Losing weight is not all that difficult, it’s losing weight consistently and keeping it off that’s tricky. Have you ever experienced the frustration of piling back on the weight you worked so hard to shift?
The weight loss industry is flooded with quick fixes and unrealistic expectations, this is why our weight loss efforts often fall short. We are lured into numerous diets, detoxes, juices, shakes, fasts and “special” exercise routines for their promises. They sometimes work, but only as long as you use them.
The problem with gimmicks is, you’re excited to give these methods a go in the beginning, but as motivation fades, it’s impossible to maintain weight loss.
The only way to consistently lose weight is adopting new habits and building a lifestyle to support them. The key is making small, sustainable changes instead of short bursts of radical changes.
To help you achieve this, here are the six secrets of people who can maintain weight loss, along with their sanity!
1. They Don’t Go on Diets
Never “go on a diet” again. Crash-course diets are the most unpleasant way to shed pounds and are often unsustainable. As soon as you relapse the weight will come straight back on. It’s totally demoralizing!
Instead, gradually clean up your eating habits to build a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Don’t fall for all unrealistic weight loss expectations. Focus on gradual consistent weight loss which can be none without feeling deprived.
Make small changes, introduce healthy alternatives, then taper down portion sizes slowly. Keep an eye on the scale week by week and adjust your caloric intake accordingly.
2. They Don’t Eat Based on Emotions
Many of us fall victim to comfort eating from stress, upset or even boredom. We find ourselves snacking on unhealthy foods (typically high calorie, carbohydrate, and sugar dense) to fulfill us. Yet it never works and the sugar rush only feeds emotions, then guilt worsens it further.
The answer is not to become emotionless, but to change your emotional connection to food. Instead of using it to seek comfort, see it as a source of nourishment, vitality and good health. You’ll even get an emotional kick out from eating healthier choices!
3. They Manage Their Stress in Healthy Ways
Apart from comfort eating, stress has many other negative effects on general health and wellbeing. Since modern living comes with a fair amount of stress, it’s essential to manage it healthily. Even with your diet on point and regular exercise, stress may still hinder your weight loss efforts.
First, make sure you are getting enough rest, typically between 7-9 hours sleep. Next, introduce a stress-relieving activity into your life. It needs to be one that relaxes you and allows you to clear your mind. Consider yoga, meditation, learning new skills or even playing a music instrument.
4. They Don’t Have “Cheat Days”
Having a cheat day is not the right approach if you truly want to maintain weight loss. It easily turns into an over-the-top indulgence that stalls your progress. Remember, slow and steady not rash and sporadic.
A critical aspect of a sustainable healthy lifestyle is using the 80/20 rule. Stick to your healthy habits most of the time, but allow yourself to indulge when the moment arises.
Having a “cheat meal” is acceptable, but don’t plan them. Say your friend invites you out to dinner, you can jump on the offer without guilt or derailing your weight loss efforts.
5. They Don’t Force Themselves to go to the Gym
Once your diet is on track, you’ll certainly need regular exercise to maintain weight loss. However, there’s no need to force yourself into activities if they bore you to tears. You can choose any activity that works your body and gets you sweating!
If the gym is convenient for you, then go for it. Otherwise, you may consider bodyweight exercises at home or a jog around your neighborhood.
Participating in a sports activities can be an enjoyable way to get exercise, consider football, badminton, basketball, swimming or even martial arts!
6. They Have a Plan and Routine
A healthy lifestyle should not be based on strict rules and depressing restrictions, yet guidelines are critical for staying on track. Having a regular routine and meal plan can be a mental liberation that keeps you moving in the right direct.
Plan enjoyable healthy meals ahead of time and you won’t make poor choices out of convenience or feel guilty later. Better yet, preparing food ahead of time may make your life easier! Similarly, having a weekly routine will help you manage time and ensure you make continual progress.
When your motivation dips, which it will, your routine and meal plan will keep you on track and ensure you still maintain weight loss regardless.