The benefits of losing weight are many: a renewed sense of self, a boost in confidence, and improved mobility, just to name a few. While the challenge to achieve weight loss goals can seem daunting, keeping it off is often the real goal. Here at the office of Dr. James B. DeStephens in Gainesville, FL, we understand rapid weight loss is a journey and want to help guide you beyond the finish line.
How Can I Keep My Weight Off?
Eat Breakfast Every Day
Starting a breakfast routine may help with weight management in a variety of ways. To start, breakfast eaters tend to have healthier overall habits, such as opting for fruit in the mornings and ignoring the call for junk food later in the day.
Breakfast can also help curb late-morning and early-afternoon cravings so you eat less overall, which is especially crucial if you sit most of the day. An early meal can also help you feel fuller throughout the day to avoid munching on chips and/or cookies at your desk. Finally, eating in the mornings can energize you so you’re not turning to sugary, caffeine-laden drinks to complete the tasks before you.
Have a Support System
Most people achieve rapid weight loss with a strong support system. This structure can provide motivation, hold you accountable, and offer crucial tips like what foods to eat while in a restaurant.
People need similar support in keeping off the weight. Whether you enlist the help of family, friends, or both, we recommend surrounding yourself with people who care about and encourage your goals. The people in this group can provide encouragement when you feel down and remind you how far you’ve come when you feel temptation.
As a mentor, you mentees understand why they haven’t yet met their weight loss goals. This role is ideal for people who have already succeeded, as they can identify the missing links to connect mentees with objectives.
But you won’t just be helping the mentee; you’ll also be helping yourself as you remember the struggle you endured to get where you are. It can feed your sense of accomplishment in knowing you’ve made a journey not everyone can make. Finally, mentoring can keep you accountable as you share your own story to inspire others.
Acknowledge Food Emotions
Many of us tie emotions to food, a habit that can start as early as childhood. For example, eating donuts as a child with a parent can forge a memory that continues into adulthood. Every time you eat a donut, you feel that same sense of happiness, even contentment.
These emotional connections are problematic, but trying to hide from them is even worse. If you face the emotional ties you know are there, you can overcome them and take power away from a particular food. From that point, you can find new, healthy ways to produce feelings of happiness and replace junk food with much more nutritious options.
Be Prepared for Setbacks
We’ve all been there: it’s Monday morning, and you spent a great weekend eating pizza, drinking wine, and indulging in some chocolate. You didn’t mean for this to happen, but friends stopped by, a bite turned into four slices, and a sip turned into a bottle. Now, a dark cloud of failure looms in the sky.
But it’s not as bad as you might think. As a society, we operate on the principle of all or nothing, but that’s a hard rule to live by, especially with weight management. Remember that you will have setbacks as you continue to eat healthily and exercise regularly. But one day, one weekend, or even one week will not ruin all the progress you’ve made.
Make a Strong Recovery
It’s easier to recover from a setback than you might think. Simply put it behind you. You enjoyed the weekend and the food. Now it’s part of the past, and you can re-focus on the healthy lifestyle you’re committed to. This means wholesome food choices, regular meals, and the exercise routine you’ve created for yourself.
Also, use this time to evaluate what your temptations are. Is it being with a particular group of friends or family members? Is it a specific food choice, such as pizza? Arming yourself with this information can help you avoid a future setback. But if it does happen, you’ll know what to do: start fresh the next day. Every morning presents a clean slate.
Set New Goals for Yourself
After weight loss, it’s important to continue setting new goals for yourself. These don’t need to revolve around weight, although they can. Maybe you want to maintain the exact weight you’re currently at, or perhaps you want to gain or lose five pounds (our office staff can provide guidance to ensure you’re making healthy decisions).
Achieving new objectives will keep your confidence high so you feel equal to weight management tasks. For a little variety, set short- and long-term goals, such as learning a new skill, planting a garden, or saving money.
Avoid Workout Extremes
It may seem like a good idea to spend hours in the gym each day, pushing your body to increasing extremes to keep the weight off. But we don’t recommend this strategy. You’ll likely burn out at some point, and then it will be harder to return to a more normalized workout routine.
Over-exercise can also cause soreness and injury. This can mean a situation in which you have to rest for an extended period of time while you heal. Not being able to exercise at all can put you into an emotional slump and lead to negative consequences like overeating. We suggest you stick to what you know for the best weight management.
Enjoy the Results of Rapid Weight Loss
Sometimes, simply enjoying where you are can keep you in a positive, motivated place. It’s important to acknowledge how you feel right now – slimmed down and healthy – so you continue to make the healthiest possible choices for you.
To further help you remember the sense of achievement that comes with weight loss, we suggest keeping a journal. You can use this to record your daily meals and monitor your feelings. When you look back on those writings, you’ll have a portrait of the person you are now, versus when you were overweight, to keep you on track.
Manage Your Food Environment
It’s easy to get lost amidst food choices with easy options like take-out, drive-thrus, and delivery. But managing your food environment means you eliminate the likelihood of making unhealthy choices and instead serve as the proprietor of your own body.
Cook at Home
You can start this process by cooking meals at home to allow you to control portion size and ingredients. Restaurant and packaged foods generally contain much more sugar, unhealthy fats, and calories than meals you cook at home. This also allows you more creativity to try a new recipe or add spices that restaurants don’t traditionally use.
Eating at home also ensures you don’t get tired of the same foods and then give up on the concept of healthy eating. While fruits and vegetables are among the most nutritious foods you can have, you can pair these with a variety of options like salmon and turkey burgers. Remember that healthy eating means fresh smoothies, lovely salads, colorful stir-frys, and much more.
Serve Smaller Portions
After rapid weight loss, one of the easiest choices you can make is to keep portions small. Managing your food environment puts you in control of the plates, bowls, and cups you use. We recommend using smaller dishes so you can fit less food on them. In addition, avoid eating food directly from containers, which can make it hard to know just how much you’ve eaten.
We’ve already discussed the ways in which eating breakfast can help with your weight management goals. We’ll quickly add that it also jump-starts your metabolism, which is just one more reason to get up and enjoy an early-morning meal.
But eating early also relates to dinner. Enjoy your last meal of the day at least three hours before bed and benefit from better rest, better digestion, and an improved likelihood that you won’t regain the weight you’ve lost.
It sounds so easy, but this might be the one area in which it’s the easiest to lose focus. Now that you’ve lost the weight, you might be tempted to exercise a little less. But exercise can keep your metabolism high and improve your mental outlook, benefits you can see right now.
Many people believe the only way to stay physically active is to engage in traditional exercise. We’re happy to report that exercise is wonderful, but any movement is beneficial. You can go for a walk, stretch, clean the house, or pull weeds. This will give you energy and keep you motivated.
Find an Activity You Enjoy
In this same vein, it’s important to find an exercise you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be on a machine or in an instructor-led class. You can ride your bike, dance, hula hoop, or lift hand weights in your bedroom. The important thing is to stay as active as possible, which will provide many more benefits than weight management.
Maybe you lost weight for an upcoming event, because of a health scare, or to give yourself more energy. We understand the reason(s) can be intensely personal, and we fully respect this. We also encourage you to remember your reasons and use them to stay motivated as you continue to manage your weight.
It can be helpful to create a personal statement and include the reasons you lost weight in the first place. Place this statement, whether you handwrite or type it, someplace you look every day: on a mirror, your computer, or your bedside table. Read the words and use them to constantly inspire you to do better.
Keep Educating Yourself
To stay in a healthy frame of mind, we recommend you surround yourself with healthy news sources. For example, you can have newsletters from trusted professionals delivered to your email, allowing you to stay current on health updates and trends. You might additionally consider taking an online nutrition course, attending fitness webinars, or joining a special interest group in your area to constantly increase your health knowledge.
Staying within this community of healthy living will help you make informed decisions about weight management. It will also encourage you to pursue a healthy lifestyle.
A Personal Commitment
The commitment to get and stay healthy is personal. No one can do it for you, but that doesn’t mean you’re alone. By establishing a strong support system, managing your food environment, staying active, and continually learning, you will be able to successfully manage your weight.
As another component to your journey, we are always here to help. Our rapid weight loss program is built to ensure your success. Call the office of Dr. James B. DeStephens in Gainesville, FL, today to schedule your consultation.