There are countless weight loss “hacks” and trendy diets on the internet—some of which may even work for weight loss. But ongoing weight management is a whole other story. After you shed those initial pounds from making a drastic change, how do you keep them off and maintain a balanced lifestyle?
With a health-oriented mindset and a long-term vision, maintaining your eating habits, exercise regimen, and target weight will be a process rather than a get-thin-quick gimmick. When it comes to weight management, you’re typically better off developing a strategy that’s sustainable rather than trying to lose weight the fastest way possible. To help yourself stay on track with a long-term weight management plan, consider the following tips and strategies.
1. Set Realistic Long-term and Short-term Goals
This piece of advice may seem cliche, yet many people trying to lose weight set unrealistic expectations that ultimately lead to disappointment. Remember, losing weight and staying is a journey, not a destination; while it’s helpful to have a “final” goal in mind, you need to balance your long-term goals with targeted and manageable daily goals. As the Mayo Clinic describes in their weight-loss guide, setting “process goals” rather than “outcome goals” will serve you better.
2. Improve Your Cooking Skills
Improving your skills in the kitchen can make a substantial difference in weight management. Part of the fun of transitioning into a healthy diet is learning to cook with ingredients you may not have used in the past. Furthermore, it teaches you how to cut out unnecessary additives that make meals fattier, saltier, or more sugary than need be. By cooking more and eating out less, you also have more control over what you put into your body.
3. Combine Cardio and Strength Training
Building an exercise routine that incorporates both cardio and strength training exercises can help you diversify your workouts and maintain a healthy lifestyle. By developing a regimen that staggers cardio one day, and strength training the next, you help your body recover while actively improving your overall health. Working out will also improve your energy levels, boost your metabolism, and help you feel full for longer.
4. Practice Portion Control
Another useful tool for maintainable weight loss is portion control and mindful eating. Mindful eating habits can include:
- Only eat at the table, without the distraction of work or your phone
- Drinking a full glass of water before every meal
- Slowing down while you eat and savoring each bite
- Using smaller dishware to “trick” the mind into thinking you’re eating more
Another benefit of portion control is that it makes meal prep easier. By setting smaller portions, your weekly prep will be much easier to prepare. Using supplements like MCT oil can also help with portion control. MCT oil benefits the body by providing a quick energy boost and stimulating the hormones that make you feel full.
5. Keep a Food and Exercise Diary
Another excellent practice to help maintain a healthy weight is maintaining a food and exercise diary. By doing so, you’ll have the data to look back on and help you strategize your meal plans and exercise benchmarks.
Keeping a diary will also help with accountability. When you keep track of your patterns and progress, you’ll quickly see where you can fix things and where you may have gone.
6. Find Support
It’s always good to have friends or family on the journey with you.
Having someone else making lifestyle changes with you not only adds a way for each of you to remain accountable, but the entire process becomes much more exciting. Having a friend as a wellness partner gives you much more incentive to show up for workouts and learn new ways to cook. Plus, you’ll have someone genuinely interested in hearing about your accomplishments.
A Regular Routine
All of the weight management strategies detailed above have a critical element in common: setting routines and forming sustainable habits. Instead of trying to lose weight quickly, focus on lifestyle changes that will have you feeling energized and proud of your body and what you’ve accomplished.