How to lose weight and sustain. This is a very common question I frequently get asked.
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I can 100% tell you that there is a better way to lose weight and actually keep it off. Most women make the mistake of eliminating certain foods and trying ALL the diets thinking they keep regaining the weight due to lack of willpower or because they’re weak.
In reality, it is NOT a lack of willpower. It is that you are using methods that simply do not work.
When you restrict foods and drastically cut calories, you do lose weight, but you quickly regain it as soon as you go back to eating normally or you go back to including the foods you had been restricting.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important, keeping in mind a “healthy weight” is very individualized and personalized to you. Maintaining a healthy weight does not mean being at your thinnest size and having a low body weight.
I define having a healthy weight as:
- The weight where you are eating a diet full of foods that are nourishing, give you energy and make you feel good
- Being able to eat your favorite foods without any guilt, shame or feeling “out of control” around them
- Having a healthy relationship with food and your body
Today I will be sharing practical and effective ways on how to lose weight and sustain it.
How To Lose Weight And Sustain It
Eat breakfast everyday
You probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I would have to agree. You do not need to eat breakfast as soon as you wake up, but it’s important to eat something before you are famished.
Waiting to eat until you are overly hungry leads to overeating which leads to weight gain, if done consistently.
I have worked with many women helping them lose weight and keep it off and one of the most common characteristics of women struggling to lose weight is they cut calories low and they usually skip breakfast. This is the worst way to lose weight because it slows your metabolism and it messes with your hormones. And these negative effects take A LOT of time to undo.
The best way to keep your metabolism revved is to eat meals that are high in protein, high in fiber with some healthy fats. This way, you can eat MORE food and lose weight.
Eating more produce
One of the simplest ways to eat more and lose weight is by eating more produce. You can eat so much more food when you load up on the veggies, specifically.
Eating more fruits and vegetables ensures you are eating a diet full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This helps you feel good and energized as you are losing weight.
Have you ever been on a diet where you were exhausted and cranky all the time? Yeah, we don’t want that because then what’s the point?
One of the best ways to add more fruits and veggies is to plan it in.
Make a list of the fruits and vegetables you love to eat so you know what you’re getting at the grocery store. You can also decide to try a new recipe or a new vegetable once a month.
When you have a list and a plan ready to go, you are more likely to stick to it.
Most people think they need to sweat profusely and be completely out of breath for their exercise to count, but that is not the case.
Taking a 20-30 minute walk most days of the week as an exercise routine is a great start. Studies show that walking daily helps reduce depression, anxiety, lowers blood pressure and even improves insomnia.
Once you’ve gotten into a stable exercise routine, you can switch it up and even add some strength training.
Getting into a routine that you can actually stick to is a bigger priority when you are first starting out.
Small, realistic goals
Trying to change everything all at once leads to unsustainable methods and therefore unsustainable results.
Focusing on one thing you need to improve on TODAY and sticking to that one area of focus until it becomes routine is important.
Some examples of small, realistic goals include:
- Eating 3 veggies a day or;
- Drinking an extra cup of water or;
- Taking a 15 minute walk 3 times per week
Start small. Remember this is not a race and there is no finish line. You are working on improving your health in little ways every day so they add up and show up in a big way in the future.
Finding a support network with others who also want to learn how to lose weight and sustain it
Having a support network and those who are on a similar path makes the journey more fun and exciting. Being able to share struggles and ways to overcome obstacles with someone who understands what you’re going through helps keep you on track and can help keep you motivated.
Getting enough sleep
Sleeping enough is so underrated when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance. Getting adequate sleep helps hormone balance and helps curb cravings. Have you ever noticed that when you’re sleep deprived you crave sweets and snack foods? This is because your body is looking for a quick boost of energy and those highly processed foods provide that quick boost of energy.
Try getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night for optimal health and long term weight loss.
To summarize: How to lose weight and sustain it
The question how to lose weight and sustain it is a complex one and it is very individualized.
Losing weight and keeping it off does not have to be complicated. Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight is more than just dieting and exercise. Focusing on a well rounded, balanced healthy lifestyle will lead to habit and behavior change which leads to weight loss that actually lasts.
This is not to say that healthy food and the number of calories does not matter when it comes to weight loss. But in order to maintain the lost weight, it is important to look from a holistic perspective.
Clients have been able to maintain their weight loss and achieve their health goals by shifting their focus from solely relying on the number on the scale to tell them how far they’re come to tuning in to how their body is feeling.
Take some time to analyze your health and the different areas in your life where you may need to shift some attention. This is because more often than not, your weight loss is tied to the other areas in your life.