Maintaining a healthy weight can have several health benefits including:
Improved blood circulation and fluid levels
Decreased risk of diabetes, heart disease, breathing problems and sleep apnea, certain cancers, osteoarthritis, and gallstones
Improved self confidence
Improved mental/emotional health
As you can see there are a variety of reasons to want to maintain a healthy weight, however this is often easier said than done. Many people believe that just eating healthier and exercising will make them lose weight, and all though this can definitely support with weight loss, it still may not be enough. There are several others factors that play into weight management including: thyroid problems, medical conditions, stress, poor sleep habits, nutritious but high calorie foods (aka a lot of peanut butter and avocado), medication, menopause, depression, joint pain, eating disorders, lack of motivation, time, support, etc. Therefore, the truth is our bodies are all unique and different, so there is no "one fix all" exercise and diet plan. It definitely can be a trial and error process, but even making one small healthy change can be a step in the right direction. Below you will find some tips that can support with weight loss, but remember you know your body best so listen to it and be patient with the process.
Weight Management Tips:
Slow and Steady Wins the Race: The recommendation for healthy sustainable weight loss is 0.5-2 pounds per week. Often we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves such as losing 5-10 pounds in one week. This causes us to set unrealistic goals we are unable to achieve, and when we fall off track with these we tend to beat ourselves up, overeat, lose motivation, and gain back the weight and more. I like to call this the "yo-yo" effect. Consider weighing yourself once per week at the same time and day for accountability. However, if you find that weighing yourself is not good for your mental health consider measuring your progress in other forms such as: measuring your waist in inches or reflecting on: how you are feeling physically and emotionally, your energy levels, your lab values, your digestion, your skin, etc.
Eat More Whole Foods: This includes foods such as: vegetables, fruits, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats (aka nuts; avocadoes; etc.). These tend to have more fiber and nutrients so they will keep you full longer, and our bodies can metabolize them easier than the sugary and refined foods.
Watch The Calories: Research shows that cutting back by 500 kcals can support you with losing 1 pound. However, if you cut back by too much this can cause your body to go into starvation mode and slow your metabolism. It is important to determine what is a healthy amount to cut back by. Consider looking into using a calorie tracker. This can give you a recommended amount of calories you should be consuming each day, and it can give you a better idea of how many calories you eat in a typical day so you can set realistic goals for yourself. If you are one that finds counting calories overwhelming or self-destructive consider just logging your food and focusing on eating more nutrient dense and low calorie food such as fruits and vegetables or using more portion control. You know you best, so I would encourage you to do something that you can maintain and make more of a lifestyle.
Get Moving: Getting some movement in will help with burning more calories. Consider setting realistic goals for yourself that you can actually achieve. For example: If you have not been exercising you probably aren't going to be able to maintain exercising 7xs/week for 30 minutes. Consider starting with smaller more realistic goals such as exercising 2-3xs/week for 15-30 minutes. Research shows even 10 minutes of movement can be beneficial for your health. Consistent small goals can lead to big results!
Avoid All or Nothing Kind of Thinking: If you fall off track one day get back on track the next day. One day is not going to derail you from your weight loss goals. Consider reflecting on your motivation and why you are working towards this goal, and then make a plan for the day to support you with getting back on track.
Everything in Moderation: If you deprive yourself of things you really enjoy most likely you are going to want them even more. Consider allowing yourself to have these foods while using portion control, and balancing it out with something more nutrient dense. For example: Say you really want those French fries at your favorite restaurant. Allow yourself to have then, but maybe order a side vegetable or lean protein to go with it, and if it's a big portion consider boxing up half of it or sharing it with someone.
Drink more water: Often we mistake thirst for hunger. Consider drinking a big glass of water before eating to determine if you are truly hungry or if you are thirsty.
Better manage your stress: Stress has a direct impact on our cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol levels can increases our appetite and cause cravings for sweet, fatty and salty foods. Consider carving out some "me time" to better manage your stress.
Get better sleep: Lack of sleep can impact our hormones and metabolism, increase our appetite, and makes us more likely to eat unhealthy foods. This can play a role in weight gain, and impact how we feel from day to day. Consider working on developing a healthy sleep routine.
Reach out for support: Consider reaching out to a Dietician; a health coach; a therapist; or your Doctor. As I said earlier some things are out of our control such as medical conditions, so this is when support from a professional can be very beneficial. I encourage you to keep a journal to document things you have tried; questions/concerns you have, and how you are feeling. The more details you bring to the professional the more they can support you.