Depending how you lost your weight, be that by following a balanced diet with regular fitness or by following a fad diet, this goal might be easier or harder to achieve.
Weight loss that results from following fad diets tends not to be sustainable. Sadly, the majority of those who lose weight, without permanently modifying their behavior, will regain the initial weight lost and add to it. Research shows that repetitive cycling of weight loss and gain slows our metabolism and makes it increasingly hard to keep the weight off.
With a slower metabolism there are two options for weight maintenance: eat less or exercise more.
Option One – Eating Less makes it difficult to eat a balanced diet. For optimal nutritional status you need to eat a minimum quantity of foods from a variety of sources. Not eating enough of the right foods puts a strain on your nutritional status and increases your risk for:
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Decreased energy levels
- Dull, brittle hair
- Dry Skin
To name a few, none of which are very enticing.
Option Two – Exercise More – Exercise is great; I’m an advocate of this approach. Exercise provides:
- Feel good endorphins,
- Improved circulation.
- Improved heart lung capacity
- Builds muscle
- Increased your appetite
- Helps to eliminate waste through sweating and easing bowel movements
The key to this approach is to build exercise into your life so it becomes a habit and therefore sustainable.
I don’t want to eat more, I want to maintain my weight – That last bullet can be a challenge; exercise definitely does increase your appetite. But eating more doesn’t mean you’ll gain weight, not if you’re eating healthy foods that are part of a balanced diet low in highly processed food, fast food and junk food.
You’d be amazed how much food you can eat when you limit your intake of crap food. When you’re hungry snack on whole grain crackers, carrots, celery, watermelon, nuts etc.
What type of exercise should I do – There is no magical formula, we’re all individuals with different fitness levels, loves of sport and time available for exercise. If you’re new to exercising, before you start, I suggest you consult a doctor to get the all clear.
For overall health you should to do a mixture of three types of exercise to keep you body fit, agile and able to respond to a fight-or-flight response, these are:
- Strength training
- Flexibility training
- Endurance training
Strength training – Weight bearing exercise builds metabolically active lean muscle mass. This is good, because muscle burns more energy than fat meaning you’ll be able to eat more and eating is fun when it’s not riddled with guilt.
Warning: Muscle weighs more than fat; with strength training exercise your weight may edge up as muscle tissue replaces fat tissue. Instead of weighing yourself, I encourage you to stay off the scale. Use either how your clothes fit or your own body feel to determine if you are toning up or fattening up.
Flexibility training – Being flexible reduces the risk of injury; to keep exercising it’s best to be injury free, improves posture and helps us to remain agile as we age.
Endurance training – Cardiovascular exercise put a healthy stress on the most important muscle in our body “the heart”, burns calories and keep us fit so we can run for the bus or respond in an emergency.
There you have it, you’ve lost the weight and now you get to choose how to keep it off. I hope you’ll choose exercise as your weight maintenance strategy because at the end of the day the more stable your weight and the fitter you are the healthier you’ll be. Ultimately, the choice is yours.
What will you choose?