No one likes to think about the ugly reality while they’re trying to lose weight, but a whopping 80 percent of people who lose weight gain it right back. The reason is fairly simple: it feels more natural for the body to be at the weight you were for so many years before you decided to diet. The body is always seeking homeostasis and you’ve tricked it into thinking that it’s better to be “large and in-charge.” Now that you’ve lost weight, you need to work extra hard to keep it off for good. But don’t let that discourage you. It is definitely possible to stay fit and healthy once you know the secrets.
1. Avoid dieting: just eat healthy.
Many people put themselves on very restrictive calorie diets. Most people who work-out regularly should be on a 1,500 calorie per day diet, but nothing less. If you’re on a temporary restricted diet, you’ll gain weight the moment you increase your calories. The same holds true if you’re on a carb-restrictive diet: once you add carbs back in, your weight will go up. So choose a sustainable meal plan you can stick with for life – not just until you shed the desired amount of weight.
2. Substitute foods, rather than eliminating them.
Often times, we try too hard to restrict ourselves, which causes terrible cravings and binging later. Look for healthier alternatives to sweet, salt or fat cravings. Sometimes switching to a smaller portion size is an advantageous way to eat what you love, without sacrificing your size.
3. Learn to love water.
Many people pack on empty calories with soda, lemonade, juice and diet drinks. Instead, switching to water with lemon can save over 360 calories each day. Drink coffee if you need the caffeine and switch from whole to skim or soy milk. These small changes can have a huge impact over time.
4. Exercise every single day.
Some people go gung-ho at the gym until they reach their goals and then they prioritize differently, shifting physical activity back to the bottom of the pile. Before they know it, they’ve gained all their old pounds back. To keep your metabolism going and your muscles strong, you need to make time for fitness every day, even if it’s just walking the dog on your “off” days. Skipping days can be dangerous because you are more likely to make excuses when you should be working out.
5. Avoid overeating.
At restaurants, ask for a to-go carton right away to pack up half your meal for leftovers the next day. Measure out the proper portion sizes and stick with it. Drink a glass of water before your meal. Eat slowly. Fill up a smaller plate so the portions look bigger.
Don’t let everything you’ve worked for fall by the wayside. Remember, fitness is a lifetime commitment!