9 Secrets Behind My Lasting Weight Loss (Over 14 Years and Counting!)

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#1 I Understand Appropriate Energy Intake

It’s not a popular topic, but it’s important to understand how many calories you should consume daily. Your optimal daily calorie intake will depend on your gender, age, weight, and activity level. I recommend visiting http://www.exercise4weightloss.com/bmr-calculator.html for a quick analysis of your caloric needs. This calculator will estimate your BMR (basal metabolic rate, or, more simply, your inactive calorie burn) and average daily calorie need. Your average calorie need is the number of calories required to maintain your current weight. By incorporating exercise and calorie reduction, weight loss can be achieved.

I should note that I don’t count calories regularly, but if I see the scale creep up, understanding my average calorie need allows me to adjust my eating and bring my weight back under control.

#2 I Build/Maintain My Muscle Mass

Adding strength training to one’s routine is a critical element of weight maintenance, as muscle tissue burns more calories than fatty tissue.1 Therefore, increasing muscle mass increases metabolism, even at rest. (The natural tendency of men to carry more muscle than women is one of the many reasons men tend to lose weight faster than women).

To build and maintain my muscle mass, I incorporate strength training into my routine at least three days per week. (Ladies, don’t be afraid to lift heavy! Contrary to popular belief, lifting heavy weights will not make you bulky!)

#3 I Eat Well at Least 75% of the Day

I’m careful to consume healthy foods for breakfast, lunch, and snacktime. This gives me a little more wiggle room at dinner. (I exercise in the evening, so I’m always extra hungry at dinnertime)!

#4 I Treat Myself

I don’t believe any food is “off-limits”. I make sure that I never feel deprived, and generally treat myself to a dessert or special meal once per week.

#5 I Engage in Regular Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is paramount to weight maintenance. The National Weight Control Registry (which includes a database of over 5,000 individuals who have lost at least 30 pounds and maintained their weight for over a year), notes that people are most successful in maintaining weight loss when they exercise an average of 60 minutes per day.2

                In addition to teaching Body Sculpting and HIIT classes, I generally perform four, 60-minute workouts weekly. These personal workouts allow me to focus on my own goals, clear my mind, and maintain my weight.

#6 I Make My Favorite Foods Healthier

One of the simplest ways I maintain my weight (without feeling deprived) is by giving my favorite foods a healthy makeover. For example, I trade traditional spaghetti and meat sauce for whole-wheat or quinoa pasta and organic marinara sauce.

#7 I Avoid Soda/Sugary Beverages

Many people unknowingly drink a good portion of their calories in the form of soda and other sugary drinks (like sweet coffee concoctions). I generally avoid soda and other sugary beverages. Not only do they increase my symptoms of anxiety, but they add unnecessary calories to my diet. If I decide to consume a special drink (like a Starbucks white hot chocolate, yum!), I consider it a dessert and make a mental note of the extra 330 calories I just inhaled.

#8 I Have a “Number”

While it’s true that one should not be obsessed with the scale, I have found that the scale can play a crucial role in weight maintenance. By weighing myself once per week and knowing where my weight generally resides, I can make note of any extreme changes and modify my routine accordingly. I also have a specific number that I will not surpass. If I do, I know it’s time to reduce my calorie intake and increase my workout routine for a period of time.

#9 I Snack/Eat Breakfast

I always eat something in the morning, even if it’s just a slice of toast with peanut butter or a protein bar. Furthermore, I carry healthy snacks in case I get hungry. These simple methods prevent me from becoming ravenous and overindulging later in the day.

P.S. Maybe Someday I’ll be brave enough to post my “before” photo! Not only was I 40 pounds heavier, I was also a teenager. It’s an embarrassing combination. J

References:

  1. A closer look at physical activity and metabolism. Mayo Clinic Website. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/metabolism/art-20046508?pg=2. Accessed January 18, 2016.
  2. 6 ways to fine-tune your lifestyle for weight maintenance. American Council on Exercise Website. http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-fact-article/3280/6-ways-to-fine-tune-your-lifestyle/. Accessed January 18, 2016.
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