The best diet is the one we can maintain for life and is just one piece of a healthy lifestyle. In order to keep consistency, habits should be simple enough.
What contributes to long-term weight-loss success?
Good habits and a long-term commitment. But the benefits are priceless – it helps people maintain a slimmer silhouette, stay healthy, avoid or keep in check most lifestyle diseases, and even buy years back into their lives.
Losing weight can be relatively easy, but maintaining weight loss rather difficult. Dieting is unsustainable because it’s hard to keep up with restrictions over time.
Don’t obsess with the scale. Instead, keep in mind these 5 tips.
1. Eat high-quality, nutritious whole foods, virtually unlimited vegetables, and avoid processed foods, pastries, sugars, and bad fats.
2. Stay physically active.
Exercise for about 30-60 minutes a day, typically walking.
A study in the journal Obesity found that people who lost an average of 58 pounds and kept it off, exercised for around 40 minutes per day.
The US government physical activity recommendations are “150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity (2 hours and 30 minutes) each week.”
But what is more important to maintaining long-term weight loss: nutrition or exercise?
Weight loss requires a calorie deficit (calories intake minus calories expenditure).
Short term, it is easier to create and maintain a calorie deficit through changing your diet rather than exercising. Weight maintenance requires a calories balance – no deficit but also no excess.
Maintaining restrictive eating habits is not sustainable on the long term. And you will eventually reach a plateau where additional weight loss is difficult or nearly impossible to reach with food alone.
Once you have the diet fundamentals right and the new habits are created, focusing on exercise and managing its intensity can help you continue to get results.
3. Don’t skip breakfast.
Even more, eat a nutritious breakfast every day.
For example, have a nutritious smoothie, or vegetable omelet, oatmeal or quinoa with vegetables, whole wheat toast with eggs and avocado, chia seeds with cocoa and berries, Greek yogurt with nuts, seeds and berries. These are a few examples of a healthy breakfast.
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4. Sleep well and reduce your stress levels.
For many people, a healthy lifestyle also means better stress management.
Sleep well and focus on getting about 6-8 hours of quality sleep every night. Ideally, go to bed at around 9-10 p.m.
If you struggle to maintain weight loss, address possible emotional eating issues and unhealthy eating patterns.
5. Take accountability for your weight loss journey.
Losing weight can be relatively easy, but maintaining weight loss is rather difficult.
You need good habits and a long-term commitment. In fact, accountability is important with all healthy lifestyle changes.
If it helps, keep a journal, work with a friend or personal trainer, talk openly about your new lifestyle.
Losing weight and keeping it off is a long term journey, but a little know-how and support can help set you up for long-term success.