Maintaining weight loss

Published: Friday, September 02, 2016   English | العربية  

Losing weight is a marvellous achievement and great for building self-confdence. I will always give credit to anyone who tries and succeeds with this as I’ve also struggled with weight gain for as long as I can remember. At the grand old age of 26 I have lost between 20-25kg on two separate occasions and most recently in the last six months, so I know how diffcult it can be.

However, after successfully losing weight, did you put it back on again? Has your experience with weight loss been similar to mine, which I have found to be similar to a roller coaster ride at times? Successful weight loss is like winning a battle but maintaining this healthier weight over the long-term can be compared to fnally winning the war. The latter is by far the more diffcult and I have the greatest of respect for anyone who can lose a substantial amount of weight and continue to keep it off as this shows great determination and willpower. .

But why is it so diffcult to motivate ourselves to stabilise our weight after losing so much? There are three main reasons which unsurprisingly focus on 1) an individual’s mind-set 2) how a person interacts with the society around them and 3) how day-to-day stresses can derail someone’s efforts to maintain a steady weight. Quite often individuals formulate a strategy to lose weight but generally fail to develop a plan to maintain this weight loss afterwards, that is, their mind-set has not been developed suffciently to consider the longer-term aim of staying slimmer! This isn’t just about exercising and eating healthy for a short period of time, it’s more about changing a lifestyle than merely improving on bad habits. .

Achieving this can be as simple as only consuming the recommended daily calorie intake allowance for your age and gender, and if you exceed this then exercise more to burn off the excess of calories and fats you have devoured! It is generally this combination of healthy eating with activity that helps to maintain a target weight over the long-term, and making sure you have a varied and interesting diet and range of different active interests will reinforce your mind-set and avoid the whole process becoming a chore. .

Secondly, our society has overcomplicated the weight loss process as we often feel increasingly pressured into conforming to a certain image or body shape. Such perceptions have generated entire industries that cater to this need and specialise in quick-fx solutions such as the ‘detox diet’ and the ‘no carbs’ diet which present the illusion that weight loss is easy but more importantly discourages the idea that individuals should change their lifestyle over the long-term. .

Furthermore, socially it is far easier to gain weight rather than lose or maintain it as we are often encouraged to overindulge ourselves in restaurants, fast food outlets or at home. Even when food shopping, it is far too easy to fnd many of our favourite junk foods on supermarket shelves with these being offered at discount price or as part of a promotion ‘buy-one-get-one free’! Extremely diffcult to resist in the early days of a new diet but you should try to eat within the boundaries you have set yourself, remember there is a difference between what you need and what you want. .

Finally, stress contributes signifcantly to our ability to lose weight with many elements of a modern-day lifestyle covertly frustrating any progress in shedding the pounds. .

From experience, the trick to losing weight then maintaining this requires a few minor adjustments to lifestyle and mind-set. I tend to eat 200-300 calories less than my daily recommended allowance, which is the equivalent of a chocolate bar, and over time this has become a habit I have been able to maintain. In this way I don’t compromise my health and it is actually doing me some good as well by cutting out unnecessary fats and sugars. .

As well as this I have begun to exercise regularly which doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go to the gym three to four times a week. And instead of ordering fast-food takeaways try experimenting with new nutritious recipes at home, after all it takes just as much time to wait for a pizza to be delivered! I hope you see now that maintaining your target weight over time is much more challenging than losing it and statistically fewer people manage to achieve this goal, but that shouldn’t deter you… be one of the 20 per cent who succeed! So plan for the long-term and make sure you change your lifestyle not just eating habits!
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