Losing weight is hard but keeping it off is even more of a challenge. And it’s one that the majority of people cannot overcome, so they regain at least a part of their lost weight within a few months of having completed their weight loss program. In many cases, people gain even more weight than they managed to lose in the first place.
Developing healthy eating and exercise habits can help you to become one of those few who succeed in burning off fat and keeping it off. But it’s the most challenging part of all.
Why can’t you keep the weight off?
There are many reasons why you can’t keep the weight off after working so hard to lose it. Some of them can be explained by science, like that study which shows how your body stocks up on fat in response to dieting because it mistakes your weight loss efforts for famine. Others seem a bit too far-fetched to be true, like the theory that our bodies have some kind of predetermined shape and they revert back to it despite our best efforts.
However, if you think about it logically it becomes obvious that the main reason why people regain weight after completing their weight loss program is the simple fact that they completed it.
What do the majority of people do after they stop the diet and intense exercise?
They go back to the habits they had before, because those habits have been with them for years and are far more ingrained than the regimen dictated by the weight loss program.
So the crux of the problem is that you don’t retain the healthy habits that helped you lose weight. Of course, some weight loss programs are intense and outright unhealthy, and you shouldn’t stick to them. But more and more studies are showing maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way not only to lose weight but to maintain it as well.
This means that what you need to keep the weight off is to stick to a healthy lifestyle. But this is a different type of challenge altogether because sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine is anything but easy. The main reasons people give for not doing this are the lack of time and, sometimes, money to maintain a diet rich in fresh fruit, veggies and fish.
However, there are ways to lead a healthy lifestyle even if you are busy with work or if you live on a budget. In order to achieve this you need to adopt certain tricks when planning your new lifestyle and to develop a set of healthy habits so you actually stick with your choices permanently.
How do you embrace the healthy lifestyle and stick to it?
To keep the weight off you need to lead a lifestyle which will include a healthy diet and regular exercise. Begin with the exercise – what’s keeping you from working out regularly now?
Is it the costly gym membership? Use free YouTube classes as well as workouts from top resources like bodybuilding.com. You can get all the necessary tools set up at home, and you can buy them one by one so as not to stretch your budget.
Do you not have the time to perform long workouts? Break them down into a few sessions of 15-20 minutes long or even less. How you exercise is not as important as the fact that you exercise at all. Again, setting up a mini-gym at home will make it easier for you to fit a few minutes with free weights or a treadmill into your busy schedule.
The diet can be a bit more challenging
The diet can be a bit more challenging because the cost of some foods is high, especially when they aren’t in season. But you can work around this too by taking advantage of discounts and stocking up on fruits and veggies when they are affordable and freezing them for when they are not.
You also need to fill your diet with healthy and affordable foods that you can easily buy in bulk, like pulses, which are exceptionally good for your health and help you lose weight as well. Seeds and nuts should be added to that list to. You can cut the cost of these by buying in bulk when there is a discount available. With proper storage conditions, they should keep for up to a year.
The hardest part is to make these healthy choices into habits
The hardest part is to make these healthy choices into habits so you truly embrace the new lifestyle. For this you need to forget about the “habit forms in 21 days” myth and accept the simple truth. A habit forms through repetition, and more repetition, and then some more repetition until your body and mind both get used to it to the point that your reactions to triggers become automatic. That’s why it is essential to develop a routine for both exercising and healthy eating. Also, don’t forget to give yourself some positive feedback on the changes in your body brought about by your new habits. This kind of reward will make forming new habits easier.
And always remember that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the key to maintaining a healthy weight.