Losing weight is easier than maintaining. Those of us who have tried will fully agree with this. But, with a realistic ideology, it becomes easier to lose as well as maintain your weight, with minimal chances of gaining it back.
A few pointers for smooth sailing…
Set Realistic Goals: Before boarding the weight-loss train, chalk out your goals clearly. Research has proven that writing down your intentions is far more likely to turn them into actions than thinking or talking about them. Also, ensure that whatever weight loss goal you decide on; is realistic and you have a suitable time frame to achieve it.
Monitor Body Composition Changes: it is a far better motivator than weighing scales. Take circumference measurements of specific sites of the body like abdomen, hip, thigh before starting the weight loss programme and take repeat measurements every month. Those who plan to join a gym or health centres might also monitor the changes in their body composition (fat and lean mass). A decrease in fat and increase in lean mass is an indicator of improving body stats.
Weigh Weekly / Fortnightly: It is any day better than stepping on the weighing scale daily. Frequent weighing can lead to an obsession about weight and this obsession might pose a hindrance in successful weight loss. You need to come to terms with the fact that an initial weight loss of 2-3 kg cannot be maintained always. Try and lose 0.5-1 kg per week. Slow and gradual weight loss is easier to maintain as there are fewer chances of bounce back.
Keep a Food Diary: A food diary is a record of your daily food intake. It will act as an eye-opener as you will acknowledge that you eat or drink several things without even registering them. It will also evaluate what and when you are eating; whether the diet is balanced or deficient in any important nutrients. A food diary should be maintained for a week and it is recommended that you follow your usual eating pattern while making the record. Everything, from a spoonful of namkeen to sips of cola should be mentioned in the diary. No cheating!!! From the completed food diary your overall eating habits can be assessed and your dietitian / health care provider can suggest necessary changes to improve the same.
Cut and Replace FAT: By examining the food diary diet culprits can be identified and replaced with healthier options. (For healthier substitutions) But don’t try to remove fat completely from your diet. We need fats for their numerous functions in the body and their deficiency can trickle down to deficiency of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K).
Cut Calories Gradually: A sudden calorie deficit can act as a shock for the body which might lower your BMR. This is the biggest mistake which all of us commit while trying to lose weight. So ensure that you start with few restrictions and only when weight loss slows down or you hit a plateau, further restrict the diet or increase the duration of your exercise programme.
Take Small Frequent Meals: Follow a meal pattern in which you incorporate 4-6 meals daily, including snacks. Our body requires energy even to digest the food which we eat. So every time we eat, the body is using that extra bit. This does not mean that you can increase the amount of food; rather spread the food you plan to eat in the entire day over these meals. Several pieces of research have concluded that frequent eating keeps blood sugar and insulin levels steady and helps control blood cholesterol levels too. A regular food intake also ensures a constant flow of energy for the entire day and no hunger pangs.
Lifestyle Changes: Long term weight management means making a few changes in lifestyle – lifelong healthy eating, regular exercise and abstinence from smoking and alcohol.
Last but not the least stay positive during the schedule; positivity can do wonders for your body image and will keep you motivated.
Hope these pointers are helpful for you…..