Many people who have lost weight want to know how to maintain weight after dieting. No one wants to go back to their old self after working so hard to lose that weight, but you don't want to feel like you're on a diet for the rest of your life, either.
Facts About Maintainers
The National Weight Control Registry is a collection of people who have lost at least 30 pounds and maintained that weight loss for at least a year. The group is regularly studied to help teach other people how to lose weight as well as how to maintain weight after dieting.
There are many interesting facts about the group that can help others lose or maintain weight loss:
- 45 percent of participants lost weight on their own, while 55 percent used some kind of program
- 98 percent modified their food intake to lose weight
- 94 percent increased physical activity, most commonly by walking
- 78 percent eat breakfast everyday
- 75 percent weigh themselves at least once a week
- 90 percent exercise an average of an hour a day
How to Maintain Weight After Dieting
Just that information alone gives good advice on how to maintain a healthy weight after dieting.
Watch What You Eat
While you may not have to be as strict as you were when you were actively trying to lose weight, most people who are successful at weight loss for the long term continue to eat a lower fat and lower calorie diet.
Most long-time losers eat breakfast, because they know that starvation is not the way to lose weight. The body needs energy to get moving in the morning, and that's just what breakfast provides.
Just because you're still paying attention to what you eat doesn't mean you can't indulge. You've worked hard to lose the weight and you should be able to reward yourself now and then. Just remember your body needs fewer calories now than it used to, so try to keep portion sizes small on high-calorie treats.
Perhaps the biggest key to maintaining a healthy weight after dieting is to keep exercising, or start exercising more regularly if you weren't doing so while you were losing the weight.
That statistic from the Weight Control Registry is worth mentioning again: 90 percent of those who lost weight and kept it off long-term exercise and the average amount they work out is an hour a day.
It's also important to note that walking is the most popular exercise in this group. It's not like you have to get an hour of strenuous activity everyday for the rest of your life to keep the weight off. However,you should try to move a little everyday, and try to exercise more on those days when you've indulged.
Get the Right Mental State
A recent study from the Weight Control Registry found that people who were more methodical and like structure and routines were the most likely to lose big and keep it off. That makes sense, because a diet is nothing more than a set of routines and structures that you have to follow. If you can adapt to that structure, you'll find losing weight that much easier.
Experts say even if you're not naturally inclined to be a person who likes routines, you can train yourself to be a little more methodical by giving yourself tasks. For example, organizing your CD collection or regularly balancing your checkbook.
You could also practice being more punctual and planning out things such as your meals or what you're going to do for exercise each day. Pump up your step-by-step thinking ability by following a recipe to the letter or reading and following the instructions for a new piece of software or an electronic device.
You can't change your brain overnight into a more methodical machine. However, thinking about dieting and maintaining weight loss as a step-by-step plan to get you where you want to be can make a big difference in your attitude-and your success.