How many times have we congratulated someone on losing a lot of weight?
It’s an incredible achievement, and we tend to ask tons of questions. How did you do it? How long did it take you? Was it difficult?
The two of you go your separate ways and a few months pass by. Next minute you’re scrolling through Instagram and see them. They’re bigger than you remember. In fact, you swear it’s an old photo, as it seems they’ve put on most, if not all of their weight back on again.
What can we conclude from this?
Losing fat and meeting your fitness goals is one thing, but keeping the fat off for good is another.
Stick to these important “secrets” gathered from some of the top experts to ensure that you will both keep the weight off, and potentially improve on your new found physique.
1. Maintain your habits!
If you read nothing more of this article, read this. If you have already lost any amount of fat, then you already have the template to keep it off. If you were training 5 times per week, keep training. If you were following a restrictive diet, work with a coach or nutritionist to adapt this to the lifestyle you’d like to live.. Find a sustainable version of your success method and follow it.
2. Reverse Dieting
A key reason as to why we see so many people “blow out” after a successful fat loss, especially an aggressive one, is that they return to their old habits much too quickly. Reverse dieting is a process where we gradually increase calories by a small amount each week to return you to a baseline, or a “maintenance” intake. This is an essential process that manages fat regain, as well as allows you to not have to live on the 1200 calories you may have consumed to achieve your new physique. This process must be carefully measured, and your weight (or another metric) must be monitored throughout (next paragraph).
3. Monitor your weight.
Once you reach your ultimate goal of losing all that excess weight, this does not mean we cease to track your progress. Regular and planned measurements must be scheduled, whether this is using the scales, or any body fat percentage tracking device (pinch tests, DEXA scan/body fat scale). A weight blowout will be obvious, but subtle fat gain over time you may not notice for an extended period. According to Christine M. Palumbo (registered dietician and nutrition expert), monitoring your progress at least once per week will allow you to know where you stand and will give you the necessary incentive to keep on track.
4. Schedule your workouts.
As Roger. E Adams (personal trainer, doctor of nutrition, and owner of eatrightfitness) explains, the problem that usually arises is a lack in the “scheduling process”. When your motivation was high and the kilos were “falling off”, progress worked as the motivator. Now, what will get you up each morning to hit the gym before work? You get back into old habits, and it becomes “finding time” rather than “making time” to work out. If your workouts lean more to “finding time”, then this means that being active now ranks in your lowest priorities. This is why you should make sure that you schedule your workouts beforehand, so that your workouts are consistent, frequent and efficient.
5. Meal Planning and Preparation
A massive factor to unhealthy eating is convenience. The appeal to many of us to come home after a hard day of work and make dinner can be non-existent. Prepping your meals in advance on the weekend, or getting ready-made meals from a meal prep company can be the difference between success and failure. Just like scheduling your workout, making sure that you have all your meals planned ahead will make you less likely to make bad and costly food decisions.
6. Get adequate sleep.
Sleeping more is equally as important to eating healthy and exercising. The National Sleep Foundation explains how lack of sleep and increased appetite are interlinked with one another. Apparently, the body regulates two neurotransmitters (ghrelin and leptin) through sleep. Once these neurotransmitters are not operating normally, you will feel less full and your appetite will increase.
If you’re looking for life-long results, the way to go is to eat healthy instead of focusing on a diet. Making permanent changes in your lifestyle is a must.