Lost weight? Tips for keeping it off for good

It takes effort and willpower to lose weight and the last thing you want is to have it all back within a short time. Unfortunately, this often happens. If you want to keep those lost pounds off, try these five tried and tested tips.

Losing weight is not always easy and when you get to the weight you desire, it may be tempting to take a vacation from healthy eating. Many dieters start slipping back into their old behaviours soon after dropping the excess weight.

But there are ways to stay on track without depriving yourself. By making a few minor changes to your regular routine, you can hang on to those hard-earned losses for good. Follow these tips to win the weight battle for good.

Weigh in regularly Hopping on the scale consistently provides positive reinforcement for your healthy habits. It gives you an early warning when weight starts creeping back. It can also help you catch small gains that will boost your willpower to stay on track. If possible, check your weight once a day using a bathroom scale.

Ensure you do it at the same time each day, preferably first thing in the morning while still fasting and without clothes on. If you notice the scale rising, say by about one kilogramme (an amount that could simply be due to water retention or a big meal), consider that a red flag to tweak your diet and exercise habits.

Eat more protein
Studies show that people who get the highest levels of protein in their diet (around 110 grams daily, or 26 per cent of their daily calorie intake) maintain their weight loss after dieting for more than a year. Higher amounts of protein may prompt the release of hormones that help you feel full.

Rather than getting additional energy from carbohydrates or fat-laden foods, add protein to most meals and snacks. Sprinkle beans on your salad, switch to protein-rich Greek style yoghurt from the regular varieties, have a boiled egg for breakfast or lean chicken or turkey breast with skin removed for lunch.

Strive for five fruit and veggie servings Ensure to get five servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Packing your plate with greens as well as oranges, reds, and blues of fruits and vegetables not only helps protect you from a variety of diseases, but also keeps extra pounds from sneaking back on.

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US found that women who consumed the highest number of fruit and vegetable servings (at least five portions per day, not including potatoes) were 60 per cent more likely to ward off weight regain than those who got fewer servings.

Experts say loading up on fresh produce, which generally is high in fibre and water content, means you have less room for other higher calorie foods.

Learn to love exercise When frequent fruit and vegetable eaters combine their
habit with moderate to vigorous exercise (getting at least 30 minutes of activity on most days of the week) they are more than twice as likely to keep the weight off than those who work out less. Regular workouts can help you maintain lean muscle mass, which means you will burn energy, even when at rest. Plus, exercise gives you a bank of extra calories to play with, allowing you to enjoy an occasional treat such as a slice of cake or a bar of chocolate without weight gain.

Eat out less often With restaurant portion sizes being often quite large and some dishes packing more than 1,000 calories, it’s little surprise that restaurant food can sabotage your weight-loss success.

You can minimise the dietary damage by making healthy selections when eating out and keeping off those fast food restaurants, which don’t often serve healthy meals. But preparing your own meal can be a far more effective way to ensure you are eating foods that are low in fat and calories.

Because it’s pretty unrealistic to expect that you will never sit down at a restaurant again once you have shed off excess weight, it is recommended that you order an appetiser as your main meal or split your entrée with your partner or ask if you can order a
half portion.

When you use these strategies, you are more likely to stay at your newer, slimmer size and enjoy better health for a long time.

Published in February 2017