean protein to maintain muscle and lose fat, including chicken, turkey, bison, canned tuna, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, edamame, eggs, beans, chickpeas, lentils, and quinoa.
5. Allow and enjoy indulgences.
Feeling restricted from foods can actually impede on health goals, mostly be heightening their temptation and curating a binge. And while repeatedly reaching for the candy on the secretary's dish or that ice cream carton after dinner can lead to weight gain, it truly is okay (and even recommended) to allow yourself to indulge on life’s simple pleasures whilst implementing the practice of moderation and consciously staying in control.
6. Do not dwell on setbacks, but rather learn from them.
Everyone encounters setbacks. But not everyone handles obstacles similarly, as some may resort to old ways in the presence of hardships. That being said, people who are able to maintain weight loss do not dwell on setbacks, but rather learn from them and come back that much stronger.
7. Practice meal prepping.
Although meal prepping and planning can take a little effort, it is well-worth the time and a sure way to help keep weight maintenance in check. Plan and prepare meals on the least busy day, oftentimes dedicated to a Sunday.
Think of a few meals that you would enjoy taking to work that week or the family would like to see on the dinner table. A few simple ideas could include ground turkey for tacos, chicken and veggies cooking in the crockpot, and a ready-prepared veggie-filled meatloaf to conveniently stick in the oven.
8. Monitor portion and serving sizes.
Though weight loss is not necessarily about eating less, it is important to monitor portions. Avoid portion distortion with expert tips for weight maintenance after weight loss:
• Drink water before and with meals.
• Fill at least half the plate with veggies, a quarter with a lean or plant-based protein, and complement with a whole grain and healthy fat source.
• Swap large plates with smaller ones.
• Split restaurant meals with someone or box the other half for tomorrow's lunch.
• Compare portion sizes to day-to-day objects to better visualize true portions.
• Take the time to "work for your food," including by peeling oranges and de-shelling nuts.
• Scope the buffet and make a mental game plan before loading up the plate.
• Say "no" to the entire chip and ration out an appropriate size.
• Skip out on the restaurant freebies, including the chip and bread baskets.
• Practice mindful eating, particularly by paying attention to hunger and satiety cues.
9. Keep a food journal.
Get out the pen and paper… Keeping a food diary can double weight loss suggests one of the largest and longest running weight loss maintenance trials ever conducted. Featuring nearly 1,700 participants, research from Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research shows one of the best predictors of weight loss was how frequently food diaries: Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records!
10. Build lean muscle with strength training.
Whereas cardio accelerates weight loss, lifting weights and strength training prospers weight maintenance after weight loss by increasing and preserving muscle mass. Individuals carrying more muscle mass have a faster metabolism, as every pound of muscle requires approximately six calories a day to purely sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only two calories daily! This means even when the body is at rest, it will actively be burning more calories just by storing more muscle.
Include weight and strength training at least two or three times a week and focus on the major muscle groups, including the back, chest, arms, and legs. However, you can lift all the weight in the gym but without getting your diet right in the kitchen, results will likely remain stagnant. Unleash potential by increasing intake of lean plant-based proteins, whole grains, fruits and veggies, and healthy fat sources.
11. Find workouts you love.
Instead of viewing exercise as a chore, find a workout you love. Doing so increases the compliance of regular physical activity and motivation to keep challenging yourself.
Eventually, you will likely find yourself packing a gym bag and getting into the gym after a long day, even sneaking in other bouts of movement whenever the opportunity arises. And really, the most importance is not how you get active, just that you are!
12. Weigh yourself regularly.
While the scale does not tell the full tale of weight loss and health, studies do show weight checking is a practice shared by people who successfully lose and maintain weight. Research also shows weighing yourself once a day or week can keep weight loss in check and lead to positive affirmations.
13. Continue seeking out challenges.
Though you mastered one of the toughest challenges you might ever face, it is important to continue seeking out challenges and setting new ongoing goals. (And it does not even have to pertain to weight loss!)
Challenge yourself by trialing a new workout, signing up for an upcoming race, and preparing an original recipe.
14. Stick to your support system.
Remember, you should and do not have to be alone in this journey! Eating better and living a healthier lifestyle can be challenging, which is why sticking to a support system is so important.
So involve your significant other, family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. even after weight loss, as they can increase accountability, motivation, and encouragement to maintain weight.
15. Embrace this newfound lifestyle.
Despite the progress you have already conquered, the journey has really only begun! Embrace this newfound lifestyle, overcome barriers, and enjoy the ride, as consistency truly is key for long-term weight maintenance after weight loss!