Despite the increased availability of healthy, natural and organic foods and an awareness about health and nutrition, the rate of obesity & non-communicable diseases among adults and children has also been on the rise in recent years.
Being overweight &/or obese is a risk factor for hypertension, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, heart diseases and many other conditions. The good news is that most these diseases can be controlled if not prevented by adopting healthy eating habits and living a healthier lifestyle. Nutrition should not be thought of solely as weight loss and once people have reached their target weight goals, maintenance is very important and sometimes can be very challenging.
Many people fall into the trap of becoming unhealthy again after reaching their ‘ideal or dream’ weight. A lot of reasons make it difficult to stay healthy and here are the most five common mistakes people make after losing a certain weight:
1 - Going back to their unhealthy eating habits:
Many people are not aware that the maintenance process post achieving a certain weight goal can be more challenging than the weight loss itself and requires more commitment and motivation. Hence, it is essential to follow the same lifestyle or otherwise it will be very easy to re-gain the weight lost and fall into the trap of yo-yo dieting! Below are a few lifestyle health tips to live by:
Water for life: Aim to drink at least 6 - 8 glasses of mineral water unless otherwise instructed by your physician. Beware of flavored water as it contains a large amount of sugar; rather make your own homemade infused water to help quench your thirst
- Keep a record! Jot down what you are eating and drinking into a food diary with the help of an app on your smart phone or just write them down onto a diary booklet
- Pack healthy snacks wherever you go. You will feel less hungry, and consume less unhealthy foods when you are on the go
- Eat from a plate and not from a container, this will allow you to visualize & control your portions
- Practice smart food swaps! Choose more often whole grain items instead of refined ones; limit intake of sugar, switch that skinny latte to a skinny capp!
- Plan ahead! Prepare your meals the night before to avoid temptations of ordering unhealthy meals whilst at work
- Allow yourself occasional treats but in moderation, minimize the consumption of junk foods and items high in refined sugars and unnecessary snacks
2 - Skipping meals:
Skipping means is one of the most common mistakes people make to either lose &/or maintain their weight. Eating on time and regularly helps your metabolism work properly. Never skip meals especially breakfast as it helps you kick start the fat burning process. Eat every 3 - 4 hours and always include healthy snacks to avoid consuming large meals
3 - Following Fad Diets:
Many people start following unhealthy diets that they find online or might have heard of from one of their friends or family. Some of these fad diets might be ketogenic diets (like Atkins, Dukan or are high in protein and fats and almost free from carbohydrates), South beach diets, cabbage soup diets and the list goes on! Such diets may work as a quick fix only and are not sustainable and most probably will result in a yo-yo weight
4 - Not fixing our emotional side of eating:
Many people eat in response to their emotional state. Before starting any diet routine, we should fix our emotional side of eating and separate between stress and food.
It is important for us to learn how to reduce our stress levels by using different tools other than food.
We can deliberate ourselves by doing simple things such as self-care, reading a book, going for walk, listening to music, reading a good book or watching a movie.
5 - Lack of physical activity:
Not only does exercise help us lose weight and burn the extra fat, but it also increases our metabolism, fitness level, improves one’s mood & productivity. Thus, it is very important to keep a steady & consistent activity level throughout the week and aim to achieve a total of at least 150 minutes per week or as directed by your physician.
Last but not least, and at the expense of sounding cheesy, “let food be thy medicine”! Complete, nutritious and balanced eating habits should help a person meet all their dietary requirements including the essential vitamins and minerals. Moderation in food consumption is needed in order to have the right balance whether we are trying to lose, gain or maintain our weight. Oh and don’t forget to exercise ;)
Yours in health,