So you’ve eaten healthy, you’ve busted your butt in the gym, you’ve worked so incredibly hard to shed those pounds – and guess what! You’ve done it! You’ve lost the weight!!!… Well…. now what?!? Now comes the even harder part – Keeping it off.
The first part of keeping off those lost pounds is understanding how that initial weight-loss changes your body. If you haven’t read Part 1 of this 2 Part series, you can find the link here: The Science Behind Why It’s so Hard to Keep off Those Shed Pounds (Part 1)
Basically, when you lose a significant amount of weight, your body goes into “starvation mode.” Your system slows down its production of leptin, a hormone that suppresses your appetite, while at the same time increasing your production of ghrelin, a hormone that makes you hungry.
Sound like a recipe for failure?? Well not quite! The good news is that you can often lose up to 10% of your body weight (i.e. a 140lb woman can lose about 14lbs) without any of this happening. But even if you’ve lost more than that, maintaining your new weight IS doable if you just follow some of the following techniques:
Revise your calorie count for your new weight
A 10% loss in weight can lower your metabolic function by about 20-25%. Once you’ve reached your goal weight, you can begin to steadily increase your calories from when you were dieting (i.e. reverse diet). If you find yourself gaining back weight – subtract a few calories OR if you find you’re starving – add a few back.
Eats more foods that make you feel fuller longer
It’s not just how many calories you eat but where exactly those calories are coming from that can make you feel fuller for a longer period of time. Fill up on foods packed with fiber. Fiber draws water from your body and from the food you’ve eaten and transports it to your intestinal tract, which helps to deliver that meal-ending feeling. Also, since fiber passes through the body undigested, it slows the absorption of nutrients and makes you feel fuller longer. A boost in your daily protein intake, while helping you maintain muscle mass, also keeps your metabolism humming all day long. Protein has also been found to raise levels of peptides in your stomach that talk to the brain and tell the brain you’re full.
Exercise smarter NOT necessarily harder
We all know that working out is crucial to keeping off those pounds. In fact, you may even need to be more active to stay at your new weight than you did to lose those pounds because your metabolism is a little slower now. But that doesn’t mean you have to go super hard in the gym every day. Simply by increasing your N.E.A.T. (i.e. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) Factor, you can have a big impact in the amount of calories you burn. Try taking the stairs, or going for a brisk walk during lunch. Also, try and be sure to incorporate some kind strength training into your routine. Women who do resistance training increase their muscle mass, which in turn boosts metabolism, more than those women who do only cardio.
Get enough Sleep
Chronic stress can lower your leptin levels while at the same time raising your levels of insulin and cortisol – hormones that can affect your weight loss journey by boosting your appetite and slowing your metabolism. So make sure to schedule in some time for rest and relaxation while also clocking in some good ol’ fashioned Zzz’s. AND If you need more reason to get enough sleep, it just so happens to be My Second Best Advice when it comes to Health and Fitness: Get Enough Sleep!!!