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Going on a weight loss diet is sometimes easy. You know what you have to do or worked it out on the way, you have the plan and you just follow it for an ‘x’ amount of time. If you are really determined you reach your goals and succeed. Once the ‘diet’ is finished you breathe a sigh of relief thinking now I can just go back to normal.
However, this is the point that needs most work and it is often the hardest part of weight loss. If not careful you will be back to where you started and the weight will be back on. So what are you meant to do after a weight loss diet and how can you keep that weight off?
Plan in advance
Thinking about the post-diet time before you even start a diet may sound too much but it is actually very helpful. Where can you start planning? Well most of the commercial weight loss diet plans tend to offer post-diet advice and maintenance. You can also evaluate how good a weight loss plan is based on what it offers for afters.
If you are following a weight loss plan which is easy and you are happy are with it you are likely to follow the post-diet advice as easy. Always think, does it give you realistic, healthy and balanced options post dieting?
Mixing and matching from other diets can also help. It may be that your weight loss plan is good but the post diet maintenance plan is better on another ‘diet’. Use it. Or you may be following your own DIY weight loss and you are looking for ways to make a transition to maintenance and you like what an ‘x’ diet is saying.
So you lost the weight, you are not on a weight loss diet anymore and you can go back to eating whatever you want. Yes and No. The ‘see food diet’ (eat everything I see) is probably the kind of diet which got the weight on. Those little practices which helped you lose the weight are the same who will help you keep it off. This however, does not mean that you have to ‘diet’ for the rest of your life.
Did you eat more vegetables during your weight loss, or replaced the frying pan with oven cooking and the margarine with oil? Why not make these little things into habits which you can carry over to your everyday life. Don’t aim to change everything and pick the ones you can comfortable with and are already enjoying. This could be walking the kids to school every day, or having a protein breakfast; keep in mind that all the little things add up to something bigger. See also: Top 10 Best weight loss foods
Set a weight limit
Nobody’s weight stays stable for ever. Our weight will fluctuate through the day let a long through the months. Set a weight limit which will be your cut off point which you will take some action. It is always easier to lose a couple of extra pounds now and then and most of the time all you will need to do is watch what you eat for a couple of weeks rather than going on a full on diet. It will also help you keep in control of your weight and not get out of control.
If you find you are putting on weight try keeping a diary for a couple of days. This way you will find the little things which are responsible and you can concentrate on working on those things. For example, it could be that you are attacking the biscuit tin more often, or had a few extra takeaways.
Have some setting stone rules about your eating and lifestyle. Keeping to a healthy and balanced diet and lifestyle is not always easy as life itself goes up and down. These rules should reflect your lifestyle and how you like to eat. Rules can be as simple or as complicated as you like them. For example you could say that as a rule you will not have more than one takeaway a week, no more than 2 biscuits a day, or that you will have one salad/vegetable portion with at least one meal a day. For more determined ones it may be that you will exercise 4 days a week or will only eat carbs in the weekends.
Make a smooth transition from ‘diet’ to everyday
If you have been following a reduced calorie diet for months to stop all of a sudden and start eating more may come as a bit of a shock to your body. Don’t forget that your body has adapted to the diet you have been providing for all this time. Start adding calories and foods gradually. For example if you have been following a 1200kcal diet for weight loss purposes start by adding 250 kcal for the first week. If you are still losing weight then add 250 kcal more the following week. Allow time for your body to get used to it.
This is also a good way to keep control of the amount of food you eat. It is easy to say I will have a big meal to celebrate my weight loss success, and I will have this cake because I have room for extra calories and I will have this and that and so on. Is like going on holidays; people tend to say it’s ok to eat and drink and spend with no limit I’m on holidays. Once you get the momentum it is harder to stop again.
Don’t over obsess
Your new body and your new weight and lifestyle may be giving you a natural mood high. You may have spent years feeling bad about how you have been looking or about your weight so naturally you don’t want to lose that feeling. However, over obsessing about your diet and your weight is not healthy either and you may find yourself feeling tired, stressed and frustrated at the end. Don’t count every single calorie and don’t jump on the scales every 5min. Life is for living. Have your rules, have your habits and routines and looking after yourself is good. However, keep it simple. Look at the bigger picture. It is not the one meal which will topple over the scales is the general everyday diet and lifestyle.