A common fear for those looking to lose weight with a diet program is that of maintenance after dieting. After successfully losing weight by dieting, how can you transition yourself to regular foods without gaining the weight back once your diet program is completed? With a few key concepts and a basic understanding of calories, it can be easy to maintain your current weight while eating a variety of nutritious foods.
It is important to understand that more than likely, you will not be able to go back to your old habits. After all, you likely would not have been dieting to begin with if you were able to stay at a healthy weight with the original food choices you were making. However, that does not mean that you cannot incorporate some of your favorite foods into your maintenance plan.
From a nutritious apple to a calorie-filled bowl of pasta, everything we eat has calories. The basis of calories and weight gain, weight loss or weight stabilization is simple. In order to lose weight or maintain weight, a person must burn more calories than they consume. When the number of calories consumed outweighs the number of calories burned, the end result is weight gain.
Making Wise Food Choices
For optimal health, our bodies need to be fed nutritious foods. If you think of the food you eat as being the gas or oil in a car, it is clear to see that making wise food choices is important. You should aim to eat a wide variety of foods, incorporating all food groups into your daily diet. This includes protein, whole grains, vegetables, fruits and fats. Out of these food groups, learn which foods have less calories, fat and carbohydrates. Also, determine which foods have more the highest amount of protein, fiber and vitamins. For example, lean meats such as chicken and turkey are healthier than ground chuck.
While shopping, try to shop the outside parameters of the store. The inside aisles are filled with processed foods, while fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats can be found on the outer aisles. In addition, replace full-fat foods with their healthier counterparts. If a “light” or “fat free” variety exists, use it.
Moderation Is Key
You can have your cake and eat it, too! You just cannot have the entire cake. The key to establishing healthy eating habits is moderation. By utilizing self-control and portion control, you can incorporate your favorite foods back into your diet. A trick of the trade is to use a smaller plate at mealtimes. By using a smaller plate and exercising portion control, you are less inclined to overeat, resulting in a fair amount of consumed calories. Large plates allow for larger portions, which leads to overeating.
The saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” could not be more true. Plan your meals ahead of time and monitor what you are eating.