The sad reality is that most people who lose weight wind up gaining it back rather quickly. Nearly 80 percent of people who diet end up gaining back the weight they lost and then some as time goes on. That should not deter you from trying to lose weight though!
There are many ways that science has uncovered to help you not only lose weight, but keep it off too. These methods include a wide range of lifestyle changes including anything from managing your stress to regular exercise. And there is no better time than now, right at the start of a new year, to make it your personal goal to not only lose the weight, but to also keep it that weight off in the long run.
You do not want to be sitting here at the start of 2018 with the same New Year’s resolution to lose weight. You want next year’s resolution to be to keep the weight that you have lost in 2017 off to maintain that body type that you have always wanted to have.
But Why Do People Gain Weight In The First Place?
There are many reasons people gain weight after successfully completing a diet. For some people, it is because they expect the weight to just magically stay off after completing a diet and for others, it is because they feel deprived of the foods they once loved.
- Diets that are very restrictive are one of the leading causes for people to gain back weight. By consuming very small amounts of calories, your metabolism will slow down dramatically and your appetite-regulating hormones will shift greatly, both of which can cause that diet to fail horribly.
- Many people do not have the will power and daily habits required to successfully complete a diet in the first place. These diets do not revolve around the things you do every day, instead they implement rules and regulations, both of which make it extremely hard to maintain weight loss. These diets are commonly abandoned before a person has even had a chance to meet their weight loss goals in the first place.
- Above all else, your mindset is a huge contributor to whether or not you keep the weight off once you lose it. Many people believe that a diet is a quick way to lose weight, but they fail to realize that you need to maintain that weight loss too. Many people will give up and that leads to not only failing to meet your weight loss goals, but also gaining the weight you did leave back, normally very quickly.
Overall, many diets are hard to stick to. And even for those who successfully do complete a diet, they tend to have the wrong mindset, which leads to the weight piling back on soon after they stop the diet. Which is definitely counterproductive.
Below we will explore seventeen of the best ways to help you manage your weight loss plan long term, instead of gaining the weight back after your diet is over.
1. Maintain a Healthy Amount Of Sleep
The amount of sleep you get greatly affects your ability to maintain your weight. Sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of weight gain in adults and greatly affects how a person control their weight after a diet.
Why is that? Lack of sleep causes higher levels of ghrelin, which is known as the “hunger hormone”. Ghrelin is what increases a person's appetite. On top of that, people who do not get enough sleep have lower levels of leptin. Leptin is the hormone that controls your appetite. When both of these hormones are not at the proper levels, it is no wonder that your weight is not under control.
But hormones are not the only factors affected by lack of sleep. If someone is exhausted, odds are they will not be up to the task of exercising regularly and will not be making the best choices in what they eat. So if you are gaining weight or struggling to keep weight off, it might be time to rethink your sleep habits. Adults need around seven hours of sleep a night to help maintain not only a healthy weight, but to improve their health in general. Not only will this help keep your hormones at healthy levels, but it will also help you keep your energy up!
2. Regular Exercise
Exercising several times a week is critical to maintaining a healthy weight. This one is not a new one. We have been told this since we were children. Not only does regular exercise help us burn the calories we consume each day, but it also helps boost our metabolism, which in turn, helps us balance our energy levels.
By balancing your energy levels, you in turn, burn as many calories as you eat. This helps maintain your current weight, assuming you are also consuming a healthy diet. An ideal exercise regime should include at least 200 hours of moderate exercise a week, which averages out to around thirty minutes a day. This will help you maintain your weight after your diet is complete.
Some studies suggest at least an hour of moderate exercise a day to maintain your current weight. Your level of exercise depends on several factors, and the best thing you can do is contact your primary care physician to establish the best amount of daily exercise for your personal weight goals.
However, exercise alone will not keep your weight in check. A healthy diet also plays a huge role, so keep that in mind as you continue on your weight loss and weight maintenance journey.
3. Do Not Forget the Most Important Meal of the Day: Breakfast!
Your mother was not lying to you when she said that breakfast was the most important meal of the day! Eating breakfast actually plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight! Studies have shown that those who eat breakfast every morning have healthier eating habits, exercise more, and intake more micronutrients and fiber. Those who eat breakfast are also the most successful at keeping the weight off once they finish their weight loss goals.
However, with that said, there is no scientific proof that those who skip breakfast leads to weight gain or bad diets. Therefore, the results seem to be very mixed. For some individuals, skipping breakfast has actually helped them successfully lose weight and keep it off long term.
Whether or not you eat breakfast is based on your personal preference, along with whether or not it works for you. While there is no harm skipping breakfast, by eating a healthy, well balanced breakfast in the morning, you do stand a good chance at skipping the mid morning snack, reducing your chance of grabbing something unhealthy for lunch, and another perk – you will be able to concentrate better in those early hours!
4. Keep Track of Your Weight
By weighing yourself at home regularly, you are able to see your results at home, making you more aware of whether or not you are meeting and maintaining your weight goals. This can help you make whatever necessary changes you may need, while giving you a boost of confidence when you see that you are in fact meeting your goals!
It is been shown that those who regularly weight themselves tend to consumer fewer calories than those who do not, which is exactly what you need to maintain your current weight. Research has even shown that people who weigh themselves several times a week, on average ate 300 calories less than those who did not weigh themselves as regularly.
However, beware of becoming obsessed with weighing yourself. While it may be beneficial to weigh yourself several times a week, it can also be dangerous to become obsessed with your weight. While self-weighing is a great tool to help you maintain your weight, it can also be a downer if you find you have gained a pound instead.
5. Do Not Forget The Protein!
Many people tend to forget that protein is actually very important when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and keeping the weight off once you do lose it. Protein can help you feel full for longer and helps to make your appetite smaller. Protein also increases specific hormone levels to help induce satiety which is very important for weight management.
Studies have also shown that protein actually reduces the hormones that make you hungry too! With protein affecting your hormones, you consume less calories, which is great to help you keep the weight off. Protein also helps you burn off the calories you do consume.
Research has indicated that when you are consuming a healthy amount of protein, around 150 grams if you are eating a 2,000 calorie diet, your metabolism and appetite are positively affected, which is great for weight management.
Overall, consuming a healthy amount of protein is crucial in maintaining a healthy weight and keeping the weight off long term.
6. Keep Track of How Many Carbohydrates You Are Consuming
In order to maintain a healthy weight, it is very important to not only watch how many carbohydrates you are intaking, but also which kinds of carbohydrates you are intaking.
If you consume a lot of refined carbohydrates, such as fruit juices, white pastas and white bread, you are likely to not only gain the weight you lost back quickly, but you also stand the chance of gaining even more weight. Why is this? Refined carbohydrates do not contain the natural fibers they once did, which means these foods do not make you feel full as quickly as they should. Diets that are low on fiber are often linked to weight gain and being overweight.
By limiting the amount of carbohydrates you consume, you can kick start your weight loss and keep the weight off for longer. Research has shown that low carb diets are a great way to keep off the weight in the long run. This research has also shown that people who stick to a diet that is low in carbohydrates also tend to eat fewer calories, and the ones that they do consume get burned off, which is exactly what you need in order to maintain your weight.
7. Light Weights – Build Muscle
When you go on a diet and lose weight, you also tend to lose muscle mass as a result. Losing this muscle mass will make it harder to keep your weight off, as it slows down your metabolism which means you do not burn as many calories in a day as you would if you had the muscle mass.
That is why it is very important to do resistance training, lifting weights for example, to help prevent you from losing this precious muscle mass and this will then help your metabolism keep up with your calorie intake.
Research indicates that those who lift weights regularly after successfully completing a diet have a higher chance at keeping that weight off as they maintain a healthy muscle mass. In order to maximize your benefits, it is ideal to do strength training two to three times a week. When doing so, it is crucial to make sure you are working all of your muscle groups for the best results.
8. Be Ready to Face Small Bumps in the Road Along the Way
No matter how determined you are, no matter how hard to work, and no matter how healthy of a diet and overall lifestyle you live, odds are you will have minor setbacks here and there. You may choose an unhealthy snack or choose to skip a workout after a long day at work. Do not let these slip ups discourage you. These small road bumps are great learning opportunities, and they will only make you stronger in the long run.
Make plans to avoid temptation in the future, set aside time to workout and be kind to yourself. Just because you hit a small bump in the road and are faced with a small setback, does not mean you should give up on your goals! You have got this!
9. Keep Your Routine, Even on Weekends!
Many people seem to think that “cheat days” will help them reach their goals. After eating healthy all week, some people will give into temptation and allow themselves to binge on all of the unhealthy foods they avoid during the week, either due to temptation or as a “reward” for all their hard work. This is not a good idea at all! This will definitely hurt your weight management plans and will likely cause you to gain weight in the long run.
It has been proven that people who follow their healthy habits all week long, including on weekends, are most likely to lose the weight than those who let themselves regularly have “cheat days”. It has also been shown that if you follow the same eating habits all week long, over time people were more likely to keep the weight off long term.
Research has even shown that those who follow a consistent diet were almost two times more likely to stay within five pounds of their current weight over the course of a year, as compared to those who did not follow their regular eating habits on weekends.
While it may seem easier to cheat on weekends, remember, if you are determined to lose the weight and keep it off long term, you have to be determined to follow your healthy habits all the time – not just during the week when it is more convenient.
10. Do Not Forget the Water!
Many people already know this, but in case you did not, drinking water is one of the easiest ways to help maintain your weight! Not only does drinking water help make you feel fuller, it also helps you consume smaller portions if you drink a glass or two before each meal.
It has been proven that people who had a glass of water before each meal had almost a fifteen percent decrease in the amount of calories they consumed, as opposed to those who did not drink water before each meal. Drinking water also helps you burn more calories, which is another huge benefit.
Another think people do not always remember, is sometimes, while you may think you are hungry, you are actually just thirsty. Drinking water has many benefits overall, but it definitely helps with weight management as well!
11. Take a Deep Breath – Reduce Your Levels of Stress!
Keeping your stress levels under control is a very important step in maintaining your ideal body weight. High levels of stress increases your levels of cortisol, which is the hormone that is released when you are under a lot of stress. When levels of cortisol remain high for long periods of time, you are more likely to retain belly fat. In addition to that, you are also more likely to feel hungrier and therefore consume more food.
Stress is one of the leading causes for impulsive eating, sometimes considered emotional eating. This is when you will eat despite the fact that you are not actually hungry.
However, there are many things you can do to help reduce your levels of stress, therefore improving your weight management goals as well as your overall health. You can take a walk around the block, read, do yoga, meditate, color, write or try aromatherapy, which are all healthy ways to reduce your stress and make you feel a lot better in the process.
12. Get Your Friends Involved – Have a Reliable Support System
Many people find it hard to reach and maintain their weight goals alone. It is time that we face it, we are a species that yearns for companionship, and that definitely rings true when it comes to maintaining our diet and weight management goals!
One way to overcome this challenge is to find a support system that will not only stand by the healthy choices you are making, but will also hold you accountable if you mess up. You can do this by either partnering up with a friend or by joining a group that shares your passions and lifestyle!
Quite a bit of research has shown that by having company and a solid support system when you are working to achieve your goals, you stand a better chance at keeping your weight loss goals in mind as well as sticking to your healthy choices. This is especially true if your support system consists of a close friend or your partner, especially if they share in your healthy habits!
An interesting bit of research suggests the “monkey see, monkey do” approach. In the study, they looked at over 3,000 couples and saw something interesting happen. When one of the partners chose to eat healthier, exercise more, and maintain their ideal weight with an unwavering determination, the other partner was more likely to follow their lead themselves!
All in all, there is no need to go it alone. Reach out to your friends and family and partner up! Not only will you be able to motivate one another, but it will also help you reach your goals and stick to your guns longer term, because you will always have someone there to hold you accountable and make sure you are on top of your game.
13. Do Not Forget About the Vegetables!
It is no surprise that by consuming more vegetables, a person would stand a better chance at controlling their weight. Vegetables are low in calories, which means you can eat larger portions of vegetables without gaining added weight. Vegetables are also really healthy. They are packed with all sorts of vitamins and minerals and other nutrients that are extremely important to maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
Vegetables are also high in fiber, which makes you feel fuller for longer, which means you will not consume nearly as many calories as compared to if you were not eating as many vegetables. To help you maintain your ideal weight, aim to add a serving or two of vegetables to every meal. Not only do they taste great, but their benefits are endless!
14. Keep Track of What You Eat
It has been proven that people who keep a food journal or otherwise track what they eat, are more likely to maintain their weight long term, as well as reach their weight loss goals.
By tracking your food intake, you become more aware of just how much you actually consume, as well as providing you with a way to keep track of any unhealthy habits you may have. By using an online program or phone app, you are also able to see a lot of other information about your food choices, such as exact calorie counts, nutrients that come in those foods, and any additional information about your food selections.
Many of these food trackers also allow you to keep a log of how much exercise, what types of exercise and how many calories burned each day as well. This gives you a great visual of how you are maintaining your weight over time and gives you an idea of what to change if you find yourself hitting a road bump along the way.
15. Keep At It – Consistency is Key!
It is very important to stick with it when you make up your mind to diet and in your journey of actually keeping the weight off. Being an occasional dieter is not going to help you achieve your weight loss goals, nor is it going to help you keep the weight off long term.
Do not allow yourself to slip back into your old, unhealthy habits. Instead, make it your intention to stick with your new lifestyle and healthy diet, once and for all. Though this may feel overwhelming at first, just think of the outcome. Just think of how good you are going to feel as you achieve and maintain your goals.
Over time, your new lifestyle will become second nature and you will not even think about your old cravings anymore. And that is when maintaining your weight will truly become a whole lot easier.
16. Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating means listening to the cues your body sends you when you are hungry and paying attention throughout the entire eating process. This process has several steps, including eating slowly without becoming distracted, chewing your food thoroughly and really enjoying the smells and flavors as a whole. Really soak in that flavor and scent.
When you use the mindful eating method, you are more likely to stop eating when you are truly full, instead of eating until your plate is clear. When you are distracted while eating, you tend to miss the cue that your brain sends out when you are full and that leads to overeating, therefore leading to weight gain.
Mindful eating has also been shown to help target other habits that lead to weight gain as well, including emotional eating and binge eating. When you pay more attention to what you consume, you are able to maintain your weight without having to count calories every day. And let's be real here — most people do not enjoy the hassle of having to count calories.
17. It is Time to Make Significant Lifestyle Changes
The biggest reason that a lot of people fall short while trying to maintain their weight is because they set out to achieve unrealistic goals and try to use diets that are very unrealistic and impossible to follow long term. This leads to the dieters feeling deprived, which tends to lead to not only gaining back the weight that they worked so hard to lose, but also gaining additional weight as well once they return to their old eating habits.
When you make the decision to lose weight with the intention of keeping the weight off, you will have to make significant lifestyle changes. While no two people are the same, the same principles apply. You have to maintain a healthy, well balanced diet, make good choices in what foods you choose to consume, and make sure that you are not choosing a diet that is too restrictive. You also have to make sure you stick with it. Do not give up, you have got this!
Weight Management Tips Summary
There are many things that lead to people gaining back the weight once they successfully complete a diet. For some people, the diets they choose are too restrictive, leaving them feeling deprived and often times, that results in the dieter giving up and gaining weight all over again.
There are many things you can do to help you maintain your weight loss goals over time. Many of these habits are not as hard to pick up and stick with than people think.
While it will take a lot of work, while you go on your weight loss journey, you will soon see that there is more to maintaining your weight that just watching what you eat. While keeping tabs on your food intake, calorie counts, what kinds of carbohydrates you consume and how many vegetables you eat on a regular basis, it is just as important to keep your stress levels down, make sure you get adequate amounts of sleep, and exercising regularly all place a huge role as well.
When you change up your lifestyle to correspond with your healthy choices, you will soon see that losing the weight and keeping it off is not nearly as hard as you once thought. This method is far better than bouncing from one diet to the next and going on the constant weight gain, weight loss rollercoaster that many people have been on for years.
This is your chance – with these weight management tips, take the plunge and start your weight maintain journey today! You can do this, all you need to do is try!