As clinicians, we’re often asked about weight maintenance. What’s the best way to keep from regaining weight you’ve worked so hard to lose?
You may remember discussing your ideal body weight during your initial Health Plus appointment. It was probably based on a BMI of around 25. However, for some individuals, this may be difficult to achieve, or even unrealistic. Is it better to adjust expectations to a more reasonable healthy weight? Medical research has found that even a weight loss of just 10% can often have a significant impact on blood sugar, lipids and blood pressure. If your overall goal is to be healthier, this may be possible with a higher BMI.
The shift from weight loss to weight maintenance incorporates many of the principles you’ve been working on with Health Plus because of the focus on lifestyle changes. This means including physical activity into your daily life, eating more fiber and plant-based foods, meal planning before shopping, and limiting how often you eat out. It’s important not to have catastrophic thinking about occasional relapses. Recovery will be easier if you can forgive yourself and resume your good habits as soon as possible instead of giving up.
Once you meet an acceptable body weight, regular physical activity should help prevent weight regain. Not all physical activity needs to be done in a gym. Sometimes just deciding to take the stairs, park the car further away and stand instead of sit can make a big difference. Weight loss maintenance appears to be easier as more time passes. with the greatest success occurring as individuals reach the 2-5 year mark. Research from the National Weight Control Registry defines successful weight loss as keeping 10% of one’s body weight off for at least a year. Successful individuals tend to:
– Eat breakfast
– Weight themselves at least once weekly
– Watch less than 10 hours a week of TV
– Get some form of daily physical activity
– Have little fluctuation in diet on weekends and holidays
If you have been taking weight loss medication, adhering to these tips is essential as you begin to taper off your medication. Be sure to discuss your maintenance plan with our clinicians well in advance of stopping your prescription. Don’t wait until you’ve regained a lot of weight before trying again. Treatment of overweight should be considered much the same as treating asthma or high blood pressure. It requires constant attention and daily vigilance, but you can be one of our success stories.