Congratulations! You’ve lost weight—now don’t lose your momentum. They say losing excess weight is the easy part, and the hard part is not gaining it back.
Maintaining weight loss is possible, but it takes effort and willpower to follow key lifestyle behaviors. If you can repeat the mantra, “I was successful at losing weight, and now I will be successful at maintaining my weight loss,” you have the right mindset.
Here are 10 tricks to keep your momentum going:
- Weigh yourself daily. Several studies prove that people who weigh themselves once a day are twice as successful at keeping off weight as those who weigh themselves less frequently. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom. Do not step on the scale again until tomorrow morning. Daily weigh-ins help you keep track of your weight and, if the number creeps up, you can catch yourself by making adjustments to your eating or exercise habits.
- Use the plate method. USDA MyPlate is an easy way to plan balanced, healthy meals and teach yourself better eating habits. The plate method recommends filling half of your plate with vegetables, and dividing the remaining half evenly between lean protein and whole grains. Eat fruit for dessert, and don’t forget low-fat dairy.
- Eat breakfast. Up to 80 percent of people who are overweight and obese do not eat breakfast. Skipping the first meal of the day slows your metabolism and leaves your body hanging on to every calorie you eat—leading to weight gain. Breakfast does not have to be a big meal: think oatmeal, Greek yogurt and fresh fruit. Eating breakfast also reduces the odds of overeating later in the day.
- Build lean muscle tissue. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism is, which means you will turn into a calorie burning machine even at rest. If you want to get serious about weight loss, you must lift weights.
- Plan your meals. Have you ever noticed that planning ahead usually yields better results? The same principle applies to managing weight loss. Having a meal-by-meal plan can keep you on track.
- Practice portion control. Learn how to eyeball appropriate portion sizes. Most of us tend to underestimate our portions, and that means we’re taking in more calories that can trip up our weight maintenance efforts.
- Don’t be afraid of dairy. Many people to exclude dairy from their daily diet for the simple reason that they feel dairy is fattening. However, studies have shown that when we include three servings of low-fat dairy a day, we are more likely to keep off the weight than those who have only one serving or none a day. Women, you need dairy to protect your bones, too.
- Step up your exercise routine. When was the last time you switched up your exercise routine? If you’ve been faithfully going for a 30 minute walk at a three mile-per-hour pace most days of the week and your weight is starting to creep back up, increase the duration and intensity of your workout. Go for 45 minutes at a four mile-per-hour pace to get an extra burn.
- Stop stress eating. When stress and anxiety arise, acknowledge the feeling, name it for what it is—anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness, boredom—and then ask yourself, “Am I really hungry is it just a way to cope with the feeling?” Most likely, you’re not hungry. Have a readymade list of other things to do besides seeking out high-sugar, high-fat foods. For example, go on a walk, read, listen to music, call a friend—anything else that keeps you from using food as a source of comfort.
- Reduce screen time. We want our children to reduce screen time, and we should reduce our screen time as well. Sitting in front of a device with a screen means we burn fewer calories. If your job requires sitting in front of a computer all day, try to get up and move every 20-30 minutes. In the evenings, turn off the TV and do something active in order to keep yourself more fit.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team Learn more at roboticoncology.com. Visit Dr. Samadi’s blog at SamadiMD.com. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and Facebook.