So, you’ve lost weight and obviously you want to keep it off. Yet, you may be someone like the majority of my patients that I’ve been seeing for over two decades… patients that will lose the weight, but then put everything back on. In many cases, they put on more than they lost to begin with which obviously is really discouraging for those individuals. So how should you look at weight loss maintenance so you can achieve success?
Well, the first thing is looking at components that really are specific to maintenance. And that is exercise. Now, I’m not saying by any means, when you’re trying to lose weight, to not exercise. Yes, you should exercise. Exercise has cardiovascular benefits and cognitive benefits, too. So many great things come from exercise including reductions of certain types of cancer. But I once heard someone tell me that you cannot exercise off a horrible diet.
So, if you’re exercising and you’re really keeping with that pattern, it’s awesome. But if you’re still eating too many calories of too much of the wrong stuff, you might not lose weight. So, exercise is not as important in the grand scheme of things when it comes to weight loss. But studies show that once you lose the weight, exercise becomes a critical component. Now, you don’t need to run a marathon, but if you are a female over the age of 40, you definitely want to build in consistent exercise.
Muscle mass muscle weighs a lot more than fat and burns more calories at rest than fat does, as well. So, you want to make sure you’re getting at least two to three days per week of some sort of resistance training. If you don’t have bands or weights, just use your own body weight. Take big jugs of water and try and lift them doing a bicep curl. You can do that for free.
Or, you can go out and buy some weights as well. There’s a lot of great videos available on YouTube you can follow for and calisthenics and weight training. Aerobic exercise also helps with burning calories (but doesn’t help increase the metabolism the same way that weight lifting for muscle mass does). Walking is also an excellent form of exercise to help maintain weight loss that you will want to incorporate. So, exercise of some sort is going to be critical. The other thing is, as you lost weight, your body became more efficient. Let me give you an example here.
Imagine you’re walking down the road and you are wearing a 100-pound vest. Imagine the calories you burn, how tough it would be, how difficult on your body. You would use up so much energy to walk down that sidewalk with that 100-pound vest on. So, let’s say you take the vest off. 100 pounds is now gone. In weight loss terms, let’s say you just lost 100 pounds. You’re not going to burn as many calories anymore. You don’t have to be as efficient anymore because you don’t have as much weight to carry around.
So, understand that the more weight you lose, the less calories you’re going to burn pound for pound because your body doesn’t have to work that hard anymore. So really, once we look into that maintenance phase, we have to go from here’s what worked with weight loss. What calories can I pare down a little bit more to make sure that having a more efficient body doesn’t now backfire on me?
These are just some tips. We all know there are so many diets out there and a million websites that are going to give you advice. You’re not going to necessarily know what’s right and what’s wrong. So, when evaluating those diet options, consider these key factors as they relate to what you need to do for you, yourself, not for your neighbor, not for your sibling, not for your friend. What is going to work for you based on your history, based on your environment, based on what you can sustain and based on the rest of your lifestyle. Can you even consider working out two days a week? Maybe it’s just one. But doing something is better than nothing. Remember, you can keep the weight off, but you have to find the best approach for YOU to do it now and for the long term.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.