Losing weight is only half the battle. You would also want to maintain it. Around 80% people regain the weight they lost through diet and exercise. That’s a staggering number but you don’t have to be a part of it.
You can maintain your weight and stay fit without putting much effort. It’s certain that you’ll have to spend a considerable time in this regard but you’ll stay at your ideal weight longer than you think.
Why do we regain weight fast?
When you’ve reached your ideal weight after a solid weight loss regime, your next goal is to maintain it at the current level. But why do people lose their progress?
The answer is not simple. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that the longer you stay at a weight level your body will become accustomed to it. So if you change the weight of your body drastically, your body will hate you for it.
Suppose you’ve lost 10 pounds. Now, your body thinks you’re starving because it is at a much different weight level than it is used to. What happens then?
Your body lowers your metabolism. This causes your caloric deficit to vanish. And you begin to lose your progress.
The New England Journal of Medicine researched and found that the levels of leptin (the hormone which helps in feeling full) begin decreasing during the weight-loss period.
Doctors say that when people cut calories too severely it leads to muscle loss. And muscle loss is one of the major reasons for people to gain weight.
What’s your ideal weight then?
Many professionals say that the body mass index (BMI) can help in determining the ideal weight for a person. But recent studies have found better indicators of ideal weight ranges.
The American College of Cardiology found in a research that people with normal BMI can be at a risk of many diseases because of high body fat. Consider the example of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He is said to have a BMI of 30.2 in his prime, which indicates that he was obese. But we all know that Arnold was nowhere near to obesity during those days.
Another popular measure of finding the ideal weight was through the waist-to-hip ratio. Your waist can help you find if you’re unhealthy or not. According to the experts, your chances of developing a chronic condition increase substantially if you have a waist circumference higher than 35 inches.
The best way to find the ideal weight is through your body fat percentage. Kathleen Laquale, a fitness trainer says that women should maintain a body-fat percentage from 16 to 25. Athletes are required to stay in the range of 15 to 20 while a healthy (or acceptable) range is from 25 to 32.
You can buy a body-fat scale to measure your body-fat percentage at home. And remember that ‘ideal weight’ varies from person to person.
Everyone has a different metabolic rate and requirements. What works for others might not work for you.
So, how to maintain my ideal weight?
Now that you know how to find out your ideal weight, you might want to stay at it. There are some handy tips you can follow in order to maintain your healthy weight:
Increase your muscle mass
Remember the example of Arnold? He had BMI of an obese person and yet, he was in spectacular health.
The reason? His high muscle mass.
Building muscles is healthier for many reasons. It helps you stay at your perfect weight without increasing fat. When you’ll increase your muscle mass you’ll increase your strength, agility and activeness.
They will keep your metabolism high so you’ll keep burning calories. According to a study, you should consume 25% of your calories from protein to prevent muscle mass loss.
As 1 gram of protein has 4 calories, you’ll need to consume 100 grams of protein on a diet of 1,600 calories. Doing strength training will ensure that you build muscle while eating this much protein.
Re-check your caloric intake
Your metabolic rate changes with your weight and so it’s important to adjust your caloric intake accordingly. You can’t be eating the same amount of calories as were eating before losing 10 pounds.
You’ll need to keep your diet similar to what you were keeping while on the weight loss program. Eat lots of vegetables and whole foods.
Ideally, you’ll want to keep your daily caloric intake 500 units less than your current requirements. If you need 2,000 calories daily, you’ll only need to consume 1,500 calories.
You should note that your caloric intake should not go below 1,200. If you need to, consult a nutritionist or dietitian. You should remember to lead an active lifestyle so you keep burning additional calories.
There’s no point B
You’re not going from Point A to Point B because weight loss is not a linear journey. It’s a lifestyle.
As you must have seen, you’ll need to follow the same diet you were following when you were trying to lose weight.
You’ll need to develop healthy habits and stick to them. Once you reach your ideal weight, you shouldn’t revert back to your old bad habits (e.g. eating sweets, junk food, not exercising).
That’s the end of it. You’ve finished our Ultimate Weight Loss Guide for Women. We hope it helped you.
Where to go next?
For further reading, you can read our blog. If you need guidance or advice, you can consult our experts too. What did you think about the above tips?