Maintenance: how to maintain your weight after your diet
So, you've reached your weight loss goals, but how do you maintain the 'new you' now that your official diet is over? Kate Brinton outlines the smartest ways to stay on track
After months of hard work and abstinence, you've finally reached your target weight and it's time to return to your regular eating habits. But without a specificto follow, how can you make sure you don't gain the weight back?
According to Catherine Collins, a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association and Chief Dietitian at St Georges Hospital in London, maintaining weight loss after a diet can sometimes be harder than losing weight in the first place. Collins says that the solution to making the transition is to find ways of incorporating aspects of your weight loss plan into your life.
'The secret is to realise you can never go back to the diet or lifestyle you had before you lost the weight,' she explains. 'It's important to keep up the eating rituals and food habits you used on your diet. Continuing to plan your meals, carrying a piece of fruit in your bag and using the stairs instead of the lift, are simple but effective post-diet tactics,' she adds.
Collins believes that with a little planning and a lot of determination you can successfully establish new, healthier eating habits on your own. As for temptations like crisps or chocolate, the key is self-control. 'You can reintroduce things you banned from your diet, but make sure you do it in moderation,' says Collins. 'If you want a piece of cake, have a small portion. Don't deny yourself anything, but keep your eating under control and try to choose healthy alternatives for snacks, such as fruit or crispbread,' she adds. According to Collins, erratic eating patterns are the main culprit for weight gain.
Exercising regularly is also imperative to maintaining weight loss. According to a study by the National Weight Loss Registry, an American organisation founded in 1993 to monitor weight loss maintenance over time (see their website at www.uchsc.edu/nutrition/nwcr.htm), subjects who successfully lost 30 lbs and kept it off, did so by maintaining their exercise regime. 'Not only will keeping physically active burn calories, but it also keeps your resting metabolic rate up, which means your body is working even while you are at rest,' says Collins.