Maintain Weight: This Is How You Stay Slim Even After A Diet

Crash diets melt the pounds quickly. But what do you get out of it if the love handles are back after a few weeks? We’ll tell you how to keep your desired weight permanently.

Sometimes losing weight is not the real problem. It is much more difficult for many to maintain their weight after the diet.

Especially with crash diets, the dreaded yo-yo effect quickly strikes: the pounds are back on your hips in no time – sometimes even more than before the diet.

But no worry. With a few rules, you can easily maintain your weight – and stay slim in the long term.

This creates the yo-yo effect

It is part of almost every diet: the yo-yo effect. He describes a phenomenon that you may have already experienced yourself: After your diet, the lost kilos are back on your hips faster than you can see. Worse still, the scale may show an even higher reading than before your diet.

The yo-yo effect occurs when we go on a diet but then fall back into our old eating and exercise patterns. When we are on a diet, our energy consumption is lower than usual, and there is also a risk that we will not only lose fat but also muscle mass.

This is fatal for long-term weight loss: Due to muscle loss, our energy requirements after the diet are reduced – and if we eat normally again afterwards or even with a slight calorie surplus, this inevitably leads to weight gain. This effect can be observed in particular with crash diets and juice cleanses, in which only very few calories are consumed.

Our habits are even more important. If we behave like before after the diet – that is, we eat unhealthily and hardly exercise – the diet was for nothing.

The right diet to keep the weight off

You’ve been eating chicken, low-fat cottage cheese and broccoli for eight weeks – now you’re really craving burgers, pizza and pasta again? We feel you!

Unfortunately, when it comes to weight maintenance, that’s a big mistake that many make after a successful diet. Your goal should be a long-term change in diet. You’ll find that it doesn’t feel like a “diet” at all – a fresh and natural diet is incredibly delicious.

It takes time to change your eating habits, but you’ll get more of them over time.

Clean eating as a basis

For the most part, natural foods should be on the menu – in line with the Clean Eating philosophy. That means: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy, lean meats, nuts, seeds, and good fats. You have already laid the foundation. These whole foods provide your body with power, fiber and many healthy nutrients such as antioxidants.

Avoid empty carbohydrates found in sweets and white flour products. They provide energy, but hardly any healthy nutrients. Mineral-rich whole grains, legumes and pseudo-cereals like quinoa and amaranth, which are rich in complex carbohydrates, are better.

They also have another benefit: fiber. They help regulate our hunger and satiety and are essential for healthy digestion.

Other high-fiber foods include green vegetables, potatoes, oatmeal, dried fruit, chia seeds, and root vegetables.

Saturating protein power

Another accomplice in the fight against pounds is protein. Protein-rich foods not only fill you up better, but also help to build and maintain muscle mass. We can also take advantage of the thermic effect of protein when maintaining weight: almost 25 percent of the calories from protein are used for digestion. This means they burn calories as they digest.

And: In contrast to bread, pizza and other carbohydrate-rich foods, some amino acids contained in protein foods send messenger substances to the brain that signal satiety.

Treat yourself!

True to the saying “you can treat yourself to something” you should of course snack here and there and treat yourself. If you’re eating fresh foods otherwise, that’s perfectly fine — and important too!

Because what’s the use of whipping you for weeks, forbidding you sweet treats and your favorite dish, only to make you really go overboard? Dark chocolate as a snack or a delicious Pasta Bolognese once a week: treat yourself!

Many also swear by intermittent fasting. With the 16:8 method, you only eat in a time window of eight hours a day – this means that fewer calories are consumed overall, cravings are avoided and fat burning is stimulated.

How often should you exercise?

A healthy diet is the be-all and end-all for a slim figure. But without any sport, many find it difficult to keep their shape. The explanation is obvious: If you also do sport in addition to a healthy diet, you can better balance your calorie consumption.

It’s more difficult with just one “shift lever”. Sport helps to remain more flexible in this regard and not to have to mentally turn over every calorie.

How often should you train?

“In my opinion, exercising three to four times a week is enough to maintain your current weight,” says fitness trainer Tamara Pridgett.

According to the expert, if you want to do more because you enjoy training, you should add a day of cross training – a workout that complements what you normally do – to your routine or add exercises to improve your training style.

“For example, add another day of strength training to your weekly training schedule,” advises the expert.

However, your weight can then fluctuate slightly as you build more muscle mass. “But that’s nothing to worry about,” says Pridgett. Because muscle mass is noticeable on the scales, but it also burns calories at rest and helps to shape your body.

Which sports are best?

Expert Pridgett recommends a combination of strength and cardio: “I recommend doing a combination of cardiovascular exercise like swimming or running, and balancing that with some form of muscle-building exercise called strength training,” says Pridgett.

In general, of course, every sport helps to maintain your weight. If you enjoy your sports units, have fun exercising and are also satisfied with your body, you don’t have to change anything.

However, if you’re not feeling challenged with your current workout, consider increasing the difficulty of the exercises and the weight.

Another form of exercise the expert says you should include in your routine is yoga. “It helps balance out all the effects and stresses you’re putting on your body,” says the trainer.

Tips to stay on the ball

  • Training partner: Whether running, in the gym or on the bike: the workout is much more fun with a partner. You can also motivate each other on difficult days not to give up and to keep going.
  • Fixed training days: It is best to stick to fixed days, such as going to the gym or jogging. This makes it easier for you to reach your sports quota.
  • Keep setting goals: Have you reached your diet goal? Excellent! To keep yourself motivated to watch your weight, you should set new goals. For example, for your next exercise session, set yourself a goal of doing 20 pull-ups or holding planks for 90 seconds. A six-pack could also be an incentive to exercise regularly and stay fit.
  • Don’t overdo it: Many make the mistake of being extremely disciplined and ambitious towards their goal and giving up everything during this time. Training seven times a week and no regeneration phases – it doesn’t have to be. There is a risk of overdoing it or falling into a lack of motivation and then being absent for a long time. To avoid such fluctuations, it is better to set smaller goals. In addition, muscle mass cannot be built up without regeneration.
  • Be happy about successes: Don’t be too strict with yourself! Look back often and be proud of what has been achieved so far. If you think positively, you can save yourself a lot of frustration. Do not focus on fitness role models on Instagram and Co., but on yourself. This makes it easier for you to achieve goals – and to maintain your body weight in the long term.

More movement in everyday life

Admittedly, it takes a bit of effort at first. Why take the stairs when you can take the elevator? But even these small changes can increase your basal metabolic rate and burn more calories.

You’ll be surprised how much that makes a difference!

These mistakes prevent you from maintaining your weight

You eat healthily, do sports – but the weight is still increasing? Maybe it’s because of one of these typical mistakes.

Eat on the go

Stressful job and leisure time stress – there is rarely time to cook. That’s why it’s the “salad to go” during the lunch break. The danger with all dishes that you don’t prepare yourself: you don’t know exactly what’s in them. A salad can also be a pure calorie bomb – thanks to greasy dressing or unhealthy toppings.

Instead, try to prepare your dishes at home and take them with you. The keyword is meal prep. Then you know exactly what’s in your meal – and you don’t have to compromise badly if there aren’t that many “healthy” choices.

Unhealthy Snacks

Muesli with fruit for breakfast, a homemade quinoa salad for lunch and a fresh vegetable curry in the evening – you’re actually doing everything right! If only there weren’t snacks in between.

Even if your snacks are healthy, you might want to think about portion size. In front of the PC or while reading, a whole pack of nuts is quickly nibbled away – oops. That packs a huge punch in terms of calories. Even with snacks such as protein bars, you should never completely lose sight of the calorie content.

Low-calorie snacks like vegetable sticks and watermelon are better.

Emotional eating

When you’re stressed out in the office, do you automatically reach for a chocolate in the desk drawer and after a hard day or a fight with a friend, does your body cry out for “comfort food”?

Stress-related eating is only good for a short time, if at all. Afterwards, we have a guilty conscience – and the lost kilos will soon be back.

Instead, in these situations, think about what would be really good to make the situation better. This can be a clarifying conversation with your boss, a phone call with a friend or simply some “me time”.

Rushing through everyday life

Speaking of which, stress is counterproductive when trying to lose weight. In stressful situations, it stimulates the body to produce hormones that store abdominal fat – such as the stress hormone cortisol.

They also tempt us to eat more.

Therefore, try to incorporate some relaxation breaks into your everyday life to reduce your stress level. These short meditation breaks don’t have to be long – a few deep breaths in and out work wonders!

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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