Achieving weight loss is a commendable accomplishment, but the real challenge lies in maintaining it over the long term. Many individuals find themselves on a perpetual rollercoaster of losing and regaining weight. However, adopting effective strategies can significantly improve the chances of keeping those hard-earned pounds off.
I know many people are likely more focused on losing weight right now but I encourage you to start learning about what strategies will help you keep the weight off because the method you use to lose weight can either set you up to keep it off easily or put you on the path to regaining the weight.
In this blog, I’ll explore the top strategies for sustaining weight loss so you can finally put the frustrating journey of losing and gaining weight behind you once and for all.
Establish Sustainable Habits:
The foundation for maintaining weight loss is building sustainable habits. Focus on incorporating lasting changes into your lifestyle. Gradual and consistent adjustments to your eating and physical activity habits are more likely to stand the test of time.
In my weight loss program there is a short period of time that is more intensive to target fat loss and reset the metabolism but then we transition into sustainable habits that are easy to maintain for life making it easy for people to keep the weight off.
Mindful eating involves paying full attention to the eating experience, from the taste and texture of the food to the sensations in your body. By eating slowly and savoring each bite, you can become more attuned to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. This heightened awareness helps prevent overeating and fosters a healthier relationship with food.
Establish this awareness while losing weight but make sure to continue once maintaining weight. As a long term lifestyle inevitably people will experience holidays, stressful time periods, intense emotional situations, significant changes to their lifestyle that are just part of life. Mindful eating throughout life will help raise awareness and this is what will prevent setbacks that result in weight gain.
Regular Exercise Routine:
Maintaining a regular exercise routine is crucial for weight maintenance. People who exercise have a much higher success rate at maintaining their weight. Aim for a mix of cardiovascular exercises using High Intensity Interval Training, strength training, and flexibility exercises. In particular, strength training is the most impactful because it builds muscle and muscle increases the basal metabolic rate.
The higher metabolic rate means the body is burning more calories which makes it much easier to prevent gaining weight. Find activities you enjoy to make it a sustainable part of your lifestyle. Consistency is key, so choose activities that you can realistically integrate into your daily or weekly schedule.
Hydration is a key part of any healthy weight loss program but it is often underestimated for the vital role it plays in weight management. Continue to drink an adequate amount of water after losing weight as part of a daily lifestyle because it will help control hunger, support metabolism, and contribute to overall well-being. Make it a habit to carry a water bottle and sip throughout the day. Drink half your body weight (In lbs) in ounces of water.
Monitor Your Progress:
Regularly track your weight, physical activity, and dietary habits. Monitoring your progress helps you stay accountable and allows you to identify any potential challenges before they become significant setbacks. This self-awareness empowers you to make informed decisions and adjustments. Many people track while losing weight but stop after they have reached their goal. It is the best way of staying accountable to yourself and catching yourself when old cravings and habits start to sneak back into your life.
Quality sleep is linked to various aspects of health, including weight management. Lack of sleep can disrupt hormones related to hunger and satiety, leading to increased cravings and overeating. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to support overall well-being.
Build a Support System:
Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, or a community who share your health and wellness interests. Having a community of supportive like-minded people provides encouragement, accountability, and understanding during both triumphs and challenges.
Many people realize they need support and accountability when losing weight but just assume they will be okay on their own in the early stages of weight maintenance. Keeping the weight off long term is actually much harder because there is less structure, more temptations and the old hard-wired habits can creep back in.
This is why some form of support and accountability is so important for a period of time after losing weight. This is one of the reasons I developed a new program that combines my signature weight loss program with a membership based extension to give people the support and accountability as they navigate the earlier stages of maintenance. Then they will be set up to keep their weight off.
Stress can be a significant factor in weight gain. Incorporate stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises into your routine. Managing stress positively impacts both your mental and physical well-being. This becomes extremely important as an ongoing habit after one has lost weight.
Many people incorporate more stress management strategies when losing weight to help manage their “stress eating” but once they have reached their weight loss goal they may gradually abandon these healthy strategies over time and then the stress eating creeps back into their life resulting in weight gain.
Be Kind to Yourself:
Weight maintenance is a journey with its ups and downs. It’s essential to be kind to yourself and recognize that perfection is not the goal. If you veer off course, acknowledge it, learn from it, and move forward with renewed focus on your long-term well-being. When it comes to weight maintenance it is not about perfection. One needs to learn how to be flexible and how to deal with small setbacks as they will happen.
One of the key principles I integrate in my coaching programs is teaching people strategies to handle small increases in weight. When you have a clear cut plan then you do not need to be afraid of the scale and worry about gaining a few pounds. It is just a matter of being aware of the small gain, not letting your inner dialogue be judgemental and then implementing your course correction strategies.
So no need to worry about the post holiday weight gain!!! You can relax and enjoy yourself knowing you have your course correction plan in place for after your holiday to shed those 3-5 lbs and then you are back into the more flexible maintenance mindset.
Sustaining weight loss requires a holistic approach that encompasses various aspects of lifestyle. By establishing sustainable habits, practicing mindful eating, and prioritizing both physical and mental well-being, you can increase the likelihood of maintaining a healthy weight over the long term. Remember, the key is not just about losing weight but also embracing a lifestyle that promotes lasting health and wellness.