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.

 

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!

Fast Diet 5:2

ice cream feast

Ice cream feast

Weight Gain

Christmas, and all of December was a feast for me. 🙁 I put on a stone (14 lbs, 6 Kgs) during December and reached what I think was probably my heaviest weight ever.

Fast Diet

Over the past few months I had been hearing about the fasting diet. Several places, magazines, health articles and on line were touting the benefits of the Fast Diet, where you fast (reduced calories) for two days in the week, often Monday and Thursday and then eat normally the rest of the week. It’s a calorie reduction programme with a difference. You eat normally for 5 days of the week and on two days (normally Monday and Thursday, you take only 500 calories (women) or 600 calories (men).

The 5:2 Fast Diet

3 January 2015
I read the book “The Fast Diet”, decided to follow it and to start now, with a fast. Good way to start the New Year after the Christmas gluttony! Nothing at breakfast time. 1 cup of protein shake at lunchtime. 2 slices bacon, 1 fried egg and spinach for dinner. drank hot lemon water and tea. I then measured my weight in the evening and I was 81.5kg – the heaviest I have ever been. Waist 36.5, inches and abdomen 43.5 inches – NOT good.

Comments. After such a small amount to eat, I expected to be ravenously hungry, but no, I wasn’t. I didn’t expect to have any problem in the morning because if I am going for exercise, I don’t eat or drink anything anyway and also if going to town, I don’t eat or drink anything either. Once it came to lunchtime, I was not starving but made my husband lunch and made myself a small protein shake, which I drank slowly. Then nothing til teatime. Was hungry AFTER tea but drank hot lemon water and my body realised it was mouth hunger or expectations, not real hunger. Good start. The book said that I would not feel really hungry and that even if I did, many people found that it was manageable because they knew they would be able to eat normally tomorrow.

5 January 2015 – Monday
Fast day today. Drank tea during the morning, nothing to eat. Had small container of protein shake at lunchtime. Had cold chicken, carrots and parsnips and green beans for tea.
Measurements: waist 37 Abdomen 43. Hungry but not ravenously so and able to forget about it if I did something. Knowing that tomorrow would be an “eat normally” day helped too.

6 January 2015 – Tuesday
Weighed self 79.6Kgs – a drop – good! Almost 2 Kgs lost, that’s over 4 pounds in weight. Probably mainly water, it always seems to be water loss at the start.

8 January 2015

Fast Day, drank tea and hot lemon, had 1 scoop protein shake in water for lunch. Dinner, some steak pieces casserole, with green beans and brussels sprouts.

9 January 2015

weighed self 79.4Kg. Hmmm, 3 days and I have only dropped 0.2Kgs

12 January 2015.

Fast day again. I had protein shake for lunch and cold chicken with spinach for dinner. Drank lots of tea and hot lemon and black coffee. Went for a walk in the afternoon. That was unusual because I normally exercise in the morning, so I don’t need a toilet break on a long walk but managed it and went quite fast but panting hard because it was so long since I had done much exercise. I was able to do it because I didn’t have any solid food inside me, otherwise I couldn’t have. Went up Golden Steps! (Hard Work!)
Measurements: waist 36.5″, Abdomen 42.5″. Hmm, don’t know if this is working for me. Have lost an inch from abdomen, not much. Feels good though, this diet does seem to reset appetite, as they said it would. Will stay on it for a bit longer.

Friday 16 January 2015
weighed self, 79.1Kg.
I don’t find that very fast but it’s still a loss and maybe it’s better that way. It is at least a loss and it’s 2.4 Kgs in 2 weeks. 1Kg a week is healthy.

weight graph January 2015

Weight Graph January 2015

Saturday 17 January 2015

Waist 36″, Abdomen 42″
Will try fasting today too. Didn’t manage it

Thursday 22 January 2015
Waist 37 Abdomen 42 – no difference!

Monday 2 February 2015
waist 36″, abdomen 43″ No real difference from 1 month ago.
This is not working for me, though I have stuck to the 5:2 formula.

Overall Comments

This is a doable diet. The book is very readable, and some good information and support in it. It is possible that staying on this diet would take my weight down gradually to a reasonable level. I know people who are on this diet and for whom it works well. I have included a graph of the weight loss, so you can see I did lose weight but I think I will try the Atkins diet next.