How to Keep Weight Off After Losing It
Do you know what’s more challenging than losing weight? Keeping the pounds off. It’s a question we get asked all too often, how do I keep weight off after losing it?
What is it about weight-loss maintenance that makes people fail? Perhaps once you’ve tasted the victory of achieving your dream weight, you feel entitled to a celebration. After months of saying no to the trifle, you can finally fit into your old trousers. Don’t you deserve a respite? A spoonful of treacle tart, at least?
It is the major obstacle with many people’s weight-loss journeys and why they hit a speed bump after achieving their goals. For many people, it’s a matter of aesthetics: a chance to look good for a wedding, a way to fit into some slinky slacks. Fitness and health are a means to an end. And when you’ve reached that point, you simply surrender and shirk back to old habits without realising that this could take you on a round trip back to where you started.
No, weight loss is a means. Period. It has no end. Fitness is a lifelong commitment to becoming the healthiest version of yourself. Read on as we discuss how to keep weight off after you’ve lost it.
Why Is It Hard to Keep the Weight Off?
Having a weight-loss goal is okay. However, your reasons should be a little more than skin-deep. Consider this analogy. When you motivate yourself with a short finish line, you’re doing a sprint. You’re dieting heavily, working out rigorously. You reach your goal fast, but you do not leave yourself room to build habits – let alone sustainable ones.
This road is a marathon. A slow but steady one. You integrate the whole process into your routine until one day you realise that it has evolved as a non-negotiable part of your life, the way sleep and food are.
The first one is about seeing quick results. The latter is about a more intensive process. Instant gratification can indeed be extremely inspiring, but it can also disappear just as quickly.
There are many reasons why maintenance is difficult, which is why opting to enter into a fitness regimen shouldn’t be taken lightly.
1. Metabolism slows down.
Perhaps you’ve heard about yo-yo dieting? Trimming your diet slackens your metabolism. The lighter you become, the less energy your body needs to burn for moving around. Your body adapts to receiving just a small amount of food for energy. When you start eating your usual portions, it won’t be able to burn what it would consider surplus food.
When you bloat up and notice that your body doesn’t seem to respond to your usual tricks of eating less, you end up consuming even smaller portions of food and the cycle starts again. This is one of the key factors in why it’s so hard to keep the weight off.
2. Your energy fizzles.
If you lose weight unhealthily via over-exercising, you expose yourself to burnout. You could also get injured, which would be counterproductive to your plans.
3. Your hormones are against you.
There are so many factors that are responsible for weight loss and maintenance. According to a 2017 paper “Why Weight Loss Maintenance is Difficult,” your age, gender, and even genetics are primary players in your metabolism. Harvard Health even notes that women have a tougher time losing weight because of their body shape, slower metabolic rate, and less lean muscle tissue.
Some other hormones you should think about are leptin, which is responsible for your feeling full. When you lose weight, your leptin production levels decrease, so you feel hungrier. It’s as if your body wants to compensate for the weight that you already put away.
4. You prefer “convenience”.
Did you know that the pandemic ignited a fitness boom? During the lockdown, many people decided to make use of their time by exercising. But now that your professional life is about to return to normal, you might slip back to old habits – getting fast food, staying out late for post-work drinks at the pub, sitting at your desk the whole day.
Convenience might tempt you back to an unhealthy lifestyle. And while a burger and chips are delicious, they’re just not as healthy as something freshly cooked. You might also be surrounded by people who aren’t exactly supportive of your newfound fitness regimen, making it nigh on impossible to keep that weight off after it’s gone.
5. Living to the pain and pleasure principle
When you’re unhappy with your current weight and start a programme the process in place is actually that you’re attempting to move away from pain. That’s what’s motivating you to move from a state of pain to a state of pleasure.
Now when you get to your pleasurable place, say you lose 2 stone, that’s great and you no longer have the pain of that two stone and not getting in pictures or being able to wear your clothes comfortably.
But if you’re someone who’s wired to move away from pain then what you’re going to find is as soon as the pain goes away you start to slip back. Simply because you constantly move away from pain so you end up drifting back to a painful place before you take action again.
In BodySlims, we understand this and we try to help people over our ten-week weight loss programme to live to what’s termed the pleasure principle, to change their motivational makeup from just moving away from pain to being able to live and be motivated by pleasure.
The reality is that the physical restraints of having lost weight play a much smaller part in your efforts to maintain the weight loss than the psychological element. Simply put, you don’t have the same motivation without the pain so this repeated cycle has to be broken and you need to change your mindset which is what BodySlims is all about.
What Can You Do To Maintain Weight Loss?
So, is it impossible for you to maintain your new weight? Of course, not! But for it to happen, you must do things properly.
1. Come up with a long-term plan.
Most weight-loss activities start like this: I want to lose 10 pounds in two months. This rigid deadline and the possibility of losing a few centimetres off your waistline will make you excited and enthusiastic. However, you’re already setting yourself up to fail. Thinking about your health shouldn’t be done in the short term.
You can plan for a goal, but you should also plan for what would happen after you’ve ticked that box. Come up with micro-goals or milestones to keep you going and help maintain your weight after losing it.
2. Exercise balance.
Moderation is key to sustainability. If you cut out carbs from your life, they will come back with such ferocious intensity that you’ll suddenly find yourself swimming in potatoes before you know it. Deprivation is not the answer. Just practise more conscientious eating.
The same goes for exercise. As we mentioned, it can be exciting to imagine your dream body, but kicking your workout regimen into high gear right away won’t give you the benefits you’re looking for. Your hyper energy will probably last a week or so. Then, you'll feel the fatigue and decide to rest for today and then tomorrow. The next thing you know, you've slipped into your old habits.
Taking small steps will get you farther than taking a huge leap.
3. Accept your current self.
Your physique changes as you grow older. You can’t eat the way you do. You might not even be able to stay up so late at night like in the old days. Remember when you could pull an all-nighter and run at the crack of dawn the next day? You can’t always go full steam ahead as you grow older. Rest and recovery become vital steps in your fitness journey.
You must adjust. You can probably slim down to your 20-year-old weight. However, you should not expect your body will look exactly the way it used to. Embrace the body that you have now. Moreover, work on making it the best version of itself as it is.
4. Make conscious decisions.
Don’t throw away your life for the sake of fleeting enjoyment. You only live once, right? Endeavour to live it well by taking care of yourself. Eat healthy food and adopt a regular (and sustainable) fitness regimen. You should also welcome quality sleep and manage stress better. Start thinking of health and fitness as a coordinated and concerted effort among all aspects of your life.
4. Join a community that supports an overall healthy lifestyle.
Do you want to lose weight and keep it off? BodySlims is the answer. It is a revolutionary 10-week weight-loss programme that is your gateway to a lifetime of healthy habits. BodySlims does not just give you a series of exercises to perform and menu plans to employ. Just take a look at our success stories, the results speak for themselves.
It also comes with daily motivational messages and webinars to help you understand your body. It also has an active virtual community to act as your support system and keep you accountable for your goals. And if you’re already part of the BodySlims community, you’ll be pleased to know that repeat takers of the programme have maintained their weight loss effectively! (So there’s no harm signing up again for a refresher!)
Fitness shouldn’t be a one-time thing. With BodySlims, you can make it permanent.
Check out the programmes and remember to subscribe to our newsletter to be updated with the latest news and programme intakes!