Trying to lose weight but struggling? We hear you. But don’t lose heart – you’re likely in one of the four stages of weight loss.
A small study from the University of Copenhagen showed that if you can maintain your weight loss for one year, your body may stop ramping up the hunger hormones that typically make the kilograms return. Past research indicates that those ravenous chemicals persist after you drop fat, though, so more investigating needs to be done. But this got us thinking: What are the other crucial stages in your weight-loss journey?
Day 1 – set a goal
To lean out for life, set a realistic goal. “You can see great improvements in health by losing between five and 15% of your body weight, and you’re more likely to keep those kilos off,” says Donna Ryan, an obesity researcher at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
5 Weeks – you’re in the zone
Ghrelin, a hormone that revs appetite, begins to spike after you start cutting kilojoules, making it hard to stick to your plan. Stay satiated by “keeping low-kilojoule foods around, like vegetables and fruits, to snack on when your stomach growls,” says Dr Robert Kushner, an obesity specialist at Northwestern University.
6 months – you’re bored
Bored with eating the same foods over and over again? Yeah, it’s bound to happen now. Mix up your meals (by, say, adding back brown rice to lunch if you’ve been low-carbing) – the wiggle room will make you less likely to bail, says Dr Kushner.
9 months – success!
By this point, you’re probably settling at a manageable weight. Shift your focus from cutting food kilojoules (tough to do forever) to burning the kilojoules you consume by upping exercise. “Aim for an hour a day of moderate activity, six days a week, to keep weight off long-term,” says Ryan.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za
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