Break the Yo-Yo Cycle: 3 Proven Strategies for Maintaining Weight LossArticle posted in: Diet & Nutrition Experts’ Corner
Have you hit your weight loss goal and are anxious about what comes next? Or maybe you’re craving a break from thinking about weight loss, especially during the holiday season. In either case, rest assured that you can maintain all your hard-earned progress without feeling like you’re on a perpetual “diet.”
Here’s your guide to three proven strategies for maintaining weight loss, so you can enjoy the holidays and beyond while keeping your weight in check and continuing a healthy lifestyle.
Why is Maintaining Weight Loss Hard?
Putting weight back on after you’ve made progress or hit your goal is discouraging. If you’ve been down this road before, transitioning to a maintenance mindset may feel scary and intimidating.
It’s important for you to understand that you are not at fault for this past experience. In fact, weight regain following weight loss is a common occurrence.
According to the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), a comprehensive study tracking individuals who have successfully maintained weight loss for five years or more, a mere 20 percent of dieters are able to sustain a loss of over 10 percent of their body weight in the long run. And rarely is lack of willpower or discipline to blame.
The reality is our bodies are hardwired to avoid starvation. Your recent weight loss triggers biological mechanisms that diligently work to restore you to your previous weight.
For instance, weight loss affects the levels of appetite hormones circulating in your body, leaving you feeling extra hungry. Plus, shedding pounds decreases your metabolic rate, reducing the number of calories your body burns naturally each day.
The key to success is understanding the strategies that actually work to combat these physiological changes. Research from studies like the NWCR have identified three remarkably effective strategies for maintaining weight loss. By incorporating these strategies into your lifestyle, you can confidently navigate the challenges that arise once you’ve reached your goal weight, ensuring that your hard-earned progress remains sustainable in the long term.
3 Proven Strategies to Finally Keep the Weight Off
1. Stay Active
Physical activity is just plain good for your overall physical and mental health. Plus, it boosts your daily calorie burn, combating the dip in your metabolic rate after weight loss.
On average, NWCR participants get an hour of physical activity daily. However, they’re not hitting the gym or even jogging. The number one activity is walking.
Set some goals to raise your daily step count. Keep in mind, you don’t have to cover an hour of walking all at one time. Break it up into 10 or 20-minute walks throughout the day. For example:
- Take a cool morning walk while listening to a morning meditation to set the tone for the rest of the day.
- Schedule a walking meeting mid-day to beat the after-lunch energy slump.
- Wind down after dinner with family walks around the neighborhood.
Beyond walking, you can enjoy other fun activities like canoeing, hiking, skiing and swimming. Find the schedule and activities that work for you. The only rule is that you pick options you genuinely enjoy. After all, you didn’t put all this work into improving your health just to be miserable.
2. Check Your Stats Regularly
Rather than waiting until things have spiraled out of control, the majority of NWCR participants keep tabs on their weight by stepping on the scale weekly. While fluctuations in weight on a week-by-week basis are normal, if they start to notice a consistent upward trend, they take action.
Does this mean you have to constantly be thinking about your weight? Absolutely not. While some people like the concrete measure of the scale, you can pick anything that works for you.
For example, you can set time on a weekly basis to reflect on how you’re feeling in your body this week. If multiple weeks go by where you feel yourself drifting away from your health goals, create an action plan to address that disconnect. These actions could look like this:
- Increasing fruit and vegetable intake to five servings daily.
- Limiting take-out meals to one time per week.
- Meal prepping lunches Monday through Friday.
- Adding 20 extra minutes of physical activity daily.
- Tracking your meals for a week to reset.
Nutrisystem plans provide many resources to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle while you manage your new weight. You can get delicious, perfectly portioned meals delivered to your door for convenience, while the NuMi app provides you with a new calorie goal and meal plan designed for you. You can also use the tools and trackers within NuMi to help set up a check-in habit.
The goal is to stay in tune with yourself and line up resources to help you quickly squash small problems before they become overwhelming problems.
3. Master Your Mindset
Reflect on why you started this journey in the first place. It’s likely your ultimate goal was to increase your level of contentment and joy in life. Make sure the attitudes and habits you’ve adopted align with that goal.
First and foremost, switch your mindset to the long term. While Nutrisystem plans may have helped build momentum toward your health goals, true and lasting benefits will only be realized when you establish sustainable habits that you can live with over the long haul.
Here are some tried and true mindset switches that will set you up for lasting success:
- Put numbers in the background. Instead of fixating on data, such as weight or calorie counts, prioritize behaviors that align with your health and life goals. Strive to find a weight and routine that allows you to live the healthiest life possible that you actually enjoy.
- Move on quickly from mistakes. Rather than dwelling on slip-ups, view them as learning opportunities and reset as quickly as possible. Remember that setbacks are a natural part of any journey. When you take a long-term view, these are merely speedbumps along the road to a bigger destination.
- Avoid rigid and restrictive thinking. Don’t approach your health journey fixated on lists of things you “can’t” do. Not only is this demoralizing, but it will make you crave these “forbidden” activities even more. Give yourself permission to enjoy all of the things you love in moderation.
Achieving lasting change to your weight and health is possible, but you need the right tools to do it. These proven strategies will help you find balance while still prioritizing your health in the long term.
Nutrisystem plans and online tools are resources that can support you in creating a successful and sustainable weight maintenance plan, so that you can relish in the joy of living a healthier, happier life.
- National Weight Control Registry. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nwcr.ws/
- Greenway FL. Physiological adaptations to weight loss and factors favouring weight regain. Int J Obes (Lond). 2015;39(8):1188-1196