Dieters have been offered a six-step guide to help maintain results and prevent weeks of hard work from going to waste after an extensive period of weight loss.
The health and fitness experts at wellness site Vivotion.com have revealed their best tips for keeping the pounds off and staying in shape.
Once you’ve reached your goal weight and are looking towards transitioning to a more regular way of eating, it can be difficult to navigate food choices.
By making small lifestyle changes that work for you, you’ll be able to make controlled decisions and successfully transition to a healthy maintenance diet.
A spokesperson for Viviotion.com said: “The road to successful weight maintenance is through making positive lifestyle changes and staying consistent with those changes.
“It takes time to change lifelong patterns, so be patient with yourself and if you backslide, remember you can get back on track at your next meal.
“Remember to allow for small, portion-controlled amounts of favourite foods during the week. If you budget in your diet for that food and don’t make it a daily habit, you’ll find it won’t have the power to derail your healthy eating.”
1. Slowly increase the number of calories you eat
To reduce the chance of regaining body fat, increasing your calorie intake by 100-200 every week is advised until you reach your maintenance level. Don’t come off a 1,200 calorie diet, immediately bounce up to 2,000 calories, and expect everything to be fine.
2. Stay active
Even if your only goal is to maintain your results, staying active is advised. Exercising is vital to your health and should never be completely disregarded. Some people make the mistake of increasing their food intake and decreasing their exercise frequency or intensity, which can be a bit too much all at once. Remember, if you eat more and move less, you will almost certainly gain weight back.
3. Expect some digestive distress
If you diet for a month or longer while decreasing your carbohydrate intake, you can expect to experience some digestive distress when adding certain foods – such as grains and potatoes – back into your diet.
It can often feel like you’ve somehow developed an insensitivity to a particular type of carbohydrate (gluten, for example) when in fact your body has just cut back on the enzyme production needed to break these types of foods down. So, give your body a chance to catch up and return enzyme production to normal.
4. Keep a food journal
The last thing you probably feel like doing after a diet is writing down everything you eat, but keeping a food journal during the first few weeks of maintenance can make the difference between success or failure. This will allow you to stop and take the time to really pay attention to your diet.
5. Eat protein at each meal
Protein can help you curb your appetite because it reduces a hormone responsible for hunger, helping you feel full sooner and stay satiated longer. Include at least 20 grams of protein in every meal, choosing lean, low-fat sources such as fish, lean cuts of meat and poultry, and low-fat dairy. Make sure your snacks also include protein to help give them staying power.
6. Don’t panic if you regain some weight
It’s natural to see a small weight increase after your diet. Your weight will normalise as your body fills up its stores of glycogen, which were probably low because of water retention. Learning to handle dietary slips and get back on track is probably the most essential tool for maintaining weight loss. So, if you do have a bad food day, be done with it when your head hits the pillow.