Beyond losing weight: keeping it off

One of the most common problems we see with losing weight is what happens after you’ve reached the goal body and have rewarded yourself with that junk food you’ve been craving for so long. With diet failure/re-gain rates estimated above 90%, it is fair to say that we have a real yo-yo dieting problem in our culture.

Physical aspects

Calorie balance is one of the first things that is necessary to lose weight and keep it off. We all know by now that calories determine whether you will lose or gain weight, but eating too few calories is one of the most common causes of weight re-gain. Eating 1500 calories below the amount your body needs may cause huge fat loss now, but it is an unsustainable approach to lifetime dieting and weight re-gain is almost inevitable.

A mature approach to dieting is the first tactic to keep weight off: choose a reasonable caloric deficit, anywhere between 10% and 30% less than your TDEE and ensure that you are able to function properly on the number of calories that you are consuming. This also applies to macronutrients – if you are aware that you enjoy healthy fats more than healthy carbohydrates (or vice versa), then structure your diet to include more fats and fewer carbohydrates.

The final thing to make sure you do, in order to give yourself the best chances at long-term dietary success, is to focus on eating the highest possible volume of food for your calorie and macronutrient structure. If you have decided that you want to eat 1800 calories per day, and this suits your weight loss goals, then the best thing to do is eat as much as possible that adds up to 1800 calories.

This may sound unusual since calories measure the energy from food, but the weight and physical bulk of foods are not the same as their calorie count. Consider adding vegetables, herbs, spices and other low-calorie foods to everything you eat. This will reduce feelings of hunger and keep you full even when you’re losing weight. When you achieve your goal weight, or physique, or performance, you will be able to continue this diet into the future.

Conclusion: psychological principles for optimum healthy weight loss

The important principles for long-term dietary success are very simple. First, you have to approach long-term dietary success as a long-term lifestyle change: you aren’t on a diet, you have a diet and it pays to remember that it is a life-long commitment to health and wellbeing.

Second, a mature approach to diet is one that proceeds from a profound self-awareness: you have to know what you’re like as a person and how your mind works before you can make an effective long-term change. You have to know that you have a sweet tooth to diet around the problem, but structuring your diet in this way will improve your long-term chances of success and sustainable progress.

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