A Beginner’s Guide to Weight Maintenance
If you are like many people who’ve shed a few pounds by starting a diet and working out, when you reach your target weight, the obvious question is this:
Let’s be honest, if your goal was to lose 15 pounds, and now you’ve done it, you can’t keep doing the same thing or eventually you will waste away to nothing.
On the other hand, you can’t just halt these healthy practices you’ve incorporated into your life and go back to the way things used to be or your weight will most likely also return to the way it used to be.
There has to be a healthy balance, right?
With that in mind, here are three tips to help you stay on track and maintain your weight in a healthy way without all the ups and downs of crash dieting.
1. Continue to track your calorie intake AND burn.
Losing weight comes down to simple math. Burn more calories than your body needs.
The problem is that many people eat way more calories than their body burns, so the excess gets stored as fat. Consequently, if you want to lose a pound of “stored” fat, you need to force your body to tap into those reserves to get the calories it needs.
This is why so many people unwisely resort to crash dieting.
One pound of body fat equals (roughly) 3,500 calories. So, in theory, if you want to lose one pound a week, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than your body requires to function.
Consequently, if you have dieted wisely and focused on creating a calorie deficit by burning more than what you consume (rather than just starving yourself), when your diet is over you still need to keep your calorie intake and burn balanced.
The only difference now is you are aiming to break even on these numbers rather than creating a deficit.
2. Watch the type of calories you eat.
Again, if you dieted wisely then you should already know this, but the type of calories you eat are just as important as the number.
If your daily targeted calorie intake is 2,000 calories, but you are eating 50% fat and 25% simple carbs, you are going to struggle with maintaining a healthy weight and look.
This is because your body utilizes each type of nutrient differently.
Protein is for muscle building. Carbs are for energy. And fat is also for energy, plus it helps the body perform certain vital functions.
If you eat more carbs than you burn, they get stored as fat.
If you eat more fat than you need, same thing.
Not enough protein? Well, then you never pack on any muscle.
When these ratios are out of balance and unhealthy, your body composition gets out of balance and while the number on your scale may stay the same, you’ll never know it when looking in the mirror.
This is what people mean when they say “skinny-fat.”
Again, you should not only keep an eye on your calorie intake and burn, but also the ratios of carbs, fats, and proteins you consume.
3. Stay active and exercise.
Chances are, you incorporated an exercise regimen into your weight loss and fitness plans. You don’t want to stop those activities now that you hit your target weight. Exercise is part of a balanced lifestyle and, if you stopped it, you would find it much harder to keep your calories in check without any significant burning activities.
Also, one of the benefits of regular exercise is the impact that has on your metabolic rate.
Your body will still burn a certain number of calories per day just sitting on the couch, but that number will increase or decrease based on factors like gender, age, and activity level.
The bottom line is this: if you keep exercising, you’ll have less difficulty burning the right amount of calories each day while helping your body burn more even in your sleep.
Stick with these three guidelines and you will be able to maintain a healthy weight without too much difficulty.
Need more guidance? Reach out to your nearest Bee Healthy Clinics location where we’re ready to help you!