This is the key to maintaining weight loss
When you’re losing weight, it’s easy to just focus on the present, but you should have a game plan for it. how do you plan to maintain your weight loss after all the hard work you put in. You now know that fad diets and quick fixes are not the best way to approach weight loss since these methods are short lived. But if you’ve reached your weight loss goal in a healthy way, you’re already setting yourself up for success.
We spoke with Andres Ayesta, registered dietitian and founder of Planos Nutrition, to discuss the mistakes many people make while losing weight, how to avoid them, and the best way to keep the weight off once you lose it.
Losing weight permanently is the key
One important thing to keep in mind when embarking on a weight loss journey is why you want to lose weight in the first place. Ayesta says people often do it to feel better, gain more energy, be able to do more things and train easier.
“Measuring your energy levels, your sleep, your ability to play with your kids, your performance in the gym, those are going to be really good markers of progress because when you start adding up a lot of those little little wins and wins, then you know that you’re on the right track,” he said. It’s the things that are going to keep you going, not your focus on the number on the scale.
Setting unrealistic expectations during weight loss can have the opposite effect on your long-term success. One of the big mistakes people make is following very restrictive fad diets that cause them to lose weight quickly, but make it harder to maintain that weight afterwards. “A more realistic and sustainable approach is to focus on building strong habits such as improving your lifestyle, getting enough sleep, eating enough protein, and staying hydrated,” Ayesta said. . Although results may take longer to achieve, it will be easier for you to maintain them.
Another thing to remember is that faster is not better. “One of the biggest things people struggle with is that they want to eat more, but can’t follow fad diets, so it’s better to lose weight by eating a little more than being so restrictive and losing it too quickly,” Ayesta said. Usually, when it comes to losing weight, it is recommended to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
If a person is losing weight fast and they don’t have a ton of spare weight to begin with, they’re not only losing weight, but also muscle. “Usually when this happens often, your metabolism is affected and this is called adaptive thermogenesis,” he explained. “Your body gets used to living on a small amount of calories, and when you go off that fad diet and add all your usual habits back into your life, usually your body bounces back and tries to fix itself at a point where it feels comfortable again.” This is how yo-yo dieting begins because it can cause you to enter a continuous cycle of losing and regaining weight.
It’s also essential to have a strong support system that can hold you accountable. Ayesta suggests surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family members who agree with your goals, because unsupportive people can make it difficult to stay on the path you want. Having a mentor who has gone through a similar journey can also be helpful, as they can offer information and advice to help you achieve your goals.
Finally, it helps to have an expert, such as a dietitian, on your side. “Having someone with the academic background or knowledge to point you in the right direction is key because they’ve seen people go down this path many times and they know exactly what to do and what adjustments to make, especially when you have tough weeks,” Ayesta advised. Having that kind of support can also be helpful during your maintenance phase.
More key factors for weight maintenance
Assuming you’ve lost weight slowly and sustainably and are at a healthy weight for your body, maintenance is simply about maintaining good habits. You don’t have to count calories or aim for perfection every day. Instead, Ayesta says it’s essential to focus on pursuing the lifestyle changes that helped you lose weight in the first place.
According to Ayesta, five healthy habits that can help you maintain your weight include:
- Get enough protein daily
- Maintain good hydration
- To manage stress
- get enough sleep
- Getting enough fiber from fruits and vegetables
Another thing to keep in mind is that weight fluctuates naturally, so it’s helpful to think of it as a range rather than a target number. Ayesta points out that your weight will also be influenced by life stages. For example, during the holidays you may be more liberal with your nutritional choices, while there will be other times when you will be more careful with consumption.“Creating a range around plus or minus 5% of your goal will be a good place to be – whether it’s going up or down,” Ayesta advised.
Looking at trends instead of a single number on the scale is a more realistic approach when it comes to weight maintenance. “If you step on a scale on a specific day and see a number that you don’t really like, it’s very important to understand trends and averages rather than just looking at a single number,” Ayesta explained.
If you find yourself regaining all or most of the weight over time, this could be a sign that your weight loss methods were too drastic for your individual needs or there could be medical factors at play. In this scenario, it’s best to see a doctor or weight-conscious dietician to help you understand what’s going on.
A healthy way to monitor maintenance
The scale is only a means of measuring the weight loss and maintenance phase. “Other markers of success that I like to pay attention to include objective and subjective measures,” Ayesta said. For example, in terms of weight loss, it helps to look at measurements around your waist, legs, or hips. A more subjective approach might be to observe how your clothes actually fit.
Another method to monitor your interview is to look at and compare photos. “We use a lot of photographs to compare changes over time, and that’s a better way to be able to measure success, because if someone gains a little muscle and loses a little fat, what you call body recomposition, what’s going to happen if your body is going to look a little bit different, but then the weight might not change too much,” he explained.
Take away food
Losing weight and keeping it off can be tough, but if you prepare ahead of time, you can set yourself up for success. As Ayesta pointed out, it’s important not to put so much emphasis on a specific number on the scale because our bodies are supposed to fluctuate. There are also other factors to consider besides your weight. If you feel fitter, more energetic and get enough sleep, these are gains in themselves and should not be discounted.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.
Leave a Reply