Congratulations! You just reached that weight you’ve always dreamt of after going to a weight loss center like MD Diet. Now time to sit back, relax, and chow down on that delicious Little Ceasar’s Ultimate Supreme pizza with a side of crazy bread, because you’re skinny now, you can afford to eat what you want now right? Well, not necessarily. Only about 1-3 percent of people who lose weight keep the weight off long term. Most people gain that lost weight back as soon as just a month or two after they’ve reached their goal weight. Well, we here at MD Diet want to see you keep that weight off long term, so let’s talk about what a maintenance program is, how it helps, and what some of the best strategies are for keeping that weight in check.
Did you know that the same diet that you used to get rid of that unwanted weight is often not the same diet for long-term weight maintenance? Typically maintenance diets have higher calorie counts and more balanced food groups compared to the diets that helped get that weight off. MD Diet’s maintenance plans are different for each of our weight loss center’s programs (HCG, Keto, MD Diet, etc.) and are personalized for you so make sure you are following the guidelines of the nutritionist you are meeting with. Here are a couple of tips and tricks for any maintenance diet.
- Don’t eat just carbohydrates. Make sure to combine protein with carbs and/or fats every time you eat. Eating just carbohydrates alone will spike your insulin. When your insulin spikes, it forces your body into using blood sugar, which will be stored as fat if it is more than what the body needs.
- Protein. One of the top foods you’ll see for any maintenance diet is protein. Protein is satiating meaning that when you eat more protein, you get more full faster.
- Fiber. Another top food for these types of diets is fiber, which tends to be low in calories but still very filling.
Eat small meals often. Eating around 5 to 6 times a day instead of the usual 3 times a day helps keep your appetite under control, and your energy constant throughout the day. Make sure to eat breakfast, your metabolism doesn’t start working properly until you eat that first meal in a day. Make sure to also have these meals be at regular times of the day every day so that you can feel more satiated after these meals vs when you have irregular meal timings which can make you feel hungrier and have more cravings. Eating irregularly can also decrease the thermic effect of food or TEF for short. TEF is when there is a temporary increase in the calories that you burn after a meal which studies have shown to be higher when you have regular meal timings. Try not to eat large meals late in the evening. When you eat in the evening, most of that energy from the food isn’t being used so it gets stored as fat in the body instead of being used as fuel. Planning out your meal timings will set up your metabolism for success and program it to work the most efficiently to help burn more fat and improve your overall body composition.
One of the most important things to do to maintain a good weight is to exercise. Consistent exercise will help keep off the extra pounds by burning off a certain number of calories that you consume. Doing resistance training, such as lifting weights will build muscle which speeds up your metabolism. When your metabolism is faster, more calories are burned throughout the course of the day. Being active also boosts your immune system and reduces your risk of type-2 diabetes. Make sure to be visiting your nutritionist to know the best exercise and maintenance plan for you. Did you know that MD Diet has an at-home fitness and exercise program? It’s like a weight loss center at your own home!
Getting enough sleep
Getting enough sleep doesn’t just keep your mind and body awake and alert, it is also when important hunger control hormones such as leptin are produced. Leptin is a hormone that is necessary for appetite control. Getting enough sleep helps you be less hungry! People who are sleep deprived are also more likely to make unwise health decisions and are less likely to engage in physical activity which is important for weight management.
Have good social support
When you come home from a long day of work, one of the hardest things can be coming home to a kitchen filled with candy, soda, and any other sugary temptations to haunt your weight maintenance program. If you live alone it can be easy to get rid of these temptations but when you live with family or roommates, it can be harder to get rid of. Let your family, friends, and anyone else in your life know that you are trying to eat healthily. If your friends or family are going out to eat at a place that is too tempting for you, consider bringing your own food along. Find people who are also on a similar diet to communicate with. We have a great social group on Facebook called MD Diet Tips, Recipes, and Nutrition Group.
Fix the emotional problems going on in your life
Sometimes a weight loss center can only help so much if there are emotional problems going on in your life. Weight can be a great indicator of someone’s struggle with emotional issues. Studies show that the people who can keep their weight off long term, 95% of them had resolved problems in their life that lead to emotional eating. Compare that to people who relapsed back into their previous eating habits. Only 10% of these people resolved their emotional issues. One of the best ways to overcome this is to write down what you do during your work life, your home life, and your leisure life. Are you getting done the things you need to get done in your life and talking to the people you need to talk to, or are you turning to food to distract from your problems?
Drink lots of water
It is always helpful to keep hydrated but especially while maintaining a healthy weight. Drinking water before eating can help keep your calories in check and help make you feel full faster. We recommend at least 64 oz a day. In a recent study, There were two groups of people, a group who drank water before their meals and a group that did not. At the end of the study, the group that drank water before their meals had a 13% reduction in calorie intake compared to the group that did not drink water before their meals.
One of the most important things to do when on a maintenance program is to stick with it and avoid “cheat” days. When people set aside cheat days for themselves, they can end up overeating, possibly junk food. This binging on junk food can offset the maintenance efforts. Go for cheat meals instead of cheat days. One way of being able to have a cheat meal (if your diet allows for it) would be to think of it as a treat more than a cheat. Associate these meals with a reward system as a job well done instead of eating it for fun or guilt.
Continue to see your weight loss specialist
Here at MD Diet, we seek to do more than just see you lose weight. We want to see you keep that weight off long-term and live a happier and healthier lifestyle. Our maintenance program comes after the initial weight loss program and is highly recommended. Once you’ve talked with your nutritionist about the appropriate maintenance program for you, come in to get a checkup of how the diet is going every 6 months for the first 2 years, and once a year after that.
MD Diet would love to help you with your weight goals. Our expert nutritionists are qualified, ready, and waiting to help you get on a weight maintenance program once you come into our weight loss center and lose some weight through one of our programs. Come into MD Diet today!
Liked this blog? Check out some of our other blogs including one written by our very own Nutritionist, Heidi Campo, What is Food Addiction and Can a Weight Loss Clinic Help?