Good work! You worked hard to reduce your weight and made it.
However, maintaining weight loss might be harder than you think. Research presented at The Endocrine Society’s annual conference found just 14% of those who lost moderate amounts of weight (defined as 10–15% of their original body mass index) maintained their weight loss; among those who lost less than 10% of their original weight, only 23% maintained their weight loss.
Instead of letting months (or years) of hard work disappear in a haze of missed workouts and a summer holiday, beware of these common pitfalls that could cause you to regain weight:
1. Following a Fad Diet Plan
The promise of big, fast weight loss might make it seem worthwhile to consume nothing but low-calorie shakes or cabbage soup. Chelsea Cross, RD, a dietitian with Dietetic Directions warns you might lose a lot of weight on a fad diet quickly but dramatic calorie restriction is impossible to maintain long-term. You will also be deprived of food nutrients which can lead to a whole other list of side effects.
Any plan that restricts a large food group simply because it’s off limits is not something that can be stuck to, you’ll eventually eat those forbidden foods, resent the plan you’re on and overeat sooner or later because of it’s deprivation.
Instead of adopting a fad diet or prioritizing quick weight loss, start setting realistic, healthy, sustainable weight-loss goals; eating a balanced diet that includes all of the food groups including lean protein; and focusing on changing your parts of your lifestyle, not just your diet. These strategies, help you achieve long-term, sustainable weight loss.
2. Missing Workouts
Whether you were jumping burpees at a boot camp at the crack of dawn, squeezed in a run on your lunch hour or invested in a personal trainer, the hard work paid off.
Once you hit your weight-loss goal, you might think you deserve a break and stop. But consistently skipping workouts is a bad idea. Taking a two-week break from your exercise routine significantly reduces cardiovascular fitness and lean muscle mass.
This will also make it harder to regain momentum and keep the excess weight off.
3. Sticking To The Same Gym Workouts
Running the same 3-mile route or choosing the same settings on the elliptical trainer might have helped you shed unwanted pounds initially, but continuing with the same workout is going to make it difficult to maintain your weight loss. After you’re losing weight you need to progress your workouts and keep adding variation to them.
When you follow the same weights or cardio program, your body adapts, comfort zones kick-in. You have to take the intensity up a notch if you want to maintain your weight loss.”
Changing the load, or number of repetitions in your strength-training program, adding some high-intensity interval training to your cardio workouts ensures you don’t see the weight you lost start creeping back on.
4. Bad Sleep
If you struggle with good quality sleep, it might be harder to maintain weight loss. Sleeping less than six hours per night was associated with higher rates of obesity; and additional research found shorter amounts of sleep were linked to larger waistlines.
Insufficient sleep can increase cortisol levels which can be responsible for feelings of hunger, fullness and lack of muscle recovery.
The more time you spend awake, the more opportunities you have to eat — and you’re more likely to reach for high-calorie snack foods and graze, rather than eating fruits and vegetables when you’re exhausted.
To maintain weight loss, aim for 7-8 hours sleep per night. You can increase the odds of getting a good night’s rest by sticking to regular sleep/wake times and going to bed in a cool, dark environment.
Keeping the number on the scale from creeping up takes some work, but the effort will be worth it when your favorite clothes continue to fit like a glove.