You’ve been working hard and now you have reached your weight loss goal! The question now is: how to maintain weight loss after low-calorie diet?
Many people out there have lost weight through a low-calorie diet, but after they go back to their old habits, the weight piles up again.
To maintain your current weight, you need to continue with what’s been working for you before; making healthy food choices, exercising regularly, and checking in with yourself periodically.
These 14 tips will help keep those pounds off for good!
Keep Paying Attention To Your Food Choices
When it comes to choosing low-calorie foods, you probably feel like a pro by now. Stick with the habit because it helps keep the weight off. I have five food suggestions on how to maintain weight loss after low-calorie diet.
1. Eat breakfast:
If you’re quick to skip breakfast, I recommend you think twice. Grabbing a healthy morning bite, such as overnight oatmeal or a veggie frittata muffin, starts your metabolism. It gives you more energy, and research shows nearly 80 percent of people who eat breakfast keep the weight off.
2. Add more protein:
Protein is a great muscle-builder. It’s also essential for weight-loss maintenance. In fact, protein-rich foods help you in two ways: they reduce ghrelin, the hormone that makes you hungry, and boost leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full. Here are a few protein-rich foods I suggest:
3. Keep an eye on carbs:
If you love carbs, I have great news – you can eat them and keep the weight off! But, leave refined carbs – white bread, white pasta, and fruit juices – behind. They’ll sabotage your hard work. Instead, choose whole grains, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and beans. These foods are good options:
4. Drink more water:
Chances are, you’re already drinking water with meals. But, if you want the maximum benefit, I recommend downing a glass or two before eating. It helps you feel fuller faster. Plus, science shows drinking more water burns calories and cuts consumption by 13 percent. That’s a win-win!
5. Pay attention to how you’re eating:
How you eat is just as important as what you eat. Sure, we all like to sit down to watch our favorite TV show over dinner, but there’s a big chance you’ll overeat that way. Why? You’re not paying attention to what you’re doing.
It takes 20 minutes for your brain to signal you’re full, and if you’re mindlessly eating, you might not notice until you’ve overeaten. Instead, my advice is to avoid distractions, eat slowly (consider using chopsticks to slow yourself down), and chew your food well. Stay in the moment, and you’ll recognize when you’re full.
Make Regular Exercise a Priority
Watching what you eat is important, but it’s only half the battle. Adding in cardiovascular exercise and weight training are vital parts of how to maintain weight loss after low-calorie diet, too.
To keep a steady weight, you have to burn calories. Getting your heart rate up speeds up your metabolism. I recommend you shoot for 200 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a week – that breaks down to 30 minutes a day. You can walk, run, bike, swim, or dance. Choose your favorite, and break a sweat.
7. Pick up the free weights:
Did you lose muscle while dieting? Don’t worry, it’s normal. But, you’ll need to re-gain it to keep the weight off. Weight-lifting exercises, such as kettlebell swings, dumbbell curls, bench press, and deadlifts, are great ways to work all your major muscle groups. Try to pump iron at least twice a week.
Keep Tabs on Yourself
When you started your journey to drop pounds, you likely had a plan. Now, you’ll need a new one to keep a steady weight. I have a few suggestions that will guide you in how to maintain weight loss after low-calorie diet.
8. Start slow:
Once you’ve reached your goal weight, back off your diet slowly. You can add more calories from healthy, low-fat foods back to your daily food intake, but limit it to around 200 calories a day. If, after a week, you’re still losing weight, try adding in more calories until you find the right balance.
9. Step on the scale:
I know it doesn’t sound fun, but your scale can be your friend. Research shows people who weigh themselves 6 days a week after a low-calorie diet eat at least 500 fewer calories daily and control portion size better. That’s 3,500 calories a week! I suggest weighing yourself at the same time each day.
10. Make a plan and stick with it:
Now that you’re in weight-loss maintenance mode, it can be tempting to indulge on the weekends. But, that could lead to gaining even more weight. Following a weekly meal plan will help you make healthier choices. Include fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains.
11. Get more rest:
You might not realize it, but sleep and weight loss go hand-in-hand. Getting enough shut-eye gives you the energy to exercise and helps you make healthier choices. And, like protein, it reduces ghrelin and boosts leptin. To keep a steady weight, I recommend getting at least 7 hours of sleep nightly.
12. Track yourself:
If you want to stay financially healthy, you keep tabs on how much you’re spending, right? The same is true with keeping a steady weight – you should keep a daily log of your workouts and what you eat. The more attention you give to your activities, the more likely you are to choose an apple over a bag of chips.
13. Choose a buddy:
Keeping yourself motivated alone is hard. So, ask your partner or a friend if they’ll join in to help keep you on track. Make plans to work out together or agree to share food diaries. Being accountable to someone else makes it easier to stick with the changes that prompted your weight loss in the first place.
14. Pick sustainable habits:
Exercising two hours a day and limiting yourself to 1,500 calories might sound like a recipe for success. But, it might not be realistic. Instead, I recommend choosing habits you’ll keep. Maybe it’s a 30-minute walk over lunch and eating a lighter dinner. Figure out what’s best for you, and be consistent.
How to maintain weight loss after a low-calorie diet can be challenging. After all, achieving your goal is just the first step towards long-term success.
The good news is that you can keep your hard work from going to waste with some dedication and determination.
Whether you maintain your weight will depend on if the new habits you created for yourself are sustainable.
Controlling your food portions and drinking enough water throughout the day are two great habits to keep!
And if you weren’t already lifting free weights or doing bodyweight exercises, this is the best time to start.
Finally, find support in friends who share similar goals and family members who have been supportive throughout this process.
How has your experience been maintaining weight loss? What strategy has helped the most in keeping off the pounds?