You worked hard. You lost weight. You felt great. Then, slowly – or maybe it seemed suddenly – the weight started creeping back in. No need to cancel all your meals and go the gym for five hours every day until the weight is gone again. Here are 6 simple, painless tips to help you combat weight gain after you’ve lost weight.
1. Love Yourself
The best thing a woman can do for herself is to become her own best friend – someone who’s there to be a cheerleader, supporter, and encourager. If you noticed your friend or niece or daughter had gained a few pounds, would you tell her you were disappointed in her? Would you act like she was worthless? Would you be disgusted? Or would you be compassionate and point out her many strengths and positive qualities? Would you remind her how proud you are of how far she’s come and tell her you’re there if she ever needs anyone to lean on? Do this for yourself.
Looking in the mirror and hating what you see will get you nowhere. Love yourself no matter where you are in your journey. If you tell yourself you’ll only be proud if you lose X number of pounds, you’re only loving yourself conditionally – and that’s not healthy. Love yourself unconditionally.
Every single day, no matter what goes down, find a reason to be proud of yourself. Write those reasons down every morning when you wake up or every night before you go to bed. Remind yourself of all you’ve accomplished in your life – does gaining three pounds really negate any of that? Be your own best friend, love yourself unconditionally, and you’ll quickly find yourself back on track.
2. Eat Breakfast – and Lunch and Dinner and Snacks
If you think skipping meals is going to help you counteract weight gain, you’re wrong. All you’ll really do is throw your blood sugar out of whack and set yourself up for a huge, unhealthy binge to make up for how hungry and underfed you feel. Prep your meals ahead of time so you know you’re making healthy choices, and eat regularly to avoid getting too hungry. Eat sensible meals that leave you feeling good. Don’t get too unrealistic in your expectations either: if it took you a long time to lose the weight the first time, don’t expect to quickly drop it the second time. Give yourself time and treat yourself well in the meantime.
3. Write Things Down
After you lost weight, you may have become comfortable and stopped keeping track of what you were eating. You don’t need to count every calorie, but sometimes seeing in writing what you’re eating can help clue you in to areas where you might be consuming too much. For example, a frequent egg and cheese bagel sandwich may need to be swapped for a lighter breakfast option. Keep track of your drinks too – are you drinking too many calories through alcohol and soda? Keeping a log can help you see where you can make adjustments to get back on track.
4. Stop Focusing on Weight Loss
Weight loss is one of those things where the more you obsess over it, the less likely you are to attain it. If you’re weighing yourself every day (or even every week) and counting your calories and constantly monitoring your weight loss progress, you’re setting yourself up for a frustrating, miserable existence. Put the scale and the measuring tape away and stop monitoring your progress by how many pounds or inches you’ve dropped. Instead, ask yourself if you ate balanced meals today. Did you get enough exercise? Did you drink enough water? If you did, count this as a successful day. You’re making progress. Continue making progress and eventually your jeans size will follow suit.
5. Increase Your Water Intake and Decrease Your Alcohol Intake
As much fun as it to try the latest offering from that new brewery or meet up with your friends for an afternoon of wine tasting, the fact remains that drinking alcohol regularly makes weight loss very difficult. If you’re having a drink or two every day and you cut it down to two drinks a week, you’ll likely lose weight without even changing what you eat. On the other hand, water is a great, natural weight loss aid. We often mistake thirst for hunger, but keeping hydrated prevents this. If you’re feeling particularly ravenous one day, ask yourself if you’ve had enough water. Water also helps us to feel more full, so be sure to include it at every meal.
6. Team Up with Your Spouse or Partner
It’s common to gain weight after we get married or move in with our partners because we start mimicking their habits. If your partner always eats full portions – with a beer on the side and ice cream for dessert – you may start eating this way too without even thinking about it. If your partner’s idea of a great Saturday is watching movie after movie with a big bowl of popcorn and candy, you’ll likely join in.
If you’ve noticed your weight gain correlates to your love life and living arrangement, it’s time to team up with your partner and form a new plan. Get outside and do physical activities together. Come up with a healthy meal plan for the week. Instead of revolving your activities around food, revolve them around physical activities. Try indoor rock climbing together. Go mini golfing. Come home and make a healthy meal together. As easy as it is to mimic each other’s unhealthy habits, it’s just as easy to start adapting healthy habits together.