Weight maintenance takes work. This is true whether you are hoping to maintain a recent weight loss or to ensure your weight stays on track as you age.
Calories In vs. Calories Out
Maintaining your weight is more complicated than maintaining the ratio of calories eaten vs. calories burned. Why? Because there are so many variables that affect this ratio, such as metabolic efficiency (is your body burning the right types of energy appropriately) timing of meals, and type of exercise (anaerobic vs. aerobic). Be sure to take into account your energy needs (for daily living plus exercise), nutritional needs, and exercise regimen. These are different for every person and vary according to age, sex, weight, co-morbidities, and fitness level.
Loss vs. Maintenance
Be flexible in your approach to weight maintenance. What works to lose weight does not always work for maintenance. If you’ve lost weight through calorie restriction and/or by eliminating groups of foods, weight maintenance will likely require different strategies. For example, you may find that eliminating fried foods and refined carbohydrates produced good results and were achievable strategies during the weight loss stage. However, not many people can maintain these restrictions day in and day out, for the rest of their lives! Restrictive diet strategies like this are vulnerable to weight re-gain.
Tips for Keeping Weight Stable
Here are a few promising strategies for maintaining weight. Try a few and see how they work for you.
· Exercise regularly. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to join a gym. Do something you like such as hiking, walking, or riding bikes. Everyone is different so it’s important to speak with your physician before starting an exercise regimen. A loose goal is to focus on physical activity for one hour each day.
· Sleep. Make your goal eight hours of sleep each night. Research shows that less than eight hours has a negative effect on our hormones, driving us to overeat and store energy as fat.
· Hydrate. Our bodies are surprisingly poor at sending thirst signals. By the time we actually feel thirsty; we have already been dehydrated for 8 to 10 hours. Dehydration saps your energy and can even cause false hunger cues and salt cravings.
· Make room for produce. Have a goal of eating at least 5 total servings of a combination of fruits and vegetables each day. Both provide great sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help regulate metabolism.
· Keep a food diary. If the scale shows a weight gain, try keeping a food diary for a few days. It may help you pinpoint the problem. If you’re a person who loves technology, consider using a smart phone app to help you track daily food intake and physical activity. A Northwestern Medicine study found that using a mobile app combined with nutrition and exercise classes helped people lose and keep off an average of 15 pounds. http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2012/12/mobile-app-boosts-weight-loss.html
A dietician is a great resource when you are drafting a weight maintenance plan that will work for you. Contact KindredNutrition today. We are happy to help you create an eating plan that keepsweight stable while providing lots of energy and appropriate nutrition.