Losing weight and keeping it off is a challenge in so many ways. Michelle Bridges breaks it down and gives us her top tips for maintaining your weight.
Why is it that some of us seem to be able to maintain a healthy weight without seemingly trying? I know many of us probably have a friend or a family member who fits this description to a tee. How do they do it?!
For others, it may seem like they will spend the rest of their lives with their weight yo-yo-ing up and down.
Here are the facts
When you lose weight, your body’s energy feedback system will actually fight tooth and nail to defend your previous body weight. Like a thermostat managing the temperature of a room, your body will release a cascade of chemicals and hormones in response to a drop in food intake and body weight.
Along with this increase in hunger, our body also starts to slow its metabolism.
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Your body does this to ensure its survival and these triggers have been in place since the time of the cavemen. If our hairy ancestors ran out of food, their bodies would try to keep them alive by storing fuel (food), keeping body fat and slowing down energy expenditure.
So, weight maintenance, from a physical perspective, does have some challenges. But consistency is key to long term behaviour change. Habits make it easier to achieve long-term health and weight maintenance. So keep these habits working for you, baby!
Eat real food
The kind of food that you find in nature! Whole grains, fruits and veggies, meat and fish, eggs and dairy. Every food group is included (unless you have allergies or ethical/religious restrictions) You don’t need to adopt a Paleo lifestyle or never eat a Tim Tam again.
Make water your number one source of hydration. Staying hydrated is essential to our physical and emotional health, to good sleep and a better attitude. We also often confuse hunger with thirst! So I recommend always having a glass of water with every meal to ensure you’re not overeating.
Hopefully, you’ve built some awesome fitness habits during your weight loss journey – a walk a week, a workout a week and maybe a physical activity a week, like swimming or rock climbing.
This is essential for weight maintenance, as well as our overall physical fitness. Your GP will thank you for it!
The more you learn, the better in control you’ll feel. What is energy expenditure? How does the body actually lose weight? Why do we need to eat healthy food? Why is it normal that my weight fluctuates?
The knowledge you have of the weight loss and weight maintenance process, and around general nutrition and fitness, will empower you to be able to make the right choices for yourself and remain in control of your journey. Back yourself all the way!
After a blowout, don’t stress
Newsflash! It’s not all or nothing. Nothing in life is! One day won’t change anything and neither will several days over the course of a couple of weeks. If you want it, you’ll forgive yourself and just get on with it.
Enjoy a treat meal
I touched on it above, but eating healthily does NOT mean quitting chocolate biscuits for the rest of your life. On the contrary, these little treats are essential to making us feel like we aren’t depriving ourselves and make our choices feel realistic and sustainable. On the days your body craves a juicy burger, go for it and savour it.
Physiologically speaking, treat meals also restore glycogen in the body to increase energy levels, ready to smash through your next workout.
Reflect and feel freakin’ proud, and reignite that passion for your journey. Because when you’re passionate about something, it’s easier to be ballsy… to be tenacious! Strong women are bred, not born, and you can be anything you set your mind to!
Revisit your ‘why’
You’ve committed to these changes and built a new lifestyle. So get real about why you made the changes in the first place: how you got here, and how you felt once you did. Use these personal experiences and feelings as motivators to stay on the course of healthy living. No excuses = no regrets.
If you’re someone who needs a little motivation outside of yourself, then rewards can work fantastically. Every month that you feel like you were consistent and you maintained good habits, treat yourself to a massage, or a new item of clothing, or some skincare. Then as you feel stronger and more in control, you can extend this to 3 months, then 6 months, then a year!
Find your tribe
Surround yourself with people who support you and your healthy lifestyle. Whether this is a gym group or an online forum. If you’ve got a friend or a loved one who always wants to go for drinks at the pub and buy takeaway pizza, instead of a coffee, a walk, and a home-cooked meal – consider explaining to them that you’ll need to try and find a happy medium. You want people who are in this with you by your side!
Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation health and fitness program celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year. 12WBT now has over 15 different programs including a safe and realistic Post Baby program, the Lean & Strong program to tone and shape your body and now also, a new Blokes Only program created by blokes for blokes.