By Sean Keats, CSCS
You’ve reached your goal weight. Now for the challenging part. Can you keep the pounds off? You’ve seen it happen to your friends. Maybe it’s even happened to you. Weight is lost, only to be regained again in half the time it took to lose. Most people find it hard to keep their weight in check long-term, but maintaining a healthy weight doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t mean your life is over and you’ll never enjoy an ice cream sundae again. What it does mean is that you’ll need to lead a balanced lifestyle, knowing how to cut calories and staying physically fit.
Are you determined to keep the pounds off? If you’re ready to make the decision today, here are seven stay-slim strategies.
Protein and Fibre
At each meal and snack throughout your day, fill up on protein-rich and fibre-filled foods. Protein builds muscle, fills you up, and gives your body energy. More muscle equals more calories burned. If you wait to eat protein (meat, eggs, dairy) until dinner, your body may not have enough fuel the rest of the day and resort to breaking down muscle for energy.
Foods high in fibre are another weapon against weight loss. The fibre in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains keeps you feeling fuller longer so you won’t be as tempted to snack on junk food all day.
Come morning, your body is depleted of its energy stores. Eating a healthy breakfast is the best way to replenish your body, fuel your muscles for physical activity, and keep those unwanted pounds off.
Why is this so? Without breakfast, you’ll be extra hungry later in the day. This may tempt you to grab a quick snack at the vending machine to help you make it until lunch. Come lunch, you may be prone to overeat. Going too long without food slows your metabolism and causes your body to produce more insulin. This leads to more fat storage and quicker weight gain.
Snack Before and After Exercise
About 30 minutes before a workout, eat a snack of protein and carbohydrates to fuel your muscles for exercise. As soon as you’re done with your routine, eat a protein-filled meal following your workout. The protein will help build new muscle, aid your body in burning calories, and keep your body from storing fat.
Be picky about what you eat and drink. A food may seem healthy, but a look at the nutrition label may prove otherwise. So learn how to read nutrition labels. Watch out for excess fat, calories, and sugars and eat moderate portions. When you’re full, stop eating! Use a smaller plate at meal time if that helps you realize when you’re full. Also, keep a food journal to track your calories, successes, and failures. Seeing the calorie count written in ink is a powerful motivator to eat fewer calories.
Drink More Water
Don’t forget about the extra calories found in drinks. Sodas, fruit juices, coffees, and alcoholic beverages are often very high in calories. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. You’ll not only avoid the calories found in other beverages, but you’ll flush your system of toxins, keep your body hydrated, and energize your muscles.
Keep that weight off by burning more calories than you eat. Do this through physical activity. Whether walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, or dancing, it’s important that you get your recommended amount of exercise each week doing something you enjoy. If you find exercise enjoyable, you’re more likely to stick with it. Don’t have an exercise partner? That’s when your personal trainer comes into the picture.
Get Good Sleep
Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each night for optimal function. You also need sleep to keep your weight in check. Sleep affects the hormones that control your appetite, and a lack of sleep may lead to food cravings and overeating. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body won’t feel as satisfied after eating and you’ll be prone to overeating.
Sean Keats is a Windsor personal trainer and has recently released an online nutrition coaching program called Maximize Your Metabolism with Dr. Chris Mohr. You can find out more information about the program by going to www.seankeats.ca/nutrition-coaching/.