Losing weight is a huge accomplishment. For many permanent and long lasting weight loss is eluding. Many women spend a large amount of effort trying to lose weight only to have all of that hard work vanish over the next year. What happened? Why is it that women seem to yo-yo diet so frequently? Why is that we cannot as society maintain a healthy weight, as obesity rates continue to skyrocket out of control.
There are key strategies that you can incorporate to keep take your weight off and keep it off for good. Let's take a look.
Don’t Turn Back
Health.com writes a great article about how many women simply stop checking in with the scale once they have reached their goal weight. When you stop checking in on your weight, you make it really easy to allow those extra pounds to creep back on. The next thing you know you are back up to your beginning weight or your clothes no longer fit.
So how do you stop this?
Check in on your weight. You should make a plan to weigh in every week or two once you have met your goal weight. Checking your weight is a good way to make sure you are being honest with yourself about your new eating habits and exercise routine. If you start to see the scale creep back up, it may be time to check in with your food log.
When losing weight most women understand the basics: eat less and move more. Unfortunately, when the goal weight is met, or the trousers fit, or the dream dress zips; the activity stops. Many women simply stop what they were doing to lose the weight in the first place.
The Huffington Post reported that the most successful maintainers of weight loss also maintained an average of 200 minutes of activity every week. Just because you have lost your weight, doesn’t mean you can go back to what you were doing before. Remember the bad habits that made you gain weight once, will make you gain weight again.
There are many types of food journals out there. Some women keep emotional inventory journals to help combat emotional eating. Others keep a simple log of the foods they ate that day. Still, there are the refined and exact to-the-gram food logs for those that need more control.
Whatever type of food log you kept to lose weight Web M.D. recommends you continue doing it after your weight is gone. If you want your weight to stay off, you have to stay in tune with what you eat and drink. The best way to do this is to maintain your food journaling habits that helped you learn what you were eating in the first place.
Schedule Your Workouts
One great piece of advice for those who are transitioning from the weight loss to the weight maintenance phase of life is to schedule your workouts. This is going to be one of the best ways to make sure that you are getting your recommended 200 minutes of activity to help you maintain your weight loss that you have already achieved.
If you are just starting out on your weight loss journey, then this piece of advice should go double for you. Scheduling your workouts (especially when you are new to working out) gives you a subconscious boost in their importance. If it’s on the calendar, it’s going to get done.
Remember your Portion Sizes
The British Heart Foundation wants you to remember your portion sizes. This goes for weight maintenance and weight reduction. A portion of fish, cheese, or bread doesn’t change depending on your weight. Remembering what these portions look like will help you remember to eat the right amount of food.
Just because you have hit a weight loss goal does not give you the license to overindulge or to forget everything you learned that helped you lose weight. Weight maintenance is a lot like weight loss, the only difference is you get to eat a tad bit more. All your healthy habits are still in place, though, keeping you at your healthy body weight.
Most of us dread the idea of working out. We think of expensive but smelly gyms, confusing weights machines from the space age, sweating all the time, and feeling embarrassed because we feel old and out of shape compared to all the 20-somethings with perfect bodies we see everywhere all pumping iron.
They might have perfect bodies, but they got them by working out. Note the word working. If you put in the work, you too can get a better body. But it does not have to be all work and no play. Strength training can be fun once you know how to get started.
First, you don’t have to go to a gym. You can work out with light weights and resistance bands anywhere in your own home, even in front of the TV watching your favourite show. You don’t need expensive memberships or equipment, just a commitment to devote about 10 to 30 minutes per session to your better body. Head to the kitchen to find some heavy cans or bottles you can grip easily and you will have enough to get started. Once you have mastered several exercises to tone and trim your body, then you can consider investing in some inexpensive weights and/or resistance bands.
In terms of weights, dumbbells come in all shapes and sizes, but if you have not worked out for a while, begin with light weights and gradually increase your load. You can get a tower with several different pairs of weights. Or you can get a fun set of Aquabells, which you fill up with water in order to achieve the weight you want to lift. They come with 4 sets of ‘wells’ per side which will each fill up to 4 pounds of water, for a total of 16 pounds each side. They will therefore ‘grow’ with you as you progress from 2 pounds to 4 and so on upwards.
Then there are wrists and ankle weights. Wrist weights are useful for a ‘hands-free’ workout, for example, as you do the housework or go for a walk and swing your arms to add intensity to the exercise, as well as for many other lifting moves you would usually do with dumbbells.
Ankle weights serve a similar purpose, giving your legs more of a workout so they become firmer faster. You can do ordinary weight lifting exercises with them, or add them to your yoga or tai chi moves, for example, along with wrist weights, to build strength even more rapidly.
Resistance bands come in a range of attractive colours and weight loads. A good set of resistance bands will give you a range of weights, and will also allow you to combine bands to increase your loads. They should also come with a door attachment and an ankle strap so you can do a range of exercise which will help you target your trouble spots or areas you wish to improve. They are a bit like using the space age weight machines to give you a full body workout, but without all the heaving and clanking.
The best exercise routine is one you will stick to. Use light weights and resistance bands to maintain interest and have fun, and see what a difference your new strength training routines can make to your health and appearance.