Have you just reached a weight loss goal or just finished prepping for a show or another athletic event? Are you wondering, “Now what?” How are you going to maintain the weight loss and keep that figure you have worked so hard to get?
Coming off of a strict diet plan can be challenging. You may even find that maintaining weight loss is more difficult than the actual process to get there. Once you have reached that goal, if you don’t have another competition in mind, a photo shoot booked or an upcoming vacation planned, trying to maintain your weight moving forward will be challenging. Just one cookie or a bite of chocolate may not seem like such a big deal, but over time, those habits you ditched before you started dieting will start to add up into weight re-gain. Not sure which dieting habits to keep and which ones to ditch? Here are seven dieting habits to never give up!
1. Don’t Ditch the Scale
In this case, I’m not referring to the bathroom scale! This is in reference to your food scale. Having portion control is important and although you can use references like the size of your palm is equal to 4 oz of chicken breast (or one serving of meat), the reality is that the only way you can know exactly how much something weighs is by using proper measuring devices including a digital food scale. Otherwise, you are just guessing and if you are hungry, chances are that your measurements for certain foods will increase. So, don’t ditch the scale, measuring cups or spoons—these tools will help keep your portions in control.
2. Don’t Reward Yourself with Food
After dieting for weeks and eating the same foods day in and day out, it can be hard not to splurge. It’s easy to feel like you deserve a “reward” after completing a weight loss goal, but those splurges will start to add up! Just like when you were on a diet, you need to exercise some self-control. Set ‘cheat days’ or ‘re-feed days’ once per week to help satisfy you and keep cravings under control. To celebrate success, reward yourself in other ways, like a spa day or a new gym outfit to show off your hard work!
3. Continue to Eat Whole Natural Foods
Food that is closest to its natural source is free from added sugars, extra calories, preservatives and generally things you don’t need as part of a healthy diet. Don’t give up on a diet that is full of good for you foods. Remember it shouldn’t be a diet, but a healthy lifestyle choice all year round. If you want to maintain the hard work you put in, you need to continue to give your body nutrient rich foods that will support a lean, muscular physique and keep your body fat levels from creeping back up. Continue to stick to a high protein diet including lean sources of meat, poultry, egg whites and non-fat dairy. Choose fibrous carbohydrates like sweet potato, brown rice, whole grains, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale and good fats like avocado, nuts and coconut oil.
4. Don’t Give Up Food Prep
Anyone who has dieted before knows it takes work—not just in the gym but also in the kitchen! Meal prep is part of any successful weight loss or dieting plan when it comes to transforming your body. Don’t stop planning and prepping your meals in advance. Plan your meals weekly and establish days for grocery shopping and meal prep. Cook and portion out your proteins and carbs – the two foods that take up the most prep time. Food can be stored or frozen in correct portion sizes for a complete meal at any time. There should be no excuses for missing meals or eating something you shouldn’t.
5. Take Your Food With You
It may not seem like much fun, but this is another habit not worth ditching! Continue to bring food with you to avoid getting caught without a healthy option. Bring your prepped meals with you when you are off to work and bring healthy snack options when traveling or out for the day. Choose healthy snacks like whey protein, single serving almond pouches, veggie sticks, a piece of fruit or whole food protein bars.
6. Stick To A Set Macronutrient Profile
Restrictive diets generally use set macronutrient profiles that are very low in carbohydrates and high in proteins and moderate in fats. Following a very low carbohydrate diet for an extended period of time can be effective for weight loss; however, sustaining a diet like this for long periods can be difficult. It can cause dips in energy levels, brain fog and bad moods. Thus, it’s important to change your macronutrient profile if you have been using a restrictive diet for a while. But, it doesn’t mean it needs to be a drastic shift!
If you have been following a diet that is around 50% protein, 10 – 20% carbs and 30 – 40% fat, a slight change in your macronutrient profile to a more balanced diet that is 40% protein, 20 – 30 % carbs and 20 – 30% fat is all you need. Following a set macronutrient profile makes it easier to stick to a diet and will ensure that you are providing your body the right amount of protein to maintain your conditioning and lean mass while keeping your physique looking tight!
7. Continue To Self-Monitor
No one likes the scale or weighing in, but if you don’t continue to keep track of your weight using the scale, selfies, a measuring tape or how your clothes fit, it will be hard to actually know how your body is changing. It’s easy for weight to creep up and get out of control before you even realize it’s happening. That said, don’t become weight obsessed; a once a week check in can help keep things under control!