We all know that losing weight is hard enough. But the truth is, it can be even harder to keep the weight off. It’s estimated that only about 20% percent of people who lose weight end up maintaining their new weight.
So how can you prevent regaining pounds that you worked so hard to lose?
7 tips for maintaining weight loss
- Eat smaller meals. Eating 5 small meals a day rather than 3 large ones can keep your metabolism working longer, helping you control your weight. Include metabolism-boosting spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and turmeric.
- Stop eating when you’re full. You don’t need to finish everything on your plate just because it’s there. Even if there are leftovers, stop eating when you feel satiated.
- Stick to healthy snacks. If you get hungry between meals, don’t go back to old habits of snacking on high-calorie snacks. Stick to healthier options like fruit, vegetables, fat-free yogurt, and whole wheat crackers.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking 8 glasses of water a day not only helps you burn calories by keeping your metabolism going, it also quenches your thirst faster and better than anything else, especially diet diet sodas and sugary drinks.
- Keep exercising. The best way to maintain your new weight is to establish a routine and stick with it. The more active you are, the more likely you will keep the weight off. Set aside 30 minutes for exercise every day.
- Get enough sleep. Poor sleep can have negative effects on your overall health, as well as throw off your levels of the hunger-regulating hormones, leptin and ghrelin. According to recent studies, adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
- Shop smart. Grocery shopping is important to making sure you’re eating right and not tempted to reach for something that will promote weight gain. Make a list of healthy foods ahead of time, and steer away from the sections that will tempt you. Choose lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and low-calorie snacks instead.
Why is it so hard to keep weight off?
Your brain and body are hard-wired to regain lost weight. Combined with the abundance of high-calorie foods available today, this makes it all too easy to put the pounds back on.
After you lose weight, your metabolism can slow down, causing you to burn fewer calories than expected, even when you are at rest. This happens because your brain senses your fat stores are low and sends signals to the body to stock up. So if you stop new healthy eating and exercising habits and go back to eating high-calorie foods and little physical activity, it is all too easy to regain the weight you lost.
And although you may be able to resist high-calorie foods for a period of time, it’s often hard to sustain this once you’ve reached your goal weight. Once you stop seeing the reward of seeing the pounds drop off, it may cause you to stop trying so hard.
So when it comes down to it, the best way to keep weight off is to create a sustainable, realistic diet and exercise program that you can stick to for the long haul.
How much exercise a day is enough to keep weight off?
Staying physically active and eating a balanced diet are important for overall health and can help you maintain weight loss. But how much time you spend working out depends on your personal fitness goals.
Researchers have found moderately overweight men who exercised hard enough to sweat for 30 minutes a day lost an average of 8 pounds over 3 months. However, men who worked out for 60 minutes a day lost an average of 6 pounds over the same period of time. So really, it depends on what types of exercise you are doing, as well as factors such as your starting weight, fitness level, metabolism, etc.
Generally speaking, moderate physical activity for 30-60 minutes a day can help you maintain both your health and weight loss in a sustainable way.
Johns Hopkins Medicine. Maintaining Weight Loss. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/maintaining-weight-loss
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