Unfortunately, many people who lose weight eventually gain it back.
In fact, only about 20% of overweight dieters end up losing weight and keeping it off over the long term .
However, don't let that put you off. There are a number of scientifically proven ways to reduce weight, ranging from exercise to stress control .
These 14 strategies might be just what you need to swing the stats in your favor and sustain your weight loss .
Why do people gain weight?
There are a few common reasons people gain back the weight they lose. These reasons are mostly related to unrealistic expectations and feelings of deprivation.
- Restrictive diets: A Extreme calorie restriction can slow your metabolism and alter your appetite-regulating hormones, two factors that contribute to weight regain .
- Bad mindset: When you think of dieting as a quick fix, rather than a long-term solution to improving your health and losing weight, you'll be more likely to give up and gain back the weight you lost.
1. Exercise (often)
Exercise plays an important role in weight maintenance.
It can help you burn extra calories and increase your metabolism, two factors necessary for energy balance .
When you are in energy balance, it means that you burn the same number of calories as you consume. Therefore, your weight is more likely to stay the same.
Several studies have shown that people who get at least 200 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (30 minutes per day) after losing weight are more likely to maintain their weight .
In some cases, even higher levels of physical activity may be required for successful weight maintenance. One review concluded that one hour of exercise per day is optimal for those trying to maintain weight loss .
It's important to note that exercise is most helpful for weight maintenance when combined with other lifestyle changes, including maintaining a healthy diet .
2. Eat plenty of protein
Eating plenty of protein can help you maintain your weight because protein can help reduce appetite and promote satiety . Following a protein-rich nutrition plan can be a great way to maintain a stable weight.
Protein increases levels of certain hormones in the body that induce satiety and are important for weight regulation. Protein has also been shown to reduce levels of hormones that increase hunger .
The effect of protein on your hormones and satiety can automatically reduce the number of calories you consume per day, which is an important factor in maintaining weight .
Additionally, protein requires a significant amount of energy for your body to break down. Therefore, eating it regularly can increase the number of calories you burn during the day .
Based on several studies, it appears that the effects of protein on metabolism and appetite are greatest when approximately 30% of calories are consumed by protein. That's 150 grams of protein on a 2000 calorie diet .
3. Weigh yourself regularly
Monitoring your weight on the scale can be a helpful tool for weight maintenance . This can inform you of your progress and encourage weight control behaviors .
Those who weigh themselves may also eat fewer calories throughout the day, which is helpful for maintaining weight loss .
In one study, people who weighed themselves six days a week ate an average of 300 fewer calories per day than those who monitored their weight less frequently .
How often you weigh yourself is a personal choice. Some find it helpful to weigh themselves daily, while others are better at checking their weight once or twice a week.
4. Be mindful of your carb intake
Weight maintenance may be easier to achieve if you pay attention to the kinds and amounts of carbohydrates you eat.
Eating too many refined carbs, such as white bread, white pasta, and fruit juices, can hurt your weight maintenance goals.
These foods have been stripped of their natural fiber, which is necessary to promote satiety. Diets low in fiber are associated with weight gain and obesity .
Limiting your overall carb intake can also help you maintain your weight loss . Several studies have shown that, in some cases, those who follow a low-carb diet after weight loss are more likely to maintain their weight over the long term .
Additionally, people on a low-carb diet are less likely to eat more calories than they burn, which is necessary for weight maintenance .
5. Practice resistance training
Decreased muscle mass is a common side effect of weight loss .
This can limit your ability to lose weight because losing muscle lowers your metabolism, which means you burn fewer calories throughout the day.
Doing some type of resistance training, like lifting weights, or working out with TRX bands can help prevent this muscle loss and, in turn, preserve or even improve your metabolic rate.
Studies show that those who lift weights after weight loss are more likely to stabilize their weight by maintaining muscle mass .
To reap these benefits, it is recommended that you do strength training at least twice a week . Your training program should work all muscle groups for optimal results .
6. Be prepared for setbacks
Setbacks are inevitable in your weight maintenance. Sometimes you give in to an unhealthy craving or skip a workout.
However, the occasional mistake doesn't mean you should throw your goals out the window. Just carry on and carry on with better choices.
It can also help plan ahead for situations that you think will make healthy eating difficult, such as an upcoming holiday or vacation.
Eat healthy snacks like superfoods .
7. Stick to your plan all week (even on weekends)
A habit that often leads to weight gain is eating healthy on weekdays and "cheating" on weekends.
This mentality often leads people to binge on junk food, which can offset efforts to maintain weight.
If this becomes a regular habit, you may gain more weight than you lost in the first place .
Alternatively, research shows that those who follow a consistent eating pattern throughout the week are more likely to experience long-term weight loss .
One study found that weekly consistency made individuals almost twice as likely to maintain their weight under 2.2 kg over a year, compared to those who allowed more flexibility on weekends .
Of course, a stray every once in a while won't hurt you.
8. Stay hydrated
Water is useful for weight maintenance for several reasons.
For starters, it promotes satiety and can help you control your calorie intake if you drink a glass or two before meals .
In one study, those who drank water before eating a meal had a 13% reduction in caloric intake, compared to participants who drank no water .
Additionally, drinking water has been shown to slightly increase the number of calories you burn throughout the day .
9. Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep dramatically affects weight control.
In fact, sleep deprivation appears to be a major risk factor for weight gain in adults and may interfere with weight maintenance .
This is partly because insufficient sleep leads to higher levels of ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone because it increases appetite .
Additionally, people who are sleep deprived tend to lack leptin, which is a hormone needed to control appetite .
Additionally, those who sleep for short periods are simply fatigued and therefore less motivated to exercise and make healthy food choices .
If you're not getting enough sleep, find a way to adjust your sleeping habits. Sleeping at least seven hours a night is optimal for weight control and overall health .
10. Control stress levels
Managing stress is an important part of controlling your weight.
In fact, high stress levels can contribute to weight regain by increasing levels of cortisol, which is a hormone released in response to stress .
Consistently high cortisol is linked to higher amounts of belly fat, as well as increased appetite and food intake .
Stress is also a common trigger for impulse eating, which is when you eat even when you're not hungry .
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to combat stress, including exercise, yoga, and meditation.
11. Find a support system
Maintaining your weight loss goals on your own can be difficult.
One strategy to overcome this problem is to find a support system that will hold you accountable and eventually involve you in your healthy lifestyle.
A few studies have shown that having a friend to pursue your goals can be helpful for weight control, especially if that person is a partner or spouse with similar healthy habits .
One such study looked at the health behaviors of over 3,000 couples and found that when one person adopted a healthy habit, such as exercise, the other was more likely to follow suit .
12. Track your food intake
Those who follow a nutrition plan , record their food intake in a journal, an online food tracker or an app are more likely to maintain their weight loss .
Food trackers are useful because they improve your awareness of how much you are actually eating, as they often provide specific information about the amount of calories and nutrients you are consuming.
13. Eat lots of vegetables
Several studies link a high vegetable intake to better weight control .
For starters, vegetables are low in calories. You can eat large portions without gaining weight, while consuming an impressive amount of nutrients .
In addition, vegetables are rich in fiber, which increases feelings of fullness and can automatically reduce the number of calories you eat during the day .
For these weight control benefits, try consuming a serving or two of vegetables with each meal.
14. Be consistent
Consistency is the key to maintaining weight .
Instead of the occasional diet that ends in a return to old habits, it's best to stick with your healthy diet rebalancing and lifestyle for good.
Although adopting a new lifestyle may seem overwhelming at first, making healthy choices will become second nature when you get used to it.
Your healthier lifestyle will be effortless, so you'll be able to maintain your weight much easier.
Diets can be restrictive and unrealistic, often leading to weight regain.
However, there are many simple changes you can make to your habits that are easy to stick to and will help you maintain your weight loss over the long term .
Along the way, you will realize that controlling your weight involves more than what you eat. Exercise , sleep and mental health also play a role.
Weight maintenance may be effortless if you simply adopt a new lifestyle, rather than continuing and stopping dieting .