Maintaining Your Healthy Lifestyle is the sixth and final in a blog series helping you to focus on making healthier choices, living a healthier life, losing weight and maintaining it.
Struggling with weight is nothing new, and if weight loss is achieved, many struggle to maintain it. With hectic schedules, convenient foods, genetics, and changes in your metabolism that accompany age, weight loss and maintenance can be a challenge. We know the struggle so let’s change the approach! Let’s focus on leading a healthier life by setting realistic goals, making deliberate choices, rewarding ourselves for goals achieved, and reaching out for assistance when we need it without focusing specifically on weight loss.
If you have not, we invite you to read the first five blogs in the series, focusing on changing to a healthy living mindset, developing a healthy eating plan, and physical activity. We invite you to also check your BMI. AARP has a BMI calculator that can be used by a person of any age to help you determine where you are currently and where you should be based on your height and current weight.
Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle for the Long-Term
Weight management should be one part of living a healthy lifestyle. Many of the actions discussed in the series can lead to weight loss but look at the healthy habits you have developed! We must also recognize that our weight and health choices are influenced by behavioral, emotional, and physical factors. Changing the way you approach your goals can lead to success.
Most people who are trying to lose weight focus on one thing: Weight loss. However, the keys to success are comprehensive: Setting a healthy calorie intake; eating a balanced diet; increasing activity levels; setting realistic goals; understanding your behavior patterns with food and activities; speaking with your healthcare provide; gaining support as needed; and never depriving yourself of the things you love. The old saying, ‘everything in moderation’ is true when you employ balance.
Monitoring Your Weight as Part of Your Healthy Lifestyle
Regular monitoring of your weight is key to maintaining your weight. Remember these four helpful points if you are tracking your goals:
- One day’s diet and activity routine won’t necessarily affect your weight the next day.
- Your weight will change quite a bit over the course of a few days because of fluctuations in water and body fat.
- Try to weigh yourself at a set day and time once per week. This can be when you first wake up and before eating and drinking, or after exercise.
- Whatever time you choose, just make sure it is always the same time and use the same scale to help you keep the most accurate records.
- It may also be helpful to create a graph of your weight as a visual reminder of how you’re doing, rather than just listing numbers.
Stimulus (cue) control involves learning what social or environmental cues encourage undesired behaviors. For example, you may learn from your self-monitoring, or from sessions with your healthcare provider, that you’re more likely to overeat when watching TV, you notice treats on display in an office break room, meet up with friends in restaurants, or use the weather as an excuse not to exercise.
You can change these cues by:
- Separating the association of eating from the cue.
- Make an effort not to eat while watching TV. Enjoy a healthy snack before you sit down on the couch.
- Exercise while watching TV.
- Designate an area in your home to do some light indoor exercising and keep some small weights in your home.
- Avoiding or eliminating the cue.
- After you pour your coffee in the office break room, leave immediately, eat lunch outside or in another office location.
- Take a walk during break times.
- Changing the environment.
- Meet with friends in a nonfood setting.
- Plan an activity with the group.
Take Cues from Your Body
When eating, following the steps below can help you recognize feelings of fullness and help you better manage your portions:
- Eating slowly will help you to feel satisfied when you’ve eaten the right amount of food. It takes 15 or more minutes for your brain to get the message you’ve been fed. Slowing the rate of eating can allow you to feel full sooner and, therefore, helps you eat less.
- Eating lots of vegetables and fruit, and also starting a meal with a broth-based soup can help you feel fuller.
- Using smaller plates helps to moderate portions so they don’t appear too small.
- Drinking at least eight glasses of noncaloric beverages each day will help you to feel full, and possibly eat less.
- Serving food from the kitchen instead of at the table can help you be less tempted to eat more.
- Pouring food or snacks from large packages into smaller containers helps with portion control.
Maintaining Your Healthy Life
Once you’ve started the journey and feel the effects, whether it’s just feeling better, having more energy, decreasing your blood pressure or cholesterol, or reaching a weight loss goal, it’s time to focus on maintenance.
The key to weight maintenance is to continue the healthy lifestyle changes that you have adopted. Staying committed to a healthy food plan and aiming for 60–90 minutes (about 1 and a half hours) of physical activity most days of the week will help.
For long-term motivation, continue to implement these healthier living strategies and seek encouragement and check in with your healthcare provider. Joining a gym or a support group places you in the company of others who also want to live a healthier lifestyle. Celebrate your accomplishments with your family and friends. Recognition can help keep you on this path. The longer you can maintain your health, the better the chances you have for overall long-term success, and you will notice the difference in how you feel every day.
This series was developed to help you achieve your healthy lifestyle goals. There are times when focusing on making healthier choices presents challenges and help is never far away. Speak with your healthcare provider about your health goals, your weight goals, your overall health, and the challenges you face. Your provider can assist in guiding you on your health journey.
As part of living a healthier life, RPM Healthcare offers remote patient monitoring for weight loss and maintenance with the goal of not only helping you feel good, but to prevent or help treat heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Visit RPM365.com for more information.
All health content is reviewed by Irina Koyfman, DNP, NP-C, RN, Chief Population Health Officer, RPM Healthcare.