The big question after a diet is, "How to maintain weight loss?" After all, you're going to a lot of effort to lose weight and you're thinking lots about how to get thin - you don't want to just put the fat back on!!
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And the sad fact is that most people who lose a lot of weight put it right back on.
So, here are 7 steps to keep the weight off. And the most important one is the first one.
Have a plan for after your diet because, let's face it, most of your life will be post diet. So you want a plan for how to maintain weight loss - if that's what you want.
But... Are you dieting for a photo shoot, or to look good in a few weeks when you go to the beach or a high school reunion? Or are you dieting to go permanently from being obese to a normal weight? Or do you want to go from normal to 'ripped'?
Know how lean you want to keep your body long-term. You can't keep your body composition static, but you can keep your fat low for the rest of your life.
So, have an eating and exercise plan for what to do after your diet right from the get-go. That will really help you maintain your weight loss.
I know it's much easier for me to eat more that I should. There are many delicious foods in the world, and without a battle plan it's easy to indulge in them to excess. It's much harder to have discipline and a (flexible) plan for eating for the rest of your life - though much more worth it.
If you're counting calories, count your calories for 2 - 3 weeks of eating normally and maintaining your weight after your 'diet' ends. It will adjust you to regular levels of eating again, within the context of the diet plan you've been following.
If you're doing Atkins, Ornish, or some other plan that doesn't restrict your eating as much, keep eating according to that plan. It's that simple.
The important thing is to not approach the end of your diet like a prisoner about to get sprung from jail. With that mindset, when you do get loose, you'll eat everything in sight - and waste all that time you spent dieting.
Lifestyle changes are just as important as the more obvious rules of some diets. Counting calories worked well for me because I'm a very anal retentive and neurotic person ;-)
The rules I followed as part of my diet weren't as flexible as I'd like them to be. And I'd rather not count calories for the rest of my life for how to maintain weight loss.
So, here are the lifestyle changes I found to be the most effective for how to maintain weight loss. They are…
These are some good guidelines to add to your life. They are flexible enough that you can follow them virtually wherever you're eating, and they will help you stay slim.
Whatever your current diet, I'd urge you to adopt some (or all) of these guidelines. If you're looking for how to stay thin, these guys will work wonders for you ;-)
One of the keys for how to maintain weight loss is to diet slowly! This makes tons of sense, but is difficult to do.
You didn't put on your fat in 1, 2, or even 7 weeks. You've been adding a little to it for days and days, months and months, and (in many cases) years and years.
You can diet quickly and lose 1, 2, or even 4 - 5 pounds a week. I've been able to do 2 pounds a week without too much strain.
But that's not a suitable way to lose weight. Your body has very little time to adjust to the change - which makes cravings worse.
I love eating tasty food. And if I've been starving myself slightly for weeks, my body will want to bulk up since, well - it's been starving!
Without going too much into hormones and science, the levels of the hormone leptin control your appetite. This is the hormone that makes you want to eat vast amounts of food after a diet, even though you know it's way too much.
By dieting slowly (0.5 - 1 lb. a week), and including refeeds, you can lower your amount of body fat in a safe and stable manner - to very low levels. This will make all the tricks and techniques for how to maintain weight loss after your diet much easier.
Keeping track of your weight on a daily or weekly basis is a great way to make sure your weight stabilizes at your goal weight after a diet. And a great way to prevent fat from creeping back on.
Don't obsess over your weight, just keep an eye on it. And know that your weight can vary by a pound or two depending on the time of day, how hydrated you are, whether you just ate a big meal, whether you just took a piss, etc.
Keep track of your weight over time and, if your weight starts to creep up by 4 - 5 pounds (without you adding any muscle, getting pregnant, or something else going on)… leap into action!
It's much easier to drop a few pounds and keep yourself in the safe zone, near your ideal weight, by countering any fat gain early. Don't wait till you notice that you're 20 pounds heavier than you want to be - that's not how to maintain weight loss.
Also, if possible, track your body composition. Measuring your body fat percentage vs. lean body mass is much better than tracking just your body weight. Even though tracking your body composition can be a pain in the ass.
This goes back to the lifestyle changes I talked about earlier. While on the diet, think about other methods for how to maintain weight loss after your diet.
I've listed the methods that work best for me to keep weight off, but you're an adult. Come up with some of your own ideas, which will address your situation and life. If they work for you, PLEASE let me know - I love hearing new ideas and success stories!
So, come up with your own customized ideas and tricks for how to maintain weight loss.
Yes, SHOW OFF!! You lost a ton of weight, so show off your results!
If you are constantly showing off the results of your diet with smaller clothes, being in your swimsuit more, doing more outdoor activities, etc., then you will have that much more incentive to stay committed to your methods for how to maintain weight loss. And on a harsher note, if you start binging it will be immediately obvious.
Showing off is also a great way to get compliments, praise, and adoration. Which, while not essential, are certainly fun!
Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!
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