Transition to Maintenance
From Weight Loss to Weight Management
Q: What’s the difference between weight loss & weight management?
A: Weight loss keeps you looking at the numbers on your scale. Weight management makes you put that scale away.
You’ve dieted and exercised and dieted some more and finally you have reached your weight loss goal. Now how do you ensure that you keep that weight off? Unfortunately, only about a third of dieters are successful at maintaining their weight loss over an extended period of time. Many people relax their vigilance after they lose weight only to gain it right back. For many, maintaining weight loss can be just as difficult as losing weight. The good news is that there are a number of ways you can keep the weight off, ranging from exercising to controlling stress, if you incorporate them into your daily life.
Weight Maintenance Strategies
- Exercise often, including resistance training like lifting weights. Studies have found that people who do at least 200 minutes of moderate physical activity a week (30 minutes a day) after losing weight are more likely to maintain their weight.
- Create strong social support. If you hang out with friends who eat pizza and drink beer every day, guess what you’ll be doing? If you connect with people who consciously eat healthily and are physically active – you will too. Social support allows friends to tackle goals together and is linked to weight maintenance success.
- Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated makes you feel fuller longer and can help you reduce the number of calories you consume. Tip drink a glass of water before each meal.
- Change your vocabulary. “Diet” implies a specific time period, something with an end-date, whereas “eating healthy” is a lifelong habit.
- Plan your meals ahead. Waiting until you are hungry to plan your meal will likely result in you eating the first thing that crosses your path, and that, more often than not, will be something unhealthy. You may want to consider packing your own lunch or carrying a healthy meal replacement option. Substituting 1 meal per day with Nutribar is useful for preventing weight gain and can help with long-term weight maintenance.
- Chill out. Stress and anxiety can trigger cravings for sweet, salty and high-fat foods because they stimulate the brain to release pleasure chemicals to reduce tension.
- Don’t skip breakfast. Eating breakfast is one of the most common behaviours amongst people who are successful at maintaining weight loss. In fact, one study found that almost 80% of people who maintained a 30 lb weight loss for a year or more, said they ate breakfast every day.
- Be mindful of how many calories you eat and how many you burn. If you eat as many calories as you burn, you’ll maintain your weight. If your calorie intake is higher than your calorie expenditure, you’ll gain weight.
- Eat lots of low-fat protein. Protein can help reduce your appetite and promote fullness.
- Make sure to weigh-in at least once a week. Self-awareness will keep you focused on your progress.
- Curb your refined carbs like white bread, sugary snacks, pasta and fruit juices.
- Plan ahead for food centric social situations like holiday gatherings, parties and weddings where high-calorie, high-fat foods are sure to be served. That may mean eating a light meal in advance so you don’t come to your event starving.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation appears to be a major risk factor for weight gain in adults and may interfere with weight maintenance.
- Eat your veggies. Most vegetables are low in calories and are rich in nutrients. They also are high in fiber, which keeps you feeling fuller, longer.
- Decrease your screen time. Get off the couch so you won’t be tempted to reach for snacks. Choose to move instead.
- Practice mindful eating by taking control over the foods you eat. Be aware of what you are eating before you eat it, including portion size and how it was prepared (e.g. fried vs. poached). This consciousness can help you stave off emotional eating and make better decisions.