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Your maintenance diet can include most kinds of food.
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Congratulations on losing weight and making eating changes that will last a lifetime. Now that you've reached your goal weight, you're probably wondering if you're stuck eating diet food forever. While you will still need to monitor your caloric intake, you can relax a bit when it comes to what kinds of food you eat. In fact, you can eat small amounts of whatever you want, as long as the bulk of your diet includes nutritious, low-calorie foods.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fruits and vegetables are highly nutritious and are low in calories, too. Add your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet, but don't overlook unsweetened frozen and canned fruits and vegetables because they're nutritious additions to your weight maintenance diet, too. They also fill you up so you're able to eat less food overall.
Fill up on high-energy foods to prevent yourself from overeating and gaining back the weight you just got done shedding. Eat whole grains because they're rich in fiber, which fills your stomach and helps you feel full more quickly. Whole grains also digest more slowly than grains that don't contain a lot of fiber, which means you won't be as hungry as quickly. Lean protein foods, such as white meat chicken, beans and nuts, are also energy-dense and digest slowly so you'll stay full longer.
Choose lower-calorie versions of your favorite foods. Reduced-fat milk, cheese and yogurt still supply a good dose of calcium and protein, but they contain less saturated fat and calories than their whole-milk counterparts. Make recipes, such as pasta and creamy soups, with these lower-fat and lower-calorie alternatives. Look for other reduced-fat and reduced-calorie versions of your favorite crackers, breakfast foods and meat, too.
Make room in your diet for the occasional splurge. If you prohibit yourself from eating a treat now and then, you'll spend a lot of time dreaming about splurging, which can lead to a free-for-all once you decide you must have the treat. Instead, have a small treat every few days to satisfy your cravings without negating all of your hard work. Have a square of dark chocolate, two or three bites of cake or a small handful of potato chips. The first two or three bites of any food usually taste the best anyway, so that's usually all you'll need to satisfy your craving.
Remember the importance of exercise. Burning calories through physical activity is equally as important to maintaining your weight loss as eating a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Don't return to your eating habits from before you lost weight. Those eating habits contributed to why you were overweight to begin with. Returning to them will cause the pounds to pile right back on.