You might think dieting is the hardest part of losing weight, but it’s often more difficult to keep up the results once you’ve reached your goal.
In fact, only around 20% of people successfully manage to keep the weight off in the long term.
So, the wellness experts at Vivotion have come up with a handy guide to help you look and feel great after you ditch the diet…
1. Increase your calories slowly
When you finish a diet you might be tempted to start delving right back into all the foods that were off the menu before.
But before you grab the chocolate bar, remember you should be increasing your calorie intake slowly.
This is to reduce the chance of you regaining body fat.
Try increasing by 100-200 calories every week until you reach your maintenance level.
What should I be eating?
The NHS guide says the average man needs about 2,500 calories and the average woman needs 2,000 calories a day to maintain their weight.
2. Stay active
Doing some form of exercise is vital for good health, even once your diet is over.
Remember, if you begin to eat more and move less, that’s when the weight might creep back on.
Don’t like the gym? No problem…
There’s loads you can do to stay active that doesn’t involve a treadmill.
If you like getting out in the open or exploring, visit The Wildlife Trust’s website HERE where they have lots of great activities across all parts of the UK – like wildlife walks, photography groups and volunteering opportunities.
Not all exercise has to be boring!
3. Have protein with every meal
Protein can help curb your appetite because it reduces a hormone responsible for hunger, so you stay feeling full for longer.
Try to include at least 20g of protein (half a chicken breast or one salmon fillet) in every meal – choosing low-fat sources such as fish, lean cuts of meat, poultry, and low-fat dairy.
4. Stay away from those sugary snacks
Though it’s fine to treat yourself occasionally, you don’t want to get back into a habit of grabbing a sugary snack whenever you feel hungry.
By making smarter choices, you’ll find it easier to maintain your weight.
● Crisps for flavoured popcorn
You can buy it or make your own by microwaving plain popcorn then adding your own flavourings like cinnamon or paprika, if you prefer savoury.
● Ice cream for frozen banana yogurt
Make your own ice cream by freezing bananas then putting them in a blender with a few spoonfuls of yogurt.
Put the mixture in a tub and then store in the freezer for when you crave a sweet treat.
● Chocolate bars for dark chocolate rice cakes.
You can buy yogurt-coated versions as well if you prefer.
5. Reduce digestive distress
If you’ve been on a diet for a month or more and have decreased your carbohydrate intake, you’ll probably start to experience a bit of digestive discomfort, like bloating or constipation, when you add some foods back in.
This can make you feel like you’ve packed the weight back on.
The culprits are often grains and starchy foods, like bread and potatoes.
Even though you might think you’ve developed an insensitivity, your body has just cut back on the enzyme production needed to break these foods down.
Give yourself time to adjust by eating more of these foods, which promote healthy digestion…
● Yogurt contains friendly bacteria called probiotics which keep your gut healthy.
● Ginger reduces everything from nausea to stomach upsets and heartburn.
● Peppermint has a relaxing effect on the muscles of your digestive tract and relieves discomfort by moving food quickly through your system.
6. Don’t panic if you do gain a little weight back
It’s natural to see a small increase after your diet.
This may be due to the body filling up its glycogen stores (a form of glucose for when you need a quick fuel source) which you burnt through during your diet.
Learning to get back on track is probably the most essential tool for maintaining weight loss.
So, if you do have a bad food day, don’t stress about it, but make sure tomorrow is a better one.