Things you’ll learn in this blog
Anyone who’s ever lost weight before knows that it can feel like a physical and mental battle. An emotional rollercoaster riddled with challenges and fights against the temptation of long-formed habits.
And despite this, many people endure this hard work only to undo their progress within a few weeks or months of achieving a weight goal.
In fact, around 30% of women are serial yo-yo dieters, meaning they continually lose weight only to regain it.
If you've trained hard in the gym, improved your diet and gone through the psychological struggle of avoiding harmful foods, surely you will not make the same mistakes again.
But it may not be as simple as that…
Let’s look at why people struggle to maintain their weight and how to keep it off once you’ve reached a weight you are happy with.
Why do people struggle to maintain their weight?
A few reasons make it easy for the pounds you fought to lose to slip back on slowly.
Firstly, it is a human instinct to lift off the gas once you've achieved a particular goal. When it is first hit, you receive a spike in dopamine, followed by a few days of novel satisfaction. Perhaps you receive more compliments or enjoy looking at yourself in the mirror more often.
You ride a wave, but after a while, that wave ends, and you slowly begin to realize that you will have to keep putting the same effort into maintaining your weight as you lost it.
Unfortunately, your subconscious might give up, satisfied by hitting the goal but unmotivated to keep going through the same routine. You have nothing to keep you motivated because you have already achieved what you set out to do.
Athletes have the same struggle (often dubbed the Gold Medal syndrome). This is when they achieve their wildest sporting goals and have nothing left to motivate them. In turn, this can lead to a downturn in performance and a decline in their careers.
In addition, the forces that led you to gain unwanted weight in the first place, such as aging and hormones, are still there.
How to maintain your weight loss
So, what steps can you take to help you maintain the weight loss once you’ve achieved your goal?
Create a new goal…
So that you don’t take your foot off the gas, it’s vital to create a new goal - with a concrete plan you can stick to with the same consistency as before.
You have likely been so fixated on the previous goal that you haven't needed to think beyond it. This will help you stick to your ongoing weight loss goals, and prevent any backward steps.
Your new goal may not necessarily be to lose any more weight. If you are happy with your current weight, then there is no need to torture yourself for the sake of it - and it might be unhealthy to do so.
Instead, you should increase your muscle tone, achieve a certain amount of muscle mass or strength, or become more athletic.
These goals (even if they are more modest than your original target) will motivate you to continue with a strict routine and help you fight temptation in your weak moments.
Once you have your goal, you must create a plan to follow through with it.
This should include your dietary requirements, exercise routine, regular weight measurements, and a rough time frame for its actualization.
Keep up with your exercise routine.
One of the core pillars of your weight management plan is fitness. Without regular exercise, you will find it virtually impossible to keep the weight off and achieve your new target.
If your new goal is similar to your previous one, start by keeping up with your existing exercise routine. At the very least, it will deliver the same results as before, which is key for staying at your current weight.
Remember it doesn’t have to be high-intensity exercise it could be as simple as increasing your steps. And don’t be afraid to add in something new - exercise doesn’t have to be torture. You could walk with friends, take up trampolining, play in the park with your kids - the world is your oyster.
Gradually introducing a new routine is vital to prevent your body from going into shock and resorting to old behaviors.
Focus on weight training
When you were trying to reduce weight initially, likely, you focused heavily on cardio exercises.
However, if you want to keep the weight off and improve the sculpting of your body, then increasing the amount of weight training you do per week is critical. Many women shy away from muscle mass - but the more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest.
Weight training can help you increase muscle mass, making it easier to keep the weight off - and can help shape your body into the way you want.
Maintain a balanced eating schedule
Another critical aspect of your weight loss routine is your diet. It’s easy to take your foot off the pedal and slip back into bad eating habits when you hit your goal.
You need to ensure you continue to consume the right foods, which include:
- Health fats
- Vegetables (and some fruit)
- Whole grains
This doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself, but the majority of your good should be healthy, home-made meals. And you should take care that you and not overdo it on portion sizes.
Consume fewer calories
Ultimately to lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than you burn. If you've already lost a lot of weight, you will understand this struggle of sticking to your calories better than anyone - but it’s something you need to maintain or the weight will slip back on.
However, once you've hit a weight loss goal, indulging in calorie-heavy foods and drinks as a 'treat' to yourself can be tempting. Unfortunately, this is setting you back considerably and can be a slippery slope.
Therefore, check the calories of everything you regularly consume, and avoid heavy drinking sessions. This will help you maintain any weight you have lost, and keep it off.
Be specific with healthy eating habits
Specific goals are essential to motivating yourself to maintain your current weight, and so it is positive eating habits. Instead of having a vague idea of what you want to eat, set specific meal plans you can measure and track.
For example, instead of saying, "I want to eat healthier," set a goal to "eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day."
By being specific, you'll know how to stay on track and when you stray away from it.
Moreover, planning your meals can help you stay on track and make healthy choices when you're in a hurry.
To do this, allocate some time each week to plan out your meals for the next few days. These meals should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. This will help you get all the nutrients you need and reduce the temptation to reach for more unhealthy choices.
Weigh yourself weekly
Studies show that those who weigh themselves regularly are more likely to lose weight. It’s not so much that the number on the scales matters - but that it allows you to immediately recognize if you have taken a backward step or if you are on the path to your next goal.
Although there will be natural fluctuations in your weight every week, it will give you a rough overview to work from.
Remember to maintain a healthy relationship with your weight and not be too hard on yourself if you gain a little mass.
All you need to do is identify the culprit and eliminate it from your routine - whether it is lack of exercise, bad diet or poor sleep.
Drink at least two liters of water per day
Another great tip to remember when trying to keep the weight off is to drink lots of water daily. In fact, you should be drinking at least two liters.
Drinking a couple of liters of water daily helps increase feelings of fullness, which means you eat less and reduce your overall calorie intake.
Water also helps to boost your metabolism, which is crucial for continued weight loss.
Maintain a healthy sleep schedule
Last but certainly not least - you should get enough sleep every night to ensure you keep your current weight (or improve it further).
This is because sleep is vital for the body's proper functioning. Without at least six hours of sleep, your metabolism will nosedive, and the ideal is seven to nine hours.
What's more, your body will struggle to build stronger muscles, and you will feel lethargic - which is hardly conducive to exercise. Not only this, but if you are feeling groggy and low on energy, the first item you'll reach for is a sugary drink or chocolate bar.
- Related content: 9 tips to improve your sleep
Ready to maintain your weight?
Keeping the weight off once you've lost it is a strange challenge. It doesn't have the same satisfaction levels as losing weight in the first place, and it can become boring going through the same amount of pain for little visible gain.
This is why setting new goals and following our tips are crucial. It will keep you on the right track and set you on the road to an exciting new fitness goal.
If you want help keeping the weight off, then you can use PhenQ which will help you curb your appetite and boost your metabolism.