Congratulations! You’ve lost weight, and you’re proud of your new body. It feels good to slip into a form-fitting pair of jeans and not have them feel tight. Now comes the tough part – keeping it off. Studies show that eighty percent of people who lose a significant amount of weight experience weight regain. In fact, many people put back on all of the weight they lost – plus more. After all of that hard work, you don’t want this to happen to you. How can you avoid regaining weight after weight loss?
Avoid Weight Regain by Eating the Right Foods
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the best diet for preventing weight regain is one that emphasizes complex carbohydrates and protein. When researchers tested various types of diets including high protein/complex carbs, low protein/complex carbs and low protein/simple carbs, the high protein complex carb diet worked best for preventing weight regain. This is a diet that emphasizes lean protein, vegetables and whole grains. Why is this eating plan so effective? Researchers believe the combination of protein and complex carbs slows down the rate of nutrient absorption, so a person stays fuller longer.
It’s a good idea to watch your fat and calorie intake too. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, losers who are successful at not regaining weight were more likely to eat a low-fat, low-calorie diet. They were also more likely to enjoy breakfast each morning and eat a consistently healthy diet most days of the week. People most likely to regain weight were those who “let down their guard” on weekends and holidays and ate more calories. It’s okay to treat yourself once in a while, but too many “cheat days” could work against you.
Other Lifestyle Habits That Reduce the Risk of Regaining Weight
Two other factors correlated with long-term weight maintenance after weight loss. Weight losers who engaged in high levels of physical activity were less likely to regain weight. So were those who weighed themselves regularly and closely tracked their weight, making adjustments to their diet and exercise habits as needed.
Preventing Weight Regain after Weight Loss: The Bottom Line
These are proven techniques for preventing weight regain after losing weight. The good news? This study showed that people who successfully maintained their weight loss for at least two years had a good chance of staying slim. Don’t fall back into your old habits. Keep exercising, monitoring your weight and eating a healthy diet to stay slender. It’s worth it.
Fitness Prescription. February 2011. Page 32.
New England Journal of Medicine. 363: 2102-2113. 2010.