You’ve Lost the Weight. Now What?
At last, you did it. After working your newly toned butt off, you made it to your goal weight. You’re so happy, you could laugh, cry, or both! (Yep, a good laugh-cry might do the trick).
Now, if only there was a magic button that could lock your results in for life. No worrying about regaining the weight or having to start from scratch next month. Sadly, this fate is all too common for many people. According to research, somewhere between one third and two-thirds of people who lose weight on a diet end up gaining back more than they originally lost.1 Sounds bleak, right?
Don’t worry; we’re all about beating the odds. These next 7 tips can help you put simple practices into place to keep the weight off for good!
1. Celebrate small wins.
First, pat yourself on the back for getting to where you are today. Next, continue to celebrate your successes. It could be as simple as reminding yourself, “You’re doing great!” or giving yourself a treat after reaching a mini-goal – like buying new workout clothes after keeping up with the gym. Rewarding yourself for making progress can build your confidence and motivate you to keep going.
Gretchen Rubin, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book The Happiness Project, speaks to her “Strategy of Treats” approach. Her belief is that when we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for, and content, which boosts our self-command – and self-command helps us maintain our healthy habits.
2. Maximize your mornings.
You’ve probably heard how waking up early can be a marker for success. There are no shortage of high-powered execs and celebrities who famously wake up before the crack of dawn to exercise, meditate, check emails, or simply get a head start to their day. It’s a small way of setting the day’s tone, rather than reacting to it.
A recent TIME article supports the morning ritual. It claims that if you want healthy habits to stick – the kind that can help you keep your weight off – you should do them in the morning.2 Leaving exercise till the evening when your brain is fried and your family is pulling at you from all directions is risky. As in … you might not get to it!
If the thought of waking up early has you emphatically shaking your head, it’s all about prep and consistency. Make sure to set your gym clothes out the night before and try to stick to a regular bedtime each night. Going in prepared will make it that much easier to become a morning convert.
3. Eat breakfast on the daily.
Speaking of mornings, let’s talk breakfast. We’ve all been “that girl” frantically running out the door for school or work, barely having time to grab a coffee. Breakfast … What breakfast?
While skipping breakfast isn’t a crime, it can slowly sabotage your fitness results. Without filling your tank with a healthy meal, you’ll likely feel more lethargic throughout your day, and reach for junk food/extra calories when hunger hits.
Conversely, research from The British Dietetic Association (BDA) shows that “people who eat breakfast have more balanced diets than those who skip it, are less likely to be overweight, and lose weight more successfully if overweight.”3
You can get in the breakfast groove by having a small meal that’s high in protein – like a delicious
Lean Body® RTD – as you’re getting ready or heading out the door. Also, be mindful of what you’re eating throughout the day. As the saying goes, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.”
4. Schedule your priorities.
Think about the effort you put into losing weight. It wasn’t always a walk in the park, right? You likely had to adjust your calendar to make room for exercise, or prep your meals in advance so you’d always have good food choices on hand. You put in the work, and now you’re reaping the amazing rewards!
To stay fit, you’ll want to keep the momentum going. Don’t just leave healthy habits to chance; make them your priority. Mark your workouts on your calendar, block out times for meal prep, and load up on ready-to-drink, high-protein nutrition. As Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” We couldn’t have said it better.
5. Don’t go more than 3 days without exercise.
Life happens; we get it. A busy work week or unexpected family commitments can suddenly derail an otherwise fool-proof fitness plan. And it’s certainly OK – even recommended – to let your body rest some days.
But here’s the thing … The longer the break you take, the harder it will be to get back on track. The couch will start to look comfier, and those old habits – the ones that led to your initial weight gain – will start inching their way back into your life.
Ideally, you should exercise at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week. The “right” exercise plan is one that you enjoy and will stick to. Our only suggestion is to include some resistance training into your routine, whether it’s with machines, dumbbells, resistance bands, or your own body weight. It’s the best way to build lean muscle that will help support a faster metabolism and reduced body fat.
On days when you simply can’t exercise, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just try to get in some extra activity in other places – like taking the stairs instead of the elevator – and put in a little extra effort to keep your nutrition plan on point.
6. Watch your screen time.
Ah, the mighty cell phone. What would we do without it? Perhaps have an easier time staying fit?
According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, too much screen time on phones, TVs, tablets, or computers can negatively affect our weight.4 As the article states, “Our report found strong evidence that greater screen time is a cause of weight gain, overweight and obesity in adults.”
It also reached a separate, more disturbing conclusion: “Greater screen time is a convincing cause of weight gain, overweight and obesity in children. This is of particular importance – children living with overweight and obesity are more likely to continue to do so in adulthood, and we know that overweight and obesity in adulthood increases cancer risk.”
So, how does screen time cause weight gain? For starters, it can often trigger mindless snacking. When we’re watching TV or on our devices, we tend to passively eat more than what’s needed. And guess what we see when we’re in this zone? More ads for junk food!
Excess screen time can also take the place of exercise. After all, who wants to go to the gym when another Netflix episode is just seconds away? Lastly, screen time can interfere with sleep. The less sleep you get, the more likely you’ll be to press snooze on your alarm – the one set for your morning workout.
Of course, screen time in and of itself isn’t evil. Just be on guard when your worlds of screening and snacking collide.
7. Sleep like you mean it.
Have you heard of the new trend of luxury sleep vacations? In this Well + Good article, the author introduces us to hotels around the world that offer sleep-focused stays for REM-deprived guests. Clearly, our over-stressed, over-worked bodies need more shut-eye.
Sleep is also an important piece of the weight-loss puzzle. When we don’t get enough sleep, we become cranky, irritable, and crave more calories – usually the empty kind. This is supported by a 2012 report in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The report reviewed almost 20 studies on sleep deprivation (fewer than six hours per night) and found that it “is linked to energy imbalance and potential weight gain. Adults who did not get enough sleep felt hungrier, and craved higher-fat, higher-calorie foods. In one study, sleep-deprived women ate 400 more calories a day than women who got enough sleep over the course of four nights.”5
Need we say more? If sleep hasn’t been high on your priority list, it’s time to make friends with extra ZZZs.
In summary …
You came, you saw, you conquered the extra weight. Kudos to you! Now, with the simple tips provided above, you can continue to bask in the glow of your new, fit body.
About the Author
Nicole Kepic is a nutrition expert who specializes in health, wellness, and lifestyle writing. She has also had articles published in a variety of fitness and bodybuilding magazines. When she’s not busy writing for her clients, Nicole is normally keeping active with her family or dreaming of her next sunny vacation. www.nicolekepic.com