There’s a pretty well-populated school of thought that thinks that losing weight is far easier than keeping it off. Which sounds counterintuitive because weight maintenance should be easy. You’ve worked hard to shed the kilos and reached your goal weight. Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labour, and get off your diet, right?
Right. And wrong.
Yes, you can include more foods – and even desserts in moderation – in your new life, but the fact is that you can’t go back to your old ways.
You Can’t Follow Old Ways to Maintain a New Body
You got your old body because you followed the old ways of maintaining it. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, how you lose weight becomes critical so it’s important to choose a meal plan that is sustainable. The more sustainable your diet, the more sustainable your weight loss. The crazier and more starvation-filled your diet, the greater your chances of putting back all the weight you lost. And then some.
The best and most scientifically proven way of losing weight and keeping it off is a healthy, nutritious and balanced lifestyle change that consists of 65% carbs, 25% lean protein and 10% fats with an abundance of vitamins and minerals. You support this by eating small meals more frequently, by exercising regularly, and also by drinking lots of water and getting a good night of sleep. Which makes the next part easier to follow:
The 4-4-4 rule
My golden rule for weight maintenance is following the 4-4-4 rule.
4 days of exercise a week
Breakfast, lunch, tea-time, dinner are your four square meals a day. Eat them. Start with a big breakfast, a good lunch, a light snack and a lighter dinner. You do this because as the day progresses, your level of activity usually goes down, and with that so should your food intake. Even in the maintenance phase, you need to watch for oil – cooking all your meals with no more than 2-4 teaspoons a day – and sugar by eating dessert maybe once a week (if it’s a fat based dessert like cheesecake) or twice a week if it’s a sugar-based dessert like jelly or rosogolla. You could also get creative and make your own desserts with Sugar Free Green instead of sugar which is based on the natural sweetener Stevia. In fact, replacing sugar with Stevia in everyday tea/coffee can also go a long way in saving those precious calories.
Did you know that digestion burns calories? Eating every two hours makes your body burn more calories because it’s constantly digesting what you’re eating, thereby keeping your body in the gym. Low-calorie biscuits (two at a time), fruit (one at a time), idli and toast great examples of fillers – in between your four main meals – that constantly keep your body working to burn them. And try to avoid sugar in your teas and coffees, or better still, sweeten them with Sugar Free Green.
4 Days of Exercise
At the very least, exercise four days a week. This could range from something as simple as brisk walk to something as appointment-led as an aerobics class or a gym session. The point is to keep moving.
In addition, getting a good night’s sleep, drinking about two litres of water a day and remembering to stay positive are the best ways to nourish yourself both inside and out.