Old habits, new habits
So you stayed motivated and disciplined over a number of weeks. You put into practice the four steps and you finally lost weight. Congratulations! But now begins the hard part: keeping the weight off permanently. To achieve that goal, you need to make these lifestyle changes part of your day to day life [R1]. It basically means giving up old habits and then creating new ones. When you see yourself sub-consciously making the right food and exercise choices, you are well on your way to a permanent healthy weight. The suggestions below will also help you!
Learn how to cook
A major cause of the obesity epidemic is that we cook so little of our own food. Instead we are dependent on what processed food companies and restaurants sell us. Unfortunately, your weight, health or the nutritional value of food is rarely a consideration for them.
So what can we do? One huge advantage we have today is that it has never been easier to learn how to cook. With the help of the internet, cookbooks, apps and cooking courses you can learn how to cook a nutritious and tasty meal much quicker than you think. Try a few new recipes: there are thousands available at your fingertips. Many meals can be cooked in less than 20 minutes. Who knows, you might even find a passion for cooking!
Eat at home
It’s no surprise that you are more likely to maintain a lower weight if you eat more at home and less at restaurants, but this has now also been proven in a study [R1]. This study also showed that men who were more “involved in food preparation” (otherwise known as cooking!) were more likely to maintain weight loss!
If you can’t eat at home due to your work, try bringing your lunch with you. It will be far more nutritious than what you can get from a restaurant or store.
Join a group
If you find it difficult to maintain weight loss on your own, join a group of people who are determined to maintain a healthy weight. If you don’t have a group, try making one on your own with your family, friends and co-workers. Many people lose more weight when they are part of a group [R1]. This will also help to maintain your motivation!
Measure your weight regularly
Individuals who monitor their weight are more likely to maintain weight loss [R1]. So make sure you check your weight at least once a week for the rest of your life. It is only too easy to regain weight if you don’t keep monitoring it.
Use an App
A lot of my patients have found that using a mobile phone app helps them lose weight. It also helps them maintain that weight loss. In fact, there is now good evidence that apps can promote weight loss and increase physical activity [R1]. Which app should you choose? There is no single app that suits everyone, so have a look and choose one that you think will help you the most.
Who’s in control?
Who do you believe is in control of your weight? Is it within your control? Or are there factors outside of your control that decide your weight? As I mentioned in Step 1, there are fortunately very few medical conditions that cause weight gain. If they have been excluded, then your weight is within your control. In fact, people who believe that their weight is within their control are far more likely to maintain weight loss! [R1].
Treat yourself occasionally
Disciplining yourself to maintain weight loss is hard. But I have found that having the occasional treat helps many people to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Otherwise, some people just give up altogether. So treat yourself occasionally if you think you simply must. Just make sure it is not more than two or three times a month!