You’ve lost weight! You feel great, you look great, and you’ve never been happier. Your goal now is to prevent regaining the weight you worked so hard to lose. We all know the damage that yoyo dieting can have on both our health and our self-esteem. Here are 8 tried and true tips for weight loss maintenance that will help you put an end to yoyo dieting forever.
1. Read Package Labels – you probably know by now that you can’t trust pre-packaged foods that claim to be low fat, heart healthy, low calorie or some other vague, subjective term. Don’t forget that low fat doesn’t mean you won’t gain weight eating that product. If the contents of that package is primarily carbohydrate or sugar-sweetened, it will sabotage your weight loss. Eat fresh foods whenever possible. When you do decide to eat pre-packaged foods, check the nutrition label so that you know exactly how much sugar, carbohydrate, fat and salt is in each serving.
2. Remain Food Aware – you know now that some foods, like sauces and gravies, are diet killers. Breading on meat, fish and poultry adds weight-gaining carbohydrates. You also know that some vegetables (like potatoes and winter squash) should be eaten only in moderation or avoided altogether. And don’t forget the high sugar content in fruits can cause you to gain weight too. Remain cautious and don’t go back to old habits of unrestricted eating.
3. Allow Yourself a Forbidden Fruit – have that piece of birthday cake or spaghetti dinner at a friend’s house. But, allow yourself these luxuries only occasionally and compensate for the extra carbohydrates and calories you’ve taken in by limiting the amount you take in tomorrow. Dieting for a single day is easy and a great trade-off to allow yourself a treat once in awhile.
4. Experiment With New Foods – expand the variety, not the quantity, of food you eat. Trying new foods and new recipes will put some fun and interest into your diet. I may help to keep you from returning to your former way of eating that packed on the pounds.
5. Take Your Vitamins – your body can signal its need for a specific vitamin or mineral through food cravings. Unfortunately, that craving may be for foods that shouldn’t be a part of your new, healthier diet. One way to avoid such cravings is to take a daily multivitamin. For individuals with a particularly slow metabolism, adding chromium to your daily intake of vitamin supplements may be helpful.
6. Limit Coffee and Alcohol – both can act as appetite stimulants and depress the healthy function of many bodily functions. Use both in moderation.
7. Exercise – continue the habit of daily exercise. Just one twenty minute walk per day helps speed up a slow metabolism. Use exercise as a diversion when food cravings occur or you are tempted to snack due to boredom, depression, or stress. If you find yourself craving a candy bar, for example, choose to take a 20 minute walk, promising yourself that if you still want that candy bar when you get back home, you’ll eat it. Chances are good you wont give in to those cravings if you walk first.
8. Limit Weight Gain to 5 lbs. – Should you gain 5 lbs., immediately return to your weight loss diet and exercise regimen until those pounds are lost again. Weight loss is so much easier on both your body and your mind when it requires a small amount of time and effort.
You’ve made it to your goal weight through a great deal of hard work and self-discipline. Maintaining your goal weight shouldn’t be hard work and it won’t be, if you follow these 8 tips for weight loss maintenance.