The Best Strategies to Maintain Healthy Weight Loss

8 Long-term weight management tips

If you’ve lost some weight in the past few months, one of the biggest questions floating around your head is “how do I keep it off?” 

After people lose weight, they tend to gain it back within two to three years. This can be due to a number of reasons, but more often than not, it comes down to a disconnect between a few core concepts: mindset, diligence, and sustainability.

Maintaining healthy weight loss isn’t easy, but it is rewarding.  Here are eight strategies for maintaining healthy weight loss in the long-term.

Photo by Tim Bish on Unsplash

Brace Yourselves!

People tend to relapse after restrictive diets. Chalk it up to feelings of deprivation, short-term thinking, or unrealistic expectations, but more than anything else it’s because people are looking for shortcuts.

The number one thing to know about healthy, sustainable weight loss is that it’s a long-term commitment. The only proven methods of weight maintenance are permanent lifestyle changes, so take steps to make sure you’re mentally and physically prepared to jump in.

Examine your internal motivations for weight loss and understand how to rely on those motivations for self-encouragement. Examine your relationship with stress. Consider whether you’re prepared to invest the time it takes to change your daily habits.  

1. Eat a nutrient-rich diet

Eating a variety of nutrient-dense, calorie-light foods are an essential part of long-term weight management.  A diet rich in protein can keep your body feeling fuller through the day, and boosts your metabolism due to the amount of energy it takes to break down. Avoid processed or refined carbs, and opt for foods with natural fiber and healthy fatty acids that provide your system with energy.

2. Get regular exercise

It’s not rocket science: activity burns calories and increases your metabolism. Long-term weight maintenance after weight loss comes down to burning and consuming an equal number of calories, so regular exercise plays an essential role. If you’re getting the minimum 150 minutes of intermediate aerobic exercise recommended per week, you’re more likely to keep those pounds at bay.

3. Eat breakfast every day

While there’s still no evidence of causation, eating breakfast daily has long been linked to healthy lifestyle choices overall. While skipping breakfast may be harmless, there is reason to believe that routinely giving your body the nutrients it needs to function at the start of the day. As we found in a previous post, eating breakfast can encourage self-discipline and mindful eating habits essential to long-term weight maintenance.

 

4. Set up a support system

We’re social creatures, and our diet and exercise habits are intrinsically intertwined with that drive. Find a friend, family member, or partner with similar healthy habits or goals to help encourage your healthy lifestyle changes.  A support system can provide, accountability, motivation, and mutual growth.

5. Practice self-management

Keep a food diary or use a calorie-tracking app to reinforce your mindful eating habits. Logging your nutrition and caloric intake can help you better understand and conceptualize what you’re actually putting in your body.  Keeping a log encourages routine and consistency, two keys for long-term weight maintenance. Regular self-weigh-ins have also been linked to sustained weight loss, as it provides a progress marker.

6. Reduce your screen time

It’s a big ask these days, but cutting down on your screen time is a useful step in sustaining a healthy weight. Clearing away an extra hour or two to make time for meal prep or exercise can make a massive difference in your healthy routine.

7. Practice good sleep hygiene

Getting a proper night’s sleep is essential for maintaining the energy needed to make healthy choices and exercise. Sleep deprivation can cause hormonal imbalances like increased ghrelin production and reduced leptin, both of which are essential for appetite regulation. 

8. Check your mindset

Long-term success embraces setbacks and focuses on small, realistic change that can be sustained and improved upon over time.  Manage stress through meditation, exercise, or creative pursuits instead of emotional eating. Practice mindful eating habits by listening to your body’s unique internal hunger mechanisms, eating without distractions, and finishing the meal once you’re full.

The key strategies to maintaining healthy weight loss all require consistency, determination, and a long-term mindset. There are no quick fixes to lose weight, nor is there one simple way to keep it off. Living at your healthy weight depends on you living a healthy life.

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