How to keep the weight off after dieting

Lasting weight loss is more about eating adjustments than it is following an intense short-term program. Here are some tips that can give your permanent weight loss efforts the edge you need to succeed:

How to keep the weight off after dieting

Forget weight

  • Too many people focus on pounds when it comes to measuring weight loss.
  • Instead, focus on your energy level, how your joints are feeling, how your clothes are fitting and how you look in the mirror.
  • Sure, your weight is the clearest measurement of your progress, but your health and happiness are a better scale.
  • If your joints are telling you your weight loss efforts are helping, then there's no better measurement.

Develop movement habits

Research shows that people who fidget burn 500 or more extra calories in a day. All extra movements burn calories, so develop movement habits.

Drink water

  • You've heard the health benefits of water many times, so do it: Get a water bottle or travel mug, fill it up after breakfast and keep it with you.
  • Refill, refill, refill. At the end of the day, wash it out for tomorrow.

Entertain your mouth

  • Sometimes all it takes to halt the snacking is a piece of gum, a slow-to-dissolve piece of candy or a toothpick.
  • While society looks down on overt mouth habits, if you can be subtle, there's nothing wrong with an hour-long engagement with a piece of sugarless gum.

Shop the perimeter

  • At the grocery store, the healthy produce, meats, seafood, dairy and bakery are usually around the perimeter.
  • Cookies, chips, canned or boxed foods and ice cream are in the aisles. Shop only along the store perimeter, delving once a month into the aisles for staples.

Spice up your meals

  • Add zest to food with cayenne, jalapeños, ginger, Tabasco sauce and mustard.
  • Studies find that the thermogenic properties of zingier foods boost your metabolism's fat-burning ability by as much as 25 per cent.

Sleep better

  • It sounds like quackery, but you really can encourage weight loss by sleeping.
  • Research into sleep and hormone function finds that your metabolism rises and you burn calories more efficiently when you're well rested.

No more TV

Watching TV with the kids? Tune out the commercials. Children's programming contains an average of 2,800 calories per hour, according to researchers. And seeing less food on the tube translates to less junk in the pantry.

Top your tank before exercise

  • Have a well-balanced carbohydrate/protein snack (half an apple with peanut butter or crackers with cheese) an hour before a workout.
  • The carbs will keep your energy up and the protein will slow your digestion, giving you stamina you need.

Skip the wine

  • If you sip a glass of wine or beer with meals, think about a prohibition diet.
  • The drink isn't bad per se, but your body tends to prioritize processing alcohol, making calories from food more likely to be stored as fat.

Do the ring test

  • Even if you don't have high blood pressure, try this test: Slip a ring onto your finger. Now eat salty food, wait a few hours and try to take the ring off.
  • If sliding the ring is more difficult, you're probably someone for whom salt causes bloat — potentially grounds for extra pounds. Check food labels for sodium.
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