Saturday, March 12, 2011

10 Tips for Keeping the Weight Off

If you lost weight and want to keep it off, you will need to continue to make healthy food and lifestyle choices. It might be tough, but you have to stay focused. One of the biggest mistakes people make after losing weight is going “off the diet” and back to old ways of eating. Those old ways are what caused the initial weight gain in the first place, so you should not be surprised if the weight comes back after you go “off the diet.” Consider the follow steps that you can take to avoid regaining the weight:
  1. Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms, the biggest of which might be cravings. Acknowledge what is happening and try to find ways to overcome the cravings. Perhaps drink a tall glass of water. Sip on an ice cube. Eat a large salad or grab a handful of nuts. Of course, you could also go for a long walk, away from the temptation. By the time you return, the wave of cravings should have passed.
  2. Drink a glass of water every couple of hours. This will help to keep you feeling full so that you don’t have to deal with hunger pangs. Add a few drops of fresh lemon or lime juice if you wish to flavor the water. But avoid sweetened drinks.
  3. Plan ahead when you will be eating out. You should have a fairly good idea of what you plan to eat before you sit down at the restaurant, or before you get to the party if it is a party that you will be attending. You might find that having a light snack or even eating a light meal before you go could take the edge off of deciding what to eat later.
  4. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, especially before you eat. Drinking on an empty stomach could get your digestive juices flowing and cause you to overeat. It could also weaken your resolve and remove any degree of self-restraint that you might have intended to use.
  5. If you must drink, make sure it is highly diluted. Then drink slowly to make the drink last. This will cut calories and help to limit the total amount of liquor consumed over the course of the evening. Avoid sitting or standing near the bar if at all possible.
  6. Keep things fresh. Choose fresh or minimally processed foods instead of highly processed foods that may contain large amounts of fat, sugar and salt.
  7. Read food labels and avoid foods that have a lot of ingredients listed. Be especially careful to limit foods made from refined, white flour and those that contain trans fat and saturated fats.
  8. Resist the urge to have pizza, fast food burgers and all the other foods that you know were the source of your problem to begin with. In other words, stick with what worked to shed the weight. Now that you can be a little more liberal doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down.
  9. Pay attention to how much you eat. You can eat a lot more vegetables without consuming excess calories, as compared to bread, butter, salad dressing, fried foods and rich desserts. You will have to make some tough choices. Be sure to make the right ones.
  10. Stay active. Regular exercise will continue to be an important element of your daily activities. It is what will allow you to eat a reasonable amount of food without regaining the weight. If you see that you are beginning to regain the weight, don’t let it happen. Do something to stop it before it becomes a major problem – again.

If you are struggling to lose weight or need professional support in controlling your weight or eating to prevent or treat diabetes, heart disease or other chronic health problem, talk to a registered dietitian. You can find a registered dietitian by visiting the American Dietetic Association website at Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and experienced in the art and science of nutrition and most qualified to help you make smart food and lifestyle choices.