We all know that fat loss is difficult as it is but it’s even trickier to keep the weight off. It is quite common for majority of people to regain the weight after they undergo a huge weight loss transformation. It can be very disheartening because it can feel like all your hard work, dedication and time just went down the drain.
Studies have suggested that there are two main reasons why people find it difficult to keep the weight off. Firstly, studies have found that people find it difficult to commit to lifestyle behavior changes for more than 6 months. According to Stephan Guyenet, PhD author of “The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts That Makes Us Overeat”, he says as time goes on the various restrictions can take a toll on a person and they can feel even more so tempted to revert back to old habits.
When we set out on a fat loss journey, we are very highly motivated and determined to make changes. However, this can sometimes have a negative impact on us as it can lead us to making unrealistic and often drastic diet and lifestyle changes which many find hard to maintain post weight loss.
Secondly, studies have found that biologically, our body will fight weight loss as it is programmed to hold onto every single pound which is an evolutionary trait.
So how do you avoid regaining the weight you fought so hard to lose?
Create a maintainable eating plan
If you are aiming to make a lifestyle change and actually keep the weight off for good, you need to assess your eating habits. As I have stated in past blog posts, I eat more food than I’ve ever eaten before but this is the leanest I’ve ever been. This all boils down to the quality of food I eat to fuel my body. You want to create an eating plan that works for you and works around your busy schedule. Want to speed up your metabolism? one of the key things to do is eat more frequently. Aim to eat three meals a day with three snacks in between. Remember portion control is vital.
Eat nutrient dense food
Foods that are natural and unprocessed are the best for our body like fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, eggs, potatoes, whole grains. According to Guyenet, foods that have minimal added fats, sugars and/or artificial flavorings can dampen our starvation response. He also recommends that adding rich protein sources to your diet can aid with appetite control and “sustain metabolic rate in the face of fat loss”.
Make small changes
A big mistake that people have when it comes to weight loss and even post weight loss, is that they aim for unrealistic changes. Changes take time for the body to adapt to. For example, it would be quite difficult for an avid meat eater to wake up one morning and claim they are vegan. It takes time. It’s all about the small changes that you can make along the way. Make incremental changes that will help solidify good habits and then continue to make another change. Things like limiting alcohol, eating more fruits and vegetables, aiming to hit 10,000 steps a day etc. Small changes go a long way.
Forget about ‘cheat days’
It is important that you have a daily eating plan that you stick to but also treat yourself occasionally. I live by the 80:20 diet; I eat healthy 80% of the time during the week and the other 20% I will treat myself to goodies. Life is all about living and when you put harsh restrictions on certain things, you will end up craving them even more. Discipline and self control is what it comes down to. Go ahead and enjoy that donut then get back on track the next day. Remember, it is OK to splurge a little bit but being consistent will pay off.
Have a set exercise plan with a clear goal
Our fitness goals are constantly changing; bigger glutes, toned core, stronger arms. In order to stay on track and keep off the weight, continually assess your fitness goals to ensure that you are always challenging yourself. For example, over the summer my main goal was to get lean and burn more fat in stubborn areas. I achieved that. However, with being so lean I lost a lot of my strength gains especially in my glutes. So now my focus is on building up my glutes and incorporating more heavy compound lifts. With changing your fitness goal, you will also need to alter you exercise plan. It is recommended that every 12 weeks or so you change up your plan slightly so your body does not hit a plateau. Exercise also contributes to brain function by regulating appetite and body fatness. This therefore leads to easier weight loss maintenance.
Don’t you dare skip breakfast
I hear it all the time “But when I wake up so early I am just not hungry”. I understand that a lot of people are not big breakfast eaters but it is the most important meal of the day. Remember after our body is coming out of an overnight fast, you need to replenish your supply of glucose to give you the energy you need to start the day. Breakfast promotes weigh loss and maintenance because it helps to maintain blood glucose levels. Personally, I tend to have oatmeal every morning for breakfast. It is rich in complex carbohydrates that help fuel my body throughout the day and I also mix in my favorite protein powder and top with yummy fresh fruit & pumpkin seeds.
Fitness and health isn’t just something you do for 3 months to drop a few extra pounds- it is a lifestyle. Adopting a healthier approach and making small changes will ensure that you keep the weight off that you fought so hard to lose. Creating a positive mindset plays a big role on this. Continue to move forward everyday, create new goals and challenges, explore new foods and most importantly enjoy your journey and embrace