Studio 5 Health and Fitness Contributor, Melanie Douglass, R.D., NASM shares tips to maintain weight loss and keep stubborn pounds coming off… all year long.
So maybe you completed the 10-pound challenge? Or maybe you’ve worked hard for 30 days and off to a great start in losing unwanted pounds? Now what?
Often times, people get worried that they’ll have to keep working “this hard” for ever and ever and ever… then, because it’s overwhelming, they give up and gain the weight back. Life doesn’t have to be this way… so don’t be one of those people!
Here are a few things you can do to “keep it off” an “keep it coming off”, nice, slow and healthy, all year long:
1) Chill Out
So, I love it when people work it like crazy for 30 days… you know, when they seize the day, seize the motivation, and just GO FOR IT for 30 days. There’s science to this too – “change” is what makes your body change. So an aggressive 30-day kick start sets the wheels in motion and gets your metabolism going in the right direction. Then after 30 days, whether you lost 10 pounds or 5 pounds or .5 pounds… it doesn’t matter. Chill out a bit and just take it one day at a time, balancing your health over manageable 24-hour periods. You don’t have to be obsessive about your eating and exercise for the rest of your life. You just have to be willing to do at least one thing for your health, every single day. So you don’t have to drink 8 glasses of water, and eat perfect, and workout for 2 hours, and sleep for 8 hours… you just have to do at least one thing like that… each day.
2) Focus on “I Can”
After 30 days, you know what is starting to work for you. And likely, what’s starting to work is more exercise and lots of foods rich in fiber and protein. So don’t focus on all the things you “can’t have anymore”. Forget about those things! Focus on all the “I can eat….” foods, because there are LOTS of them! Trying to eat more veggies (triple!), fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, low-fat diary, oats, brown rice and some 100% whole-grains (with some lean meats, optional) is all you need to focus on. Sure, you are going to have dessert or go to a party, but part of the “I can” mindset is that you can eat healthier after those meals and counterbalance overindulgences with succeeding low-calorie, high-nutrient meals.
3) Get 35!
Fiber….aim for 35 grams of fiber, each and every day. Set a goal to read labels and do a small amount of internet (or app) research. See if you close to 35 grams of fiber per day. Fiber foods are also good sources of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. So finding the fiber means finding a treasure trove of feel-good stuff – veggies, beans, nuts and 100% whole grains. When you look for fiber, good nutrition comes with it – that one simple goal keeps you on the right track.
4) Eat… then Move On
Part of a healthy – keep it off, or keep it coming off – program is eating enough real food… and… slowing down to enjoy real food. Realize that you need – and deserve – 3 small, healthy meals (and possibly snacks) each and every day. Outside of those healthy meals, food is not worth the emotional energy that most of us devote to it. Food is just food. You are the boss of food… remember that. Food does not tell you what to do and it is not your buddy. It doesn’t comfort you for more than a few minutes, and for many of us, it makes us feel guilty about 5 minutes after. Eating is just a thing you do to fuel your body. Just like you DON’T spend a bunch of emotional energy thinking and stewing and craving gas for you car, you don’t need to think about food all day, or let the thought of food control your day. Put good fuel in your body when it needs it and move on. Food does not deserve your precious emotional energy. Positive actions, time with family, helping others, DEEP breaths and enjoying life are the things to think about 97% of the time. Does the ice cream in the freezer really deserve a split second your precious time?
5) Decide on Your “Treat” in Advance
So most of us do this… we need, or want, or think about our “treat” food each and every day. And it’s okay. You’re not crazy. Just plan for this… because when you have a plan, you make smart choices. Like eating 12 chocolate chips for 70 calories vs. a dozen chocolate chip cookies at 1200 calories. So what is your outlet today? If you know you are going to cave at some point during the day – have a plan! A couple great “treat” plans that work for me are:
– 12 dark chocolate chips
– 1 cup of pomegranate arils
– 12 salted almonds
– 1 glass of skim milk
– 1 spoonful of real sugar (hey, at 16 calories and 4 grams of sugar, it stops my cravings and helps me move on with my day)
– 1 cup of homemade hot chocolate
– celery sticks
– chopped veggies (cabbage, onions, garlic, peppers) in oil and vinegar (this is a low-cal dish that calms my cravings for salt, and just plain chewing!)
– Minty gum
– 2 – 3 powerful mints
– Warm lemon & honey water
Email me anytime! I would love to answer your health and fitness questions: firstname.lastname@example.org