Losing weight is really difficult to start with, but on top of that we all want to keep the weight off for good. There are healthy habits you can adopt NOW in order to increase your chances of keeping the weight off long term. Here are 6 tips that can help.
1. Don’t call what you’re doing a “diet.” This will set you up for failure immediately. Diets are quick, short term solutions for weight loss that usually are not permanent. If you are looking for permanent, long term weight loss, you need to think about it as a lifestyle change. Diets aren’t bad; they can help kick your metabolism into gear so that you can lose weight more easily. But a diet isn’t going to give you long-term success; changes in your lifestyle and food choices will.
2. Set weight loss goals. Goals are one of the most important parts of the weight loss process. The problem is, too many people say “I want to lose x number of pounds.” That is great but sometimes it’s not enough in terms of goal setting. Instead, start making your lifestyle changes gradually and make several mini-goals at a time. Sure, you can say that you want to lose 100 lbs, but it may be easier to stay motivated if you say you want to lose 10 pounds in the next 6 weeks or that you want to be able to walk a mile in addition to losing weight.
3. Reward yourself. …but please don’t make the mistake of rewarding yourself with food. If you can create rewards that are encouraging, but don’t involve messing up your lifestyle changes, they can be really good motivators. Effective rewards are desirable, timely, and contingent on meeting a particular goal. Use several smaller rewards for smaller goals, too. For example, if you went through a month of walking for 30 minutes every day, you can reward yourself with a haircut or a trip to the spa.
4. Figure out why you gained weight in the first place. Your Big WHY! – This is one of the hardest parts of maintaining long-term weight loss, but you do have to do some self evaluation. Why did you start overeating in the first place? What happened that made you want to overeat? Was there a life event/trauma? Were you struggling with a hormonal imbalance like PMS or a chemical imbalance that caused mood issues? Do you have a health issue? What happened to make you start neglecting your diet? Once you figure that out, you need to take steps that help you deal with those issues effectively later on. This will help you prevent similar issues in the future.
5. Understand portion sizes. If you understand how portion sizes are supposed to work, you’re going to be better off. We have an issue in the United States where we fill our plates to overflowing, and you really can’t do this. Even healthy foods can be bad if your portions are too big. A good rule to go by is the “fist rule.” A serving of healthy food is about the size of your fist; the smaller you are the smaller your fist is, and the smaller your portions will be. Keeping a food diary can help control your potions too.
6. Follow the 80/20 rule. You don’t have to be perfect all of the time, trust me. The key is balance and moderation. It’s going to take a lot of effort to maintain this lifestyle, so it’s okay to slack every once in awhile. If you live by healthy habits 80% of the time, slacking a little for the other 20% is okay (as long as you don’t go absolutely crazy and ruin what you did all week). Give yourself a treat on the weekend after being “good” all week.