Losing weight can feel like an endless battle. Many people try and then try again as they find success is only temporary. It can be frustrating and disheartening. It can also lead to a lot of people giving up. They resign to a life of obesity and ill health because they just can’t find the answers. A long-term solution to weight loss requires long-term action.
One of the main causes of rapid weight gain after rapid weight loss is the choice of diet program in the first place. Losing weight quickly can make us feel elated and delighted with the results. But then the program ends. We fall back into those old bad habits. And the body rebels. The weight piles back on and we may even end up a few pounds heavier than when we started.
There are several new diet and exercise plans that have three or more stages. The first stage is often considered the hardest. This is when calories are cut dramatically and intense exercise is required daily. None of your favorite treats are allowed. Instead, wholesome and detoxifying substitutes are provided to clear your body out. The ingredients stimulate your metabolism into action and aim to reduce hunger.
The second stage will gradually introduce a more regular diet of meals and healthy snacks. The calories will still be low. The point of this stage is to encourage healthier eating habits while still cutting calories to enhance weight loss. Exercise is still intense. The third stage allows more freedom with the diet. Exercise should be reduced to maintainable levels. This stage is about finding the lifestyle that can be maintained for life. Yet, it is this ‘easier’ stage that so many people seem to fail.
Other fields of thought suggest you should start with the lifestyle changes. This could be better than pushing yourself through a gruelling rapid weight loss. Long term, or slow time weight loss is thought to have similar results over the course of several months. These programs encourage you to weave more activity into your daily life. Walking to work and a couple of exercise classes a week could make an enormous difference.
When it comes to diet, changes often need to be made. One of the biggest mistakes we make is with portion sizes. We need far less to sustain us than we usually serve. Successful dieters have tried many ways to reduce their calorie intake. You can use your fist to measure a portion out. Or you can check the label on the packaging to see what weight is deemed to be right for a regular portion.
Snacks are hard to avoid. Most of us feel hungry between meals. The choice of snacks is tricky to get right. Generally speaking, anything in a packet that has been processed is a bad choice. It may fill the gap, but you are often taking on more calories, sugar and fat than the body needs. Instead, a handful of nuts and seeds could be a better choice. Fruits like berries often leave us hungry. The natural sugar burns off quickly and there isn’t enough fiber to keep us going.
Cutting carbs is another mistake some dieters make. Healthy carbohydrates like whole grains and nuts contain other nutritional benefits. The B vitamins are essential for a healthy body and mind. There is often a healthy type of glucose in grains too that help the brain. We need some carbohydrates in our diet for starch and energy. Meats contain some calories, but not quite all the benefits of carbs. Carbs also help us feel fuller for longer, providing they are from healthy sources.
Many diet programs simply cannot be sustained. This is due to the lack of a rounded nutritional base. Supplements may be needed to ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you may need. Fortunately, there are some supplements that have active weight loss effects. While they cannot replace a healthy diet, sometimes a little bit more is needed when some foods are not readily available. It is not considered a factor in weight gain to take supplements.
Find a healthy approach to eating that maintains your weight. You may then be able to sustain an active lifestyle without a need to increase your food intake. The trouble with rapid weight loss programs is that you can feel hungry after all the extra exercise you take. An active lifestyle is a better approach as it is less impactful than some of the exercises required with these programs. Walking, stretching, and even housework can increase your activity level.
Sitting for long periods doesn’t burn off enough calories to facilitate weight loss. Try to get up from your desk every hour and walk around for a few minutes. A visit to the bathroom or water cooler could be a good excuse. Why not try a standing work station? Our bodies are better built for standing and walking than sitting. This can increase your circulation and make you feel more energetic too. Best of all, you won’t be bored and reaching for snacks for something to do.
Getting back into bad habits after working so hard to lose those first few pounds can be so disappointing. It can happen even when you have the very best of intentions. To avoid further weight gain, just get your lifestyle back in check. Push yourself to meet those activity goals and step counts. You could even use a fitness watch to help you monitor your activity.
It is those times when you’ve had a long day and you’re tired that you put off the exercise and healthy meal. But pushing yourself just that little bit harder to stay on track can increase your energy levels. This will help you avoid feeling the lethargy that has us reaching for extra snacks or the takeaway menu. Of course, there are times when a treat is a worthy celebration. Try to counter the extra intake with an extra walk around the block or other fun activity.
Having fun with what you do helps motivate you to do it more often. Some exercise plans contain activities that we really loathe. But there will always be plenty of alternative activities that you might love to do. You can find comprehensive lists of physical activities online that also detail the calories you could burn by doing them. Of course, when it’s fun to do, you don’t mind how many calories you’re burning!
Tiredness and a lack of motivation can also occur when you haven’t slept very well. Stress hormones like Cortisol can quickly build up. This in itself can cause further weight gain. Sleep is also good for managing fluid retention. A good night of sleep helps you feel slimmer and more energetic as well as looking fitter and healthier. Try to adopt good sleep hygiene to help you fall asleep promptly and stay asleep all night.
When your family and friends are on board with what you’re trying to achieve, they can be a source of much support and motivation. Use their encouragement, and invite them to exercise with you. A brisk walk around the block every evening is a great opportunity to chat and catch up with the day. It could be just the quality time you’ve been looking for.
Weight gain happens from time to time. Accept there will be weeks when the scales go up instead of down. Until you have found that long-term healthy lifestyle, fluctuations could be common. But there will come a time when you reach that ideal weight and maintain it. Head for the long term future for success.