Congratulations on successfully achieving your weight loss goal!
Now that you have reached your personal weight loss milestone, you may be wondering about the next steps in your journey. Undoubtedly, you have put in significant effort to make changes in your nutrition habits, daily physical activity, sleep patterns, and more. While it is truly exciting to accomplish your goals, it is crucial to remember that maintaining the progress you have made requires the continuation of the habits you have developed and even the ones you still need to work on.
Let’s focus on sustainability. If you cannot envision sticking to your current routine indefinitely, maintaining your progress will likely become challenging. In such a case, consider adjusting your routine to establish lifelong habits. Although it may seem tempting to impose strict food rules for maintenance, it is not a sustainable approach to nutrition to restrict or eliminate certain food groups.
Research indicates that restricting specific foods often leads to increased hunger, cravings, and a higher chance of overeating. This can make the maintenance phase more difficult and less enjoyable, whether or not you continue with GLP-1 medication. It is challenging to fully appreciate the progress you have made when you constantly feel hungry or miss out on social occasions. To prevent burnout, let’s shift our focus from limitations to positive additions to our routine.
Firstly, let’s emphasize the importance of adding extra protein to your diet. You may have already received guidance from your Diet Doc weight loss coach or read about it elsewhere. Protein is known for its high satiety factor, so incorporating ¼ to ½ of your meal as protein can improve portion control by making you feel fuller for longer. Protein also aids in regulating blood sugar levels after meals, reducing cravings. Ensure that each meal and snack you consume includes a good source of protein to maximize its benefits.
Secondly, remember to include foods you enjoy. You don’t have to give up the foods you love. Strict restrictions often lead to intensified cravings. Instead, approach your food choices with intention and make conscious decisions regarding indulgences. This approach allows you to reshape your relationship with food. Planning treats that you genuinely enjoy can prevent feelings of deprivation and promote long-term adherence to lifestyle changes. So, feel free to have that slice of birthday cake or treat yourself to a homemade ice cream cone! Enjoy these treats mindfully, without guilt, knowing that one indulgence won’t undo all the other positive nutrition-related habits you’ve established.
Next, let’s talk about the value of incorporating small snacks into your daily eating routine. Some people hesitate to eat more frequently, fearing an increase in calorie intake. However, in most cases, having regular meals or snacks aids in better portion control during main meals, reducing the likelihood of overeating. Consuming a meal or snack every 3-4 hours helps manage hunger levels and cravings by stabilizing blood sugar. When you go too long without eating, your blood sugar can drop, triggering signals to your brain to seek out quick energy sources, often resulting in cravings for high-sugar or starchy foods. By eating at regular intervals and avoiding drastic drops in blood sugar, you are less likely to experience those challenging cravings that hinder your progress.
Lastly, let’s discuss the importance of adding volume to your daily nutrition. Following the balanced plate method, aim to fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. These high-fiber vegetables are excellent for volume eating, which involves increasing the amount of food in your meals without adding excessive calories. Non-starchy fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients, making you feel satisfied and nourished rather than deprived. Additionally, the fiber in these foods contributes to effective blood sugar management.
For instance, consider the comparison between two cups of broccoli and ½ cup of rice. Broccoli offers more fiber and fewer calories than a small portion of rice. By filling a larger portion of your plate with broccoli and a smaller portion with rice, you can enjoy both foods while feeling more satisfied with fewer calories compared to the reverse scenario. Other foods that increase meal volume without significantly raising calorie intake include salad greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, onions, and zucchini.
As you embark on this new stage of your journey, keep in mind that the maintenance phase will differ for each person. Nonetheless, it is crucial to adhere to the same basic principles that you have been practicing with your Diet Doc weight loss coach. Utilize the balanced plate method as a guide, as it lays the foundation for building diverse meals that contain the necessary nutrients. Whenever needed, you can always return to the basics and find balance in your nutrition using this approach.