There has been a lot of publicity about how nearly 100% of diets end in failure. Just a few short years after losing weight, or sooner, nearly all dieters find that their weight has gone back to pre-weight loss levels or more. Why is this? A lot of dieters, of course, lose weight, then think: “Great! Now I can go back to my normal diet – bring me a pizza. Large!” Alternatively, dieters can be disciplined and rational on finishing the diet, but this later slips as they forget the struggle they had to lose the weight. Being the right weight is not the result of a one-off effort, but should be the result of a life-style – a life-style that includes a good nourishing diet and adequate exercise.
Following should help in maintaining weight loss long-term:
If you have hit your target weight, or are very close to it, then you should be proud of yourself. Many people never manage it, despite trying many times, sometimes over many years. Having achieved the weight you want to be at, it is important to stay there and not find yourself gradually creeping up again.
Continue to weigh yourself frequently – daily is good:
Maintaining the right weight should be part of an overall life-style, so checking your weight regularly should also be part of routine. Step on the scales every morning, so that you see if your weight is starting to creep up again. Small day-to-day changes, up and down, are normal – but if your weight is going up week to week, it´s time to do something! Not weighing frequently risks suddenly finding one day that you´ve put on a lot of weight and have to think of dieting again.
Eat a nourishing and satisfying diet:
To lose weight, you – hopefully – adopted a nourishing diet that did not leave you feeling hungry all the time. Once you have reached your desired weight, you can relax on quantities and even, sometimes, on content. You should eat plenty of fiber, which you get from plant foods. Foods like grains, beans, nuts, legumes, vegetables and fruits are usually fiber-rich and, hence, as well as being generally “very good for you” are also good for leaving you feeling full.
Some experts advise always eating a good nourishing breakfast as part of routine. Breakfast comes at the end of a long gap without food and stops any possibility of starting the day hungry or of soon feeling hungry. It is probably more a matter of personal preference. If you feel hungry in the morning, then you should have a filling breakfast, but if you do not feel hungry – then skip breakfast.
If, as part of the diet, you took special protein drinks or shakes or other special (and often expensive) foods, then as a celebration of the end of the formal weight-loss part of the diet, you should be able to give all those things up now. You will not need them after you reach you right weight and you should certainly avoid making them part of your permanent regime.
As part of a diet, most people cut back on, or even eliminate completely, alcohol consumption. It is a good idea to remember that alcohol is usually full of calories and hence, taken in quantity, is certainly fattening. There is some controversy about this, in that some people maintain that alcohol is not fattening, because you feel less hungry after drinking it. I do not believe that this is true for most people, particularly when I think about how agreeable it is to go and have a big Indian meal at the end of an alcoholic celebration.
Many people turn to food if they are under stress or pick at usually unhealthy snack-foods when watching TV.. Both these tendencies should be avoided, particularly as the food consumed is likely to be fattening junk food. There are plenty of healthy, and usually more filling, foods that can be consumed – if necessary – while watching TV or when under stress. These healthy alternatives include, but are certainly not confined to, celery!
Physical activity is very important for the human organism. Some people seem to think that the human body is like a car engine and will wear out faster with exercise, but this is, of course, wrong!
Human beings need exercise for health and it also helps to maintain weight. About an hour to ninety minutes a day of exercise is about right for most people, but not necessarily all at once. An hour can build up – walking to the shops, walking to work, taking the dog for a brisk walk. Cycling is both enjoyable and good exercise. Swimming at the local pool. There are times when instead of hopping into the car, you can walk or cycle. “Moving” can soon become natural, normal and instinctive. As you get fitter, so you will enjoy and look forward more and more to exercise. Picking out various 5 mile (8 kilometer) routes for walking, then keeping track of times and trying to improve the times, is enjoyable and also leads to feelings of vigour and generally “feeling good”. Irrespective of whether exercise leads in itself to weight loss, it certainly leads to feeling good about yourself, which makes it much easier to stick to your lose-weight plan.
Gone off plan:
When you have finished the “formal” part of your diet and have reached the weight you want to be at, it is important to continue to monitor yourself. Hopefully, you will have followed one of our suggestions for a diet, so that the diet actually formed part of your new regular life plan. The diet is over now, but the life plan continues – you have relaxed the diet and eat a bit more when you feel like it, sometimes you consume things that were off-limits on the diet. That is all OK – so long as you get back to plan. You should avoid finding suddenly that you unconsciously crept back to the eating habits that originally made you overweight, or even “fat”.
Many, perhaps even most, dieters find themselves on an endless cycle of overweight, dieting to get back to a healthier weight, putting it all on again, a new diet……..That is why the only system that is likely to work in the long run is to have an overall plan, a system of life that becomes second-nature, one that you positively desire to get back to if for some reason you went off it for a while.
All “pie in the sky?” No – if you reach a good weight by a diet that is basically part of your new life and you improve fitness by exercise, then you will find that you enjoy life a lot more and will not find your weight going back up again.
Sometimes, you will have gone off plan – overeaten, abandoned your exercise for a while – that´s OK, human. It´s just a question of getting back to plan as soon as possible.