Weight loss is possible through a multitude of different strategies, one of the most effective is adapting to your diet. But keeping that weight off once you lose it is particularly challenging. Indeed, a meta-analysis of 29 studies in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition they found that more than half of the weight lost by the participants was regained within two years, and 80% was regained within five years. But don’t give up hope just yet: Experts say it’s absolutely possible to keep that physique fitter, as long as you adopt sustainable habits that you know you can stick to.
According to Nataly Georgieva, RDDietitian at JM Nutrition, trendy diets often involve restrictive eating habits that simply aren’t realistic (or healthy) to keep up with in the long run.
“Such deprivation can lead to feelings of ‘missing out’, potential frustration and irritability, and eventual abandonment of the fad diet,” she explains. “As a result, you can regain the weight soon after.”
Not only that, but Samantha McKinney, RD, a Life Time dietician notes that a severe calorie deficit can shift hormones in an unfavorable direction. Basically, your body doesn’t know the calorie deficit was intentional, so as a survival mechanism it’s ready to gain weight as soon as you return to your normal eating habits.
There are no real shortcuts when it comes to losing weight, so experts say you’ll need to be patient with your body as you make changes to your diet. With that in mind, here are the best eating habits you can adopt to lose a few pounds forever. Read on and for more information on how to eat healthy, don’t lose eating habits to lose belly fat as you age, dieters say.
Weighing and measuring each ingredient in your meals can help with portion control when you first start on a diet, but the reality is that it’s too time-consuming to do it forever. Here because Kitty Broihier, MS, RDRegistered dietitian and creator of the Eating Habits Lab, recommends visually breaking down meal components using MyPlate guidelines instead.
According to these guidelines, which were devised by the United States Department of Agriculture, you should fill half of your plate with fruit and vegetables and the other half with a mix of 60% grains and about 40% protein. (about 5 ½ ounces). Ideally, you should aim for a diverse mix of whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and a variety of protein sources. Limit yourself to three cups of dairy and try to stick with low-fat or fat-free options. Using these guidelines when preparing meals will ensure that your body is getting all the satiating nutrients it needs.
Georgieva adds that it’s helpful to inquire about recommended serving sizes and feel comfortable reading nutrition labels.
If you’ve ever been hit by hunger pangs while in the office or in your car, you know how tempting it can be to grab a sugary energy bar from the vending machine or a bag of potato chips full of salt at a nearby store. But that’s why Georgieva recommends keeping healthy snacks with you at all times: in your desk drawer, lunch bag, office refrigerator or glove compartment.
“Human beings follow the path of least resistance,” says Georgieva. “It is important to make nutritious foods easily accessible when you are most vulnerable.”
Keep in mind that snacks with healthy protein, fiber, and fats will keep you full for longer. For example, an apple with stretched curd cheese, whole wheat crackers with turkey and hummus, or yogurt with flaxseed and blueberries are all satiating combinations.
Here’s an easy habit to try: Start your lunch and dinner by enjoying a high-fiber salad and sipping a glass of water. That way, you’ll be less likely to overdo the rest of the meal.
“This can help you eat fewer calories overall without leaving you hungry,” he says Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, RDSenior Clinical Dietitian at UCLA Medical Center and author of Recipe for survival.
A 2008 study in Journal of the American Dietetics Association found that obese seniors who drank two cups of water before breakfast consumed 13% fewer calories during their meal than those who drank no water before. Additionally, a 2011 study in Obesity found that dieters who drank water before all three meals for 12 weeks lost about five pounds more than dieters who didn’t increase their water intake.
Dr. Hunnes recommends having a salad consisting of two cups of vegetables and a light vinaigrette with about a tablespoon of olive oil.
If there’s one macronutrient you should definitely prioritize for weight loss purposes, it’s protein.
“Protein can make you feel fuller and more satisfied with carbohydrates and fat,” says McKinney. “Often, the more protein you eat at meals, the less cravings you will experience. It is the best kept secret to losing weight without feeling deprived. More often than not, those who increase their protein intake inadvertently reduce their starch intake. sugars and senseless snacks. It also stabilizes blood sugar and energy levels, helps support detoxification and is necessary to recover from workouts. “
As a general rule, Broihier recommends aiming for around 20 grams per meal and 10 grams per snack. But if it helps to have a visual guideline to follow, McKinney says a palm-sized serving of protein is enough. For example, it may look like a chicken breast or salmon fillet, two eggs, or a fistful of chickpeas.
One of the main causes of overeating is the lack of presence during meals. When you swipe your phone or watch TV, you may be gobbling up food that is so greasy that it doesn’t give your body a chance to register when it’s actually full.
That’s why Dr. Hunnes recommends practicing mindful eating. This involves slowing down and really tuning in to all of your senses while eating a meal or snack. It’s also a good idea to try and eliminate distractions while eating so that you can more easily recognize the signs of fullness.
“Take a break for a minute or two in the middle to check your hunger level,” says Broihier. “People who practice it are often surprised to learn that they really feel satisfied with less food than they thought. Many times we finish automatically and without thinking about what is on our plates.”