How To Keep Weight Off

Lost It?

It’s all very well losing the weight, but keeping it off can be another problem altogether, especially if you chose a rapid weight loss diet as your method for losing weight. Once the weight is off, there is the temptation to return to your previous way of eating (WOE) and a consequent build up of fat again. Been there, done that, got the (bigger) T-shirt back again! It’s not the fault of the diet – it promised to get the weight off and it worked. It’s just that KEEPING weight off requires changing your normal way of eating in some way.

Problems

Impulse eating

This is where you pass the fruit bowl and take a piece of fruit and then another. Fruit is good for most people, however, most of it is high in natural sugar, so eating a lot can add calories that you weren’t counting on consuming. This also applies to the cookie tin, a quick “treat” from the local store, a piece of cake in the office to celebrate someone’s birthday and a friend sharing a bag of candy. There are so many impulse opportunities in our lives these days and it is hard to say no to them all. You can deal with the fruit bowl and cookie tin problems by not keeping them in the house. I know someone who always has a full cookie tin, “in case someone calls”. They deny eating them but their visitors are not sufficient to account for the cookie tin always being full of fresh cookies!

Mouth boredom

This is where your mouth gets bored with nothing to do, and it wants something to chew. Very often this translates to raiding the fridge for snacks or a sandwich, to keep you going until the next meal time. You may find some help by using sugar free chewing gum. This gives your mouth something to do while not adding sugar to your diet. Just take care with sugar free gum as it can have a laxative effect, if you use too much. Hot drinks (no sugar) can also be helpful. For a refreshing drink, try a few slices of fresh ginger in hot water, then add lemon juice. If it’s too hot for a warm drink, this is just as nice allowed to cool, or even iced.

Comfort eating.

This is where you are under stress or anxious and find that eating, especially the so-called comfort foods like potatoes and ice cream, helps relieve the stress or calm the anxiety. This requires finding ways of reducing stress and anxiety without using food. It has been said that exercise is the most (and best) under-used stress and anxiety reliever available and food the most over-used.

Keep It Off

There are a few ways of keeping the weight off, without feeling constantly deprived and without constantly having to refuse those little treats.

The Post Diet Diet

Try the 5:2 diet. On this diet, you eat normally 5 days a week and stick to 500 calories a day (women) or 600 (men) on two days a week. You can choose which two days. Many people find a Monday and a Thursday to be their best days. This is also a long term diet strategy that a number of people use. If you don’t need two days to keep your weight down, then use 6:1 and have just 1 day a week where you restrict your calories. Many people find this doable by telling themselves, that it is just for today and tomorrow they can eat “normally”. It works because it helps to regulate the appetite and also people do not eat “enough for two days in one” on the following day so the overall calorie intake for the week is reduced.

Then there is the 16:8 diet. This refers to the 24 hour day, in which you eat ONLY during a window of 8 hours, staying away from food (not water) for the other 16 hours of the day. This is doable by stopping eating 4 hours before bedtime, assuming you are in bed 8 hours and waiting for your breakfast until about lunchtime the next day. If you have finished your meals by, say, 6pm and can wait until 10am the next day before eating your breakfast, you will have an 8 hour window for eating between 10.00am and 6.00pm. You can move the hours around to suit yourself.

You could work on a slow increase in calories or carbohydrates. If you have lost the weight you need by whatever means and are now moving onto a maintenance diet, you could try increasing your intake slowly, whether in terms of calories (low calorie diets) or in terms of carbohydrates (low carb diets). This requires self discipline, to calculate a little extra, then sticking to that until you find the point at which you no longer lose weight and then stay at that level of carbohydrate or calories.The Atkins diet (low carb) provides suggestions for gradually increasing your carb intake at the stage 4, maintenance level, and the 800 BSD provides suggestions for gradually increasing your calories.

There is also one suggestion that you should eat ten times your desired body weight in calories each day. This is said to reduce your weight while you are heavier than that and keep you there once you have reached your desired weight. If your desired body weight is 140 pounds, then on this diet, you could eat 1400 calories each day.

A Healthy Long Term Diet

It is of course, vital that you find a healthy long term diet that keeps you at your desired healthy weight and also provides all the nutrients you need for health.  One recommended diet for this is the Mediterranean diet, which includes plenty of vegetables and healthy fats, as well as protein. The Mediterranean diet is one that you could stick to for a life time if you choose.

Overcoming Stress

If comfort eating is a problem, whether just at certain times or because your life is stressful anyway, then find a way of reducing stress and anxiety without using food as a crutch to ease your stress or anxiety. This may involve letting certain people go, taking up meditation, listening to relaxation tapes or learning to become aware of when you are using eating to reduce your stress and anxiety levels. Exercise can be a great stress and anxiety reliever. If you are taking medication for relieving stress or anxiety then do not change your dosage without consulting your medical adviser. Exercise can be used in conjunction with medication to provide great relief and reduce reliance on food for comfort.

 

Diet Help From The Green Box

Watch this article as a video here, if you prefer, or else read it below.

Maintenance

Losing weight is hard enough, sometimes. And when you get to your desired weight, you think, “I am NEVER going to put it back on again!” But lo and behold, a few weeks later, the weight may already be starting to increase, as the pounds pile on. There are several reasons for this and it is NOT THE FAULT of the diet you chose. If you lost weight on that diet and you are healthy as well as a lower weight or at your desired weight, then congratulations! Your diet worked for you and you worked your diet to achieve your target.

After you lose weight, you need a maintenance plan in place to remain at your desired weight. There are several plans you can use, such as 5:2, 16:8, The Mediterranean diet, The Paleo diet, etc and which one you choose depends on you and the kind of food you and your family like to eat most of the time.

Problems

But there can be other problems, nothing to do with the maintenance diet you choose. Once you have lost the weight and are on your chosen maintenance plan, you also have to watch out for these monsters! (Not just the cookie monster.)

Monsters

  1. The Boredom monster: This monster is ALWAYS looking for something to do with your mouth and it usually ends up with eating what you shouldn’t. Once you have finished your weightloss diet, this monster thinks that it’s time to play and play means moving that mouth. Moving it may mean you are eating what you shouldn’t.
  2. How to Beat the Boredom Monster: Drink water, chew sugar free gum, or raid the green box (see below).
  3. The Hunger Monster: This monster tells you that you are always hungry. It kept quiet while you were dieting but now it’s finished, it wants to get you straight back to where it was – yes, into fatland and the only way it can do that is to tell you that you are hungry and get you to eat what you shouldn’t.
  4. How to Beat The Hunger Monster: Use your green box (see below), take plenty of hot drinks, these help you feel full. Eat more protein, take a protein drink. Keep hard boiled eggs in the fridge and eat one or two at a meal, they will keep you fuller longer. You could try a teaspoonful of coconut oil with a hot drink (coconut oil coffee is delicious!). The fat will make you feel full and it is a healthy fat.
  5. The Stress Monster: This monster appears when you are feeling low and stressed. It tells you that it will disappear if you eat comfort foods. It’s lying.
  6. How To Beat The Stress Monster: Use the green box, drink protein shakes. Give yourself a break and don’t beat yourself up over it. Try and heal the stress.

The Green Box

Keep a small box in the fridge with green vegetables in it, ready for eating. I like to keep cut up celery and some lettuce hearts. Boredom and Hunger Monsters both want food as soon as possible and they can be kept quiet with a snack from the green box. I also like cucumber but I cut a chunk off fresh when I want it. I also have frozen spinach and I cook about 6 rounds of that at a time and keep it in a saucepan on the stove and again, something quick to eat will keep at least 2 of the monsters at bay.

8 weeks is up!

Picture of clothes too big for model

Finished 8 Weeks

I made it through the full 8 weeks of the 800 calorie Blood Sugar Diet (BSD) though I was rather lax in the last week! I lost over 10% of my starting body weight, more than the diet expects and managed to fit into my designer jeans that have sat untouched in my wardrobe for several years, YAY!

At the start of December, I could not do up my designer jeans. Over Christmas and New Year, they did up no problem, though I had muffin tops overhanging the waist. Now there are not even muffin tops.

But best of all, the chest problems that prompted me to start this diet have disappeared! That’s the best of all.

Keeping The Weight Off

Some nutrition specialists seem to be very sniffy and iffy about diets, whether they are based on low calorie, very low calorie, low carb, high fat, low carb, Mediterranean or paleo diets and all the other diets available, whether promoted by doctors, wight loss gurus or others. Their constant cry is “But it doesn’t stay off”, as if it were the fault of the diet for not being both a weight loss AND a weight maintenance diet at the same time.

Some diets are weight maintenance in a later phase, for instance, some low carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, provide phases of dieting, with phase 1 being weight loss which transitions gradually into phase 4 which is weight maintenance. The 800 BSD diet recommends 2 possible methods of keeping weight off after losing it; to move onto a Mediterranean diet, high in salads, good fats and fish or to gradually add calories back into your diet after reaching your desired weight, until you stop losing, so that you may move to a 1,000 calorie daily diet for one week, then a 1100 calorie diet for the next week, etc. There is of course the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet which will work whichever diet you used for losing weight. I have seen one recommendation that says a maintenance diet in terms of daily calories, is 10 times your desired weight in pounds. On this basis, someone who wants to weigh 140 pounds (10 stone, 63Kg) would need a daily calorie allowance of 1400 calories and someone who wants to weigh 145 pounds would need 1450 calories daily. Whether or not this works, I do not know, as I have not yet tried that. But I am coming to the place where weight maintenance instead of weight loss will be necessary – exciting!