Did you know that over 90% of the individuals that attempt to lose weight end up putting the weight back on?! Not to burst your bubble for those trying to uphold their New Year resolutions, but it's a sobering fact!
How many times have you caught yourself hoping that the new fad diet would be the one to break the curse of the dreaded pounds creeping back on month after month? Truth be told, there's so many other factors that go into weight loss than just "eating less junk."
We have all heard the phrase, "you have to stop dieting and make a lifestyle change." But have you ever truly stopped to think about what all that entails? Think about all the different factors that contribute to gaining weight: stress, change in diet, social life, medications, big life events, poor heath, injury, lack of exercise, poor sleep...the list is ENDLESS. So why would only changing the way that you eat be the only key to success? It's not!
To be one of the individuals in the small percentage, that have lost the weight and successfully kept it off, you should examine multiple areas in your life and consider all the factors that contributed to your weight gain to begin with. It's understandable that this can sound like an extensive and exhausting project, but sometimes the best things in life require the most effort.
For those looking to lose weight or maintain their current weight loss, consider the following to help keep the weight off once and for all:
Stabilize Your Eating Habits
So many diets require you to drop your caloric intake, but a big mistake that a lot individuals make is not reversing this process gradually. What so many of us do is undereat and get more and more frustrated that the scale isn't moving in the direction that we want because our body is trying to compensate for the lack of food it's receiving. As a result, the body stores more body weight because rations are becoming less and less and its trying to protect you from starvation. To figure out how many calories you should be eating, I strongly recommend having a body analysis done and uncovering your true BMR. Your BMR is what your body burns at rest without any added activity or exercise. From your BMR you can determine the very least your body requires as far as calories. With this calculation, you should continue to eat whole foods, often, and in good varieties to ensure your body is getting all it requires. This way you won't need to compensate for missing nutrition or calories in your diet. Most importantly, never stop planning ahead. Staying on top of your meal plan for days in advance takes the guesswork out of maintenance and ensures you're always step up for success.
Limit Your Alcohol and Sugar Intake
Alcohol and sugar are packed with unnessacary calories that get stored in fat cells. Did you know that when you lose weight you don't lose fat cells? That's correct, the fat cells just decrease in size, making it that much easier to put the weight back on if you return to old habits. When you eat foods containing chemicals and unnatural amounts of sugar, the body doesn't know how to breakdown and digest these items, so it stores these unprocessed unknowns in your fat cells to be retrieved during times of desperate caloric drought.
The amount of sugar hidden in so many processed food these days is mind-blowing. The more sugar you take in, the more your body craves it! (Not to mention the unhealthy side-effects such as mood swings, poor sleep, worse food choices, fatigue.....wait a minute, weren't those list earlier as factors for weight gain??)
Change Your Environment
This is a big one, and too often is the one missed. Most of the time weight gain is correlated with an emotional stressor that we "physically" create a barrier of protection against. Identifying these triggers and removing that toxicity out of your life is a huge part in being successful in keeping the weight off.
Keep It Interesting
Just as you update your wardrobe or appearance, the same should be applied to your daily routine. Take the time to refresh your lifestyle. If you have developed a solid routine with your meal prepping, be sure to incorporate different foods and explore new recipes. Your body will only benefit from incorporating different colorful foods to help capture missing vitamins and minerals in your diet. The same should be applied to your exercise routine. The body can become conditioned to doing the same routine over and over again. To ensure your body is getting the full benefits of your workouts, it's important to swap out different forms of exercise and explore different options to (again) keep things interesting.
Monitor Yourself & Accountability
Just as you held yourself accountable to get to this point, keeping a system in place and monitoring yourself daily is another great tool to keeping the weight off. Some people stay in the habit of weighing themselves daily or tracking their meals on a fitness app or food journal. Joining a community is another great way as well. Surrounding yourself with individuals striving for similar goals can be a huge motivator and a way to make sure you are always being held accountable to "showing up." Being a part in a fitness group or community opens the door to having multiple opportunities to having conversations about "staying healthy" and keeping you in the loop of new techniques and local events. Being an active member in a community also gives you a feeling of being a part of something bigger than yourself, encouraging you to "uphold your part."
Always Stay Active
Bad habits breed worse habits. If you sit around all day you will feel more tired and fatigued than someone who is more active. This feeling will encourage the need to reach for foods high in simple carbs (or worse, sugary foods). We crave these foods more when we are inactive as a substitute for a quick energy boost, but this creates a cycle of spikes in blood sugar. After consuming foods of these sort, we feel energized for a short period of time, but then what happens? We crash! Then you guessed it - you want more!
Aid your body in creating its own energy and eliminate the need to substitute with poor choices. Whenever the opportunity presents itself to add movement to your day, take it. Park further away, take the stairs instead of the elevator, incorporate a daily walk. You don't need to "exercise" every single day to be considered "active,"but making an added effort every day to be healthier add up to what it's all about.
These are only a few factors to consider when analyzing your own life for your keys for success to your weight loss. Take a moment to consider all the factors that contributed to your weight gain and what are the key factors in your life that could hinder your success. Through best practices and making an effort every day to uphold your "healthy lifestyle" you will only increase your chance of being one of the individuals in the small percentile who can say, "Yes, I lost the weight and I kept it off!"