Okay. So dieting plus exercise is recommended, right? Yes! The healthiest way to lose weight and keep it off is to modify your diet but also be physically active long-term. Weight training is highly recommended when following a weight-loss diet because it is this kind of exercise that will help to preserve your muscle mass. Think of the process as a healthy lifestyle behavior. If you change a behavior (i.e., decrease caloric intake, increase exercise frequency, etc.), your body will change (i.e., lose weight) as a result. But for the change to be more permanent, you will need to commit to the change indefinitely. Yes, your body will eventually adapt to any change brought on it--in which case another change is needed. But the point here is that you must change a certain behavior or begin a new habit (i.e., daily walking) for the long-term in order for your body to make a lasting change (i.e., permanent weight loss). It is this long-term lifestyle behavior change that most people are not successful at accomplishing.
Here are some tips on how to become more successful at maintaining weight loss over the long-term:
- Stay consistent in following your diet and exercise plan.
- Lift weights regularly (i.e., 2-3 times per week).
- Continue to set goals (i.e., increase the weights lifted, decrease carb intake, etc.).
- Eat only when you begin to feel hungry and stop when you're almost full.
- Plan your workouts and meal plans in advance for the week.
- Drink water more often (strive to drink (in ounces) half your body weight (in pounds). For example, if you weigh 150 pounds (150 x 1/2 = 75), you need to drink 75 ounces (approximately 10 cups of water). Drink more in hot temperature environments and when exercising.
- Share your goals with close friends or family to keep you motivated.
- Eat mostly vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs.
- Get plenty of sleep (i.e., strive to get 7-9 hours per night).
Bottom line: Maintaining healthy weight loss is not easy but it can be done by having an eating and workout plan that's realistic and that you can follow for the long-term.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."