Losing weight is one journey – keeping it off is another. It's important to expect that from the start, and if you do, you're on your way to lifelong success!
We have some amazing members who are proving it's absolutely possible to keep the weight off long term (in fact one has written a book about it!). But it is true that the general stats for people managing to maintain weight loss aren't great. But this is where we have great news – with Nutracheck, you have all the tools you need to succeed!
When it comes to weight maintenance, there are three common mistakes people make:
A Nutracheck member who has lost 10 stone and successfully maintained that loss for 6 years now, gives this invaluable advice: the diet you follow to lose weight is the same diet you follow when you maintain it – albeit it's easier as you can eat more!
The key learning is that all the small changes you make and new habits you form on your weight loss journey are the ones that will keep your weight off long term. From the outset, set your sights on this being a one-way journey – you do not want to have to lose this weight twice!
Here are 5 important tips for successfully maintaining a healthy weight.
You'll know from experience that keeping a daily food diary is an effective way to lose weight. You can afford to be more relaxed with your eating when maintaining, but tracking what you eat is absolutely the number one habit to keep as your fallback position. There will inevitably be blips where your weight increases (e.g. holidays and special occasions), this is normal – it's life! But getting straight back to the discipline of tracking what you eat will help you to quickly lose the few pounds you've gained. In the inital phase of moving from losing weight into maintenance, we recommend you move to a higher calorie intake gradually, so keeping a food diary is an essential part of this successful transiition, as finding the right calorie level will be personal to you.
Regularly weighing yourself is the key to staying on top of your weight long term. As mentioned above, it is perfectly normal for your weight to fluctuate – but what is important is to jump on any increases quickly to keep your weight in check. We have a saying – 'look after the lbs and the stones take care of themselves'. Set yourself an upper and lower limit for your weight and keep weighing regularly. If you find your weight is creeping up to the higher limit of your tolerance, switch to a weight loss calorie intake for a week or two and go back to keeping a diary. If you continue with this approach ongoing, you should never find yourself in a position where your weight has crept up by half a stone without your knowledge!
Being physically active is important for all of us and can certainly help to boost weight loss and help you achieve your goal initially. However, exercise becomes even more important for weight maintenance. Being active helps to burn additional calories and keep our metabolism fired up, which is really helpful when trying not to gain weight. We find that being as physically active as you can during the transition from losing weight to maintaining weight can really help with keeping weight steady during this time. In summary, keep up the activity you've been doing while losing weight and try to increase this if you can as exercise is the key to helping you maintain a healthy weight.
Staying well-hydrated is a great way to keep up energy levels and ensure our body functions at its best. Thirst can also sometimes be mistaken for hunger, so always have a glass of water when you feel peckish to check if it is real hunger. This is a really helpful habit when trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle you can maintain long term. Aim for your 6-8 glasses of fluid per day to keep you feeling energised and avoid slipping into unhealthy snacking habits that could derail your weight loss success.
Sleep is something many of us take for granted – until we have problems dropping off. It is incredibly important for a healthy lifestyle and to help maintain a healthy weight. Losing vital sleep can hugely impact our energy levels, which in turn can lead to poor dietary choices and a lack of motivation to exercise. Continuous poor sleep can make it very difficult to maintain a healthy weight as we're up against these additional challenges. Aim for between 7-9 hours per night and try to adopt a healthy sleep pattern where you go to sleep and wake at similar times each day.
Be ready to embrace your maintenance journey with the same dedication and effort you put in to successfully losing the weight. As you continue with your healthy eating and exercise habits, plus regular weigh ins, your new lifestyle will become second nature.
Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.