Did you know though, that it is estimated that only 20% of overweight and obese Americans that lose weight MAINTAIN that loss?
I'm sure you've heard of the title "Yo-Yo Dieter" and this is the option for the majority of people who lose their weight through a fad diet, something that doesn't become their lifestyle. How can you possibly keep up the grapefruit or lemon diet for longer than a week or two? It doesn't become your lifestyle, merely a fad that you can maintain for a couple of weeks before you lapse back into your old habits.
The National Weight Control Registry in the US was established to increase the conversation about maintenance of weight loss. It has monitored the habits of successful dieters over more than 20 years and recently published these tips.
- Ensure your diet is similar to your maintenance plan. This means that you are still eating meals, and following a dietary plan that is easy to follow when you have reached your goal weight too. No fad diets can be maintained for a period of time, how can you live on lemons?
- Keep active. Ensure that the activity you have been doing to lose weight becomes part of your regular routine. I would suggest you undertake about 3 - 4 hours of activity a week, and make it FUN!!! I include dancing in my fitness routine, as well as walking in nature - they're my fun things to do alongside my gym workouts.
- Watching less TV. Keeping active also often means that you reduce the amount of time you spend in front of the TV, as you're spending this time at the gym, or visiting friends to go walking, or going out dancing. The other reason for watching less TV is that this is the time most people snack - it's thoughtless eating, you don't take notice of the food you're eating, so you don't feel full until it's too late. It usually occurs whent the adverts are on, so the trick I use is to record a show, then you skip those 'boring' adverts!! Also, this snacking is happening in the evening, not a great time to be snacking!
- Keep your meals consistent. Knowing what menu plans are successful for you to lose your weight, also gives you ideas for your maintenance. Splurging and eating high calorie foods, if they creep back into your routine menu, will soon stop being a treat, and quickly become a common occurrence. Before you know it, the pounds are creeping back on again! Keep your menus consistent to consistently maintain your weight.
- Accountability, or a support team. Keeping your accountability partner in your maintenance plan will ensure you are regularly following your plan. Support from partners, online communities or even your fitness app are great ways to ensure you keep regular in your fitness plans, your meal plans and your mindset. Support for any goals is vital to achieving those goals. In this instance, your goal is maintenance. I have a workout partner and we catch up for a workout (and a great chat too) once or twice a week, depending on our schedules. We never miss!
- Positive outlook. Maintain a positive outlook. I use a positive/joyful/gratitude diary to ensure my maintenance. This can include reflections on what you have achieved, what it's like to be able to enjoy your exercise, the types of exercise you can now do, how long you've maintained your weight for. Set yourself little goals, e.g., maintain weight for one month - then celebrate that achievement! Note it in your gratitude diary also, so you have something to reflect upon.
- Get sleep. Ensure you have a regular routine for sleep, so that you don't become sleep deprived. Do you know what most people do to fuel themselves when they're sleep deprived? You guessed it, they reach for food that stimulates them, and that is mostly food high in sugar! Ensure you are not becoming sleep deprived.
- Regularly measure your weight. Once a week jump on those scales! This is an easy way to establish if a sneaky pound or two is creeping back on, and you can then quickly do something about it before it becomes a larger problem to deal with. Choose a day, I choose Wednesdays, and stick to weighing yourself every week on that day, at the same time, in the same outfit (okay, I do it before I shower, so it's simple to have the same outfit!). This way, it becomes part of your routine.
- Never, ever, say negative things about what the scale says. Stick to number 6 above, stay positive. You've lost a lot more weight in the past, so you know how easy it is to lose a pound or two now. When the scales tip back upwards for a week, get back into your routine of menu plans and exercise that aided you to your goal weight. Generally a week will do it, then back onto your maintenance plan. Also take a look back at the treats you've been having, and possibly contributed to this creep. Once you know what they are, consider how you can swap them for a different treat that fits into your lifestlye of health!
With these tips, you are more likely to become one of the 20% that maintain their weight successfully.