Keeping weight off can be a challenge for many people. Many diet programs have clear recommendations for what and when to eat and specific portion sizes. After you have reached your desired weight, however, the guidelines are not always clear. In some cases, after the weight has come off using highly restrictive diets, it is easy to revert back to old eating habits.
Types of Diets Causing Post-Diet Issues
Highly restrictive diets are problematic because it is nearly impossible to stick to them for an extensive period of time. If your diet program involves extreme calorie reduction or complete elimination of entire food groups, this often causes difficulty in keeping weight off once you have stopped dieting.
Additionally, extensive juice fasts, completely eliminating all fats and sugars and eating less than 1,000 calories a day for weeks on end can lead to feelings of deprivation. If you have approached dieting in this way, you might find yourself compelled to eat more and possibly even binge eat.
Design a Post-Diet Weight Maintenance Plan
One of the best approaches for keeping weight off is to design a weight maintenance plan. This is something you can do before you start dieting or while you are still on your way to reaching your goals. Ideally, your dieting plan will help you to develop new habits that will be sustainable in the long run.
In designing a post-diet weight maintenance plan, you want to determine the optimal daily caloric intake for sustaining your new body weight. Based on that, you can think ahead of time about what foods you can consume and in what amounts.
A post-diet plan should be realistic and allow you to enjoy your meals. To avoid feelings of deprivation, include your favorite foods in the plan but in moderate amounts. Also think about the flavors and textures that you enjoy in your favorite foods and find lower-calorie options for these foods. For example, instead of pouring many scoops of sugar in your morning coffee, you might try using Stevia which has virtually no calories.
The Role of Exercise in Keeping Weight Off
Exercise is an important part of keeping weight off after a diet. While you are dieting, you are in a motivated mindset and might find it easier to adhere to your exercise regimen. Once you have reached your desired weight, however, you might find it easier to skip going to the gym or choose spending time with loved ones instead of exercising. The loss of motivation is a common occurrence after goals have been reached.
To sustain your exercise regimen post-diet, be sure to choose a fitness activity that you enjoy. What types of physical activity enliven you? Maybe exercise with a friend or in groups to add a social component. If you are bored with your gym routine, good alternatives might be exercising outdoors in a beautiful environment or taking a dance class to music that moves you.