Most of us know that carrying extra weight can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, some cancers, osteoarthritis as well as contributing to other health problems. But did you know that weight cycling – that’s the repeated loss and regain of body weight – may be linked to increased risk of high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and gallbladder disease? It has also been connected to psychological distress and depression.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach for maintaining weight loss once you have achieved it, you need to find the combination of diet and physical activity changes that you can fit into your lifestyle and most importantly – ones you can keep up long term. To help you determine what these might be, let’s look at some of the habits that we know successful weight maintainers adopt.
Firstly, we know you need to consume less kilojoules, so you need to make lifestyle changes that help you maintain this shift through the food choices you make.
A review of 52 studies looked at the most common habits of people who maintain their weight after losing weight. These were:
- Having breakfast
- Eating more vegetables, as well as other fibre-rich foods
- Limiting intake of certain foods
- Eating fewer foods high in fat and sugar
- Eating lower fat meals
- Having more healthy foods available at home
- Having regular meals
And secondly, it is well known that keeping your weight off relies on permanent adjustments to increased energy expenditure energy expenditure, through physical activity. Physical activity has been shown to have a positive impact on maintaining your muscles as you lose weight and has a strong connection to maintaining weight loss.
National guidelines encourage adults to do at least 30 minutes of moderate or greater intensity physical activity on 5 or more days a week. The activity can be in 1 session or several sessions lasting 10 minutes or more. If you have already lost weight, research shows that you might even need to increase this further – it may be anywhere up to 60-90 minutes. The key is to set achievable and realistic goals. It doesn’t need to be all in one session – increasing your incidental, or day-to-day activity in simple ways is very effective.
If increasing physical activity sounds challenging, a good way to start is to reduce inactivity. So find ways to reduce the amount of time spent watching TV, using your computer, or playing video games.
Ideas for increasing daily activity
- Try taking public transport instead of driving when possible. This increases your incidental activity in ways such as walking from home to the bus stop, tram stop or train station.
- Walking from the stop to your destination rather than parking right on the doorstep. We talk about aiming for 8000-10000 steps each day, and the thing to remember again is that accumulating those steps can be just as effective.
- Go for activities that can be incorporated into your everyday life, such as brisk walking or cycling.
- Supervised exercise programmes such as group classes or one-on-one sessions with a trainer, great for encouragement and commitment.
- Other measurable activities, such as swimming, aiming to walk a certain number of steps each day, or stair climbing.
Other Maintenance Strategies
Some other strategies also shown to be positively connected to successfully maintaining weight loss include – establishing specific goals, reducing portion size and self-weighing. Interestingly, a few changes have been shown to be specifically helpful for women, these include having healthy foods at home, reducing sugary foods and self-monitoring. Self-monitoring involves recording food intake and/or physical activity undertaken and it’s great for reviewing and acknowledging your achievements, as well as for identifying opportunities for change.
A Balanced Approach
set yourself realistic goals for increasing your physical activity levels and decreasing inactivity, for reducing your overall energy intake and for improving your eating habits and the quality of your diet. For long term success and to give your body the nutrients it needs, you’ll be aiming for a balanced diet, consistent with general healthy eating advice, which is exactly where Jenny Craig starts. You’ll also enjoy the support of our Coaches who will praise your successes – however small – at every opportunity, this can encourage you through the difficult process of changing established behaviours.
Maintaining weight loss with Jenny Craig
At Jenny Craig, we know the distinction between losing weight and maintaining weight loss, and the importance of developing skills for both. We can help you to establish strategies which can increase your chances of success, including:
- Encouraging self-monitoring of behaviour and progress
- Setting up your environment for success
- Setting goals
- Providing strategies for problem solving
- Making the most of the support around you
We’re here for you
We know that too many kilojoules, increased portion sizes and low levels of physical activity can make you more likely to regain the weight you work so hard to lose, why not lean on Jenny Craig for the support you need to shift your habits in the right direction for life.