There’s nothing worse than losing weight, only to gain it back in a few weeks, months or even years. You go from extreme elation – so happy to be feeling better, looking better and fitting into your old clothes – to depressed and down-in-the-dumps once again.
Unfortunately, this is a pretty common occurrence.
Once we lose the weight, we tend to get lax in our new ways. We think, “Oh, I can have that burger. After all, I’m 30 pounds lighter! What could it hurt?”
We start to let our gym routine slide, and we’re more tempted to eat out and socialize. When combined, these all make keeping weight off hard – sometimes even impossible.
The truth is, if you want to lose weight – and keep it off – there are a four key rules you need to follow.
Cut out sugars, refined carbs and starches
For good. Don’t approach these foods as mere “no-nos.” Instead, commit to cutting them out completely. They don’t add anything nutritious to your diet, and they’re just extra calories that you have to burn off. So why bother? Cutting these food items out can have an immense effect on your ability to lose weight. As these influence your insulin levels – a hormone that causes fat storage – removing them from your diet can regulate this process, and keep your body from storing fat on your hips, waist and thighs. Lowering your insulin levels can also help you shed water weight – and that means no more bloating!
Eat plenty of protein, vegetables and good fats daily
Proteins, fats and veggies are crucial to losing weight, and here’s why: Protein boosts your metabolism by about 20 percent. So while you might burn 1,000 calories a day, if you eat lots of protein, that could be 1,200! It makes a huge difference. Protein is also more filling, so you’re not tempted to overeat, snack or give into those cravings. As for fats, it’s important to know that not all fats are created equal. Fats like coconut oil, fish oil and olive oil are actually good for you – especially when you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off. These are filling, the boost your metabolism and they help with heart health – just a little extra bonus. Veggies are important, too, as they add crucial vitamins and minerals that your body needs to get by. Try to focus on green leafy ones and cruciferous ones most – they’re fibrous and can keep you feeling fuller longer.
Exercise at least three times a week
(any exercise will do!)You don’t have to kill yourself at the gym every day or run a marathon to be healthy. Instead, commit to doing a physical activity for at least 30 minutes three times a week. That can be running, walking, biking, dancing, hiking or any other physical activity. Just make sure it’s something you enjoy, because if it’s not, you’ll have a hard time sticking to it in the long-term. If you need to, enlist a friend to be your workout buddy. This can make the entire process a little more enjoyable, and you can both hold each other accountable when the going gets tough. You should also try to work in strength training at least once a week, too, as this can boost your resting metabolic rate and help you burn more calories – even when you’re sleeping.
Get enough sleep
If you’re getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night, commit to going to bed earlier or sleeping in a little later. Sleep is actually crucial to the weight loss process, so if you’re not getting enough, it’s going to be an uphill battle from the start. You see, leptin and ghrelin – hormones that control your hunger – are controlled almost entirely by sleep. Too little sleep, and these hormones will be out of whack, and you’ll be hungry all day long – no matter how much you eat or how much water you down. If you get enough sleep, these levels will be more balanced, and you’ll have an easier time sticking to your diet plan on the whole. Another great thing about sleep is it helps your body repair and recover. Since you’re working out as a part of your weight loss routine, this is crucial. While you sleep, your body repairs your muscles and gets them ready for another day of fitness.
Don’t let yourself get discourage. Weight loss is absolutely within reach, and keeping it off? That’s possible, too. You just have to lay some ground rules, be committed and work hard, and you’ll never gain that weight back again.
What are your mantras for losing weight and keeping it off? If you’ve lost the weight, what were your secrets to success? Share your thoughts with me in the comments.