When beginning the weight loss journey, no one has the idea of gaining the weight back after working so hard to lose it. Unfornuately, 95% of people who lose weight do end up gaining the weight back. Often diets involve goals that are unrealistic and behavior changes that aren’t sustainable. This ends up resulting in weight gain, because two key elements of successful weight maintenance are adherence to new nutrition and exercise habits, and reasonable expectations about results.
Setting out on a journey to lose weight often involves diets that are too restrictive and exercise habits that are unrealistic for long term management. Finding a way of eating that is enjoyable and practical enough that you won’t mind eating that way long after the goal has been reached is important to follow. Weight loss isn’t a sprint to the finish line, but rather requires that you pace yourself for a marathon, to be able to maintain the intended weight long after the finish line has been crossed.
Environmental Nutrition has ten tips for creating sustainable weight loss. They are as follows:
1. Enjoy the Journey- Keep things fresh with new recipes and enjoy the feeling of being healthy.
2. Set Effective Goals- Have action based goals, for example, exercising 5 times a week, or eating 4 cups of vegetables a day.
3. Practice Intuitive Eating- Make food decisions based on your body’s internal hunger and fullness cues.
4. Change your Environment- Identify triggers for overeating and have strategies for overcoming them in place.
5. Address Emotional and Stress Eating- Cultivate non-food ways to comfort yourself, and try to identify what you are hoping the food will do for you, then make a decision on what to do next.
6. Build a Healthy Food Environment- If there’s no ice cream in the freezer, it’s harder to eat ice cream when you crave it.
7. Find Joyful Ways to Move- Enjoying the exercise that we chose to do is a great way to want to do it for the long term.
8. Always have a Backup Plan- Go to recipes and having alternative exercises prepared help to stay on track!
9. Build a Support Network- Spending time with people who value heath makes it easier to stick to your own healthful habits.
10. Be Realistic- Losing weight has many great things about it, but it doesn’t change who you are as a person!
Seek ways that make losing weight enjoyable and healthful, and importantly, maintainable.
-Information Provided by Environmental Medicine 8/2016