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So you lost the weight. Congratulations!
Unfortunately losing the weight is only half the battle. Keeping it off can be just as hard. Your clothes fit again and you become a little too confident in your new found freedom and old habits can creep in. Before you know it a few too many "cheat meals" have had you gain 10kg and you are back to needing to pound the pavement and undertake strict calorie counting to get things back on track.
I am well educated on all things weight loss having lost almost 30kg-twice after each of my babies and then maintaining it ( since second child now 10 months)
Here I have some no nonsense tried and true tricks to help you maintain the weight as a lifestyle instead of feeling like you are going to be on a diet forever.
1.If you don't buy junk food and put it in your pantry, you won't eat it. Simple right? When you have those nights when you are craving a snack, maybe something salty like chips or a chocolate fix, you are less likely to indulge in it if you have to make a special trip to the shops to get it. Also if its not there staring you in the face each time you open the cupboard you won't constantly be reminded of its naughty deliciousness.
2. Never underestimate incidental exercise
Something is always better than nothing. If you don't feel like a full on workout make a point of doing something that is still at least moderately active. Whether it's cleaning the house, playing soccer with the kids or taking the stairs instead of the lift, they all burn calories. One way or the other, just keep moving.
3. Stop punishing yourself for a blow out
It's important to stop and acknowledge that sometimes you have days where you use food as reward, a special occasion or even as medicine or a mood booster. It's ok to have an off day as long as you don't self sabotage and continue your off day in to a off week or month. If you don't eat well for a day or two, acknowledge it, suck it up and move on with gusto into completing the week as a health nut!
4. Quit weighing yourself Unless you have been told you need to be a particular weight ( by your doctor) for health reasons, making a very specific KG goal is not a great way to measure your health. You should be measuring your weight loss by specific cm measurements and how your clothes are fitting and you are feeling. All this stuff about this person losing x amount of kilos in so many weeks is pretty unrealistic for the average person. A lot of "weight" loss is water not fat. Muscle also weighs more than fat so you can still carry a lot of fat without weighing much which doesn't always equal healthy. Numbers can be a guide but don't let them rule you.
5. Learn how to cook properly
If your options of healthy tasty food is limited you run a higher risk total food boredom and of slipping into habits of convenience processed or fast food. Learn how to make meals beyond the chicken salad or meat and three veg. There are lots of "clean eating" recipes out there so get cooking.
6. Surround yourself with the right support
There's nothing like sabotage when you are trying to do the right thing for your health and have other's around you who really couldn't care less about their own health. Don't stoop to their level, don't preach to them. Just get on with kicking your own health goals and hopefully one day when they are ready they will follow your rocking example. If not, well at least you aren't right there lacking energy and a strong healthy heart with them. If you have the oppotunity surround yourself with people on the same wavelength as you. Facebook groups, health and fitness apps, weight loss meetings, a fitness buddy ( or a dog!) or personal trainer. Checking in with others increases your chance of staying on track.
7. Dedicate an afternoon for shopping and meal preparation This is so important. Have meals ready to go will prevent any last minute take aways or unhealthy snacks. Write your shopping list with a weekly/ fortnightly meal plan and cook in bulk. Take advantage of your slow cooker and freeze your meals. Bake up some snacks for on the run or bag up some fruit and nuts.
8. Seize the day For many people getting the workout done first thing in the morning makes it much easier to continue as a habit. It's not something you have to think about all day and drag yourself to the gym with your overfried brain. Working out in the morning also gets your blood pumping and releases endorphins setting you up for a good mood for the day.
9.Always have your water bottle handy Often we think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty. When we finally recognise thirst we are already highly dehydrated. Keeping a water bottle close to sip on throughout the day will help keep you hydrated and feel fuller so you generally consume less at meal times.
10. Go to bed
Half the time when we reach for food it's because we are tired. Late night snacks attacks are your body saying "either let me wind down and sleep or give me more calories to stay up." Listen to your body. The dishes and emails will be there tomorrow. A good night sleep might be just what you need to get that stuff done properly tomorrow without fueling it with more food.
11. Find a stress reliever and reduce stimulants When we are stressed our body builds up cortisol. High cortisol levels can make it more difficult to lose and maintain weight. Finding ways to unwind such as yoga, reading, as well as reducing your intake of coffee assists in lowering those levels.
12. Brainstorm ways you can reward yourself without food.
Society has driven it in to us that we should use food as a reward. We tell our kids that if they eat their vegetables they can have ice cream and going out to dinner or coffee is a way of socialising. Clever advertising companies bombard us with images of how fun our lives would be if we were eating or drinking their products (think coca cola) making it hard not to think about food constantly. Instead try to change your thought process to rewarding yourself with other fun stuff. A holiday, clothes , an adrenaline filled experience or socialise in an active way such as paddle boarding or horse riding.
14. Don't go nuts on the fruit Like everything else, fruit is good in moderation but it does contain sugar. Not necessarily bad sugar but it's important not to eat it like candy.
15. Eat fat
Get some of the good fat into you every day. Don't be scared of avocado, nuts or olive oil. It has great benefits for hair skin and nails and helps lower cholesterol. Stop thinking it's evil and going to make you fat, in small amounts it will only do you good. Throw some nuts into a stirfry or have as a snack or put some olive oil or avo in your salad or sandwich.