Many people lose weight every day, but only a small percentage of them are actually keeping the weight off. What’s their secret to how to maintain the weight loss?
Healthy weight loss and maintenance is about thinking long-term. That means our nutrition must be good and optimized to sustain us for a lifetime. Here are some ways to get started.
Throw Out the Idea of Restriction and Fast Weight Loss
Undereating is not the solution to keeping the weight off. Nutrient optimization for weight maintenance is about nourishing your body and leaving it satisfied with real food.
When you drastically cut the calories and start working out ferociously, your body goes into famine mode and can actually start holding onto weight. This is where most people crash and burn—even if they have lost some weight.
Crash diets might bring some initial results, but they are short-term and not sustainable. Plus, extreme diets that cut out multiple food groups can lead to unwarranted physical and emotional stress that does not promote a healthy lifestyle in mind and body.
Instead, it’s far better, when we’re looking at how to maintain weight loss, to focus on a balanced, nutritious approach to weight loss and maintenance. This is where nutrient optimization enters the equation.
Emphasize Whole Foods for Optimized Nutrition
When your nutrition is good, your body is satisfied, fueled by the good stuff, and it’s in the right state to keep the weight off.
Whole foods like vegetables, fruits, healthy proteins, whole grains, and dairy (for some) are high in nutrients and low in empty calories. A diet full of whole foods not only prevents overeating and cravings while boosting metabolism, it also helps decrease the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
When you’re thinking about how to maintain weight loss realistically think: whole, real, fresh, local, unprocessed, and (as much as possible) organic and free of hormones and antibiotics. And make sure you’re getting enough nutrients.
Know Your Macronutrients
The three macronutrients to know are:
- Carbohydrates like fresh fruits and vegetables, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, and more
- Protein like beans and lentils, eggs, meats, fish, dairy, and nuts
- Fats like avocado, nuts and seeds, and olive oil
It’s best to get a balance of all macronutrients with each meal and snack, and to get them from whole foods like those listed above.
Know Your Micronutrients
Micronutrients are available in (and needed in) much smaller amounts than macronutrients. They are vitamins and minerals that we must get through food to be healthy.
Below are lists of the micronutrients and some best food sources to get them from.
- Vitamin A: sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, fish, dairy
- Vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12: leafy vegetables, bananas, meats, eggs, dairy, legumes, whole grains
- Vitamin C: citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels sprouts
- Vitamin D: sunlight, fatty fish, fortified milks and cereals
- Vitamin E: almonds, sunflower seeds, wheat germ
- Vitamin K: leafy greens, cauliflower, cabbage
- Calcium: almonds, leafy greens, dairy
- Chloride: salt, celery, seaweed
- Magnesium: pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, cashews
- Phosphorus: dairy, fish, meat, beans, nuts
- Potassium: spinach, beans, bananas
- Sodium: salt, packaged foods (should be limited)
- Sulfur: seafood, eggs, organ meats, nuts and seeds
The trace minerals:
- Copper: crab, liver, cashews
- Fluoride: black tea, fruit juice, crab
- Iodine: seaweed, yogurt, cod
- Iron: meats and fish, beans and lentils, dried apricots
- Manganese: brown rice, spinach, quinoa
- Selenium: Brazil nuts, fish and meats, cottage cheese, brown rice
- Zinc: beef, lamb, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils
As you can see, a varied, whole foods diet will help you get the vitamins and minerals needed to thrive.
Approaching How to Maintain Weight Loss Looks Different for Everyone
It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all for health and weight loss. That’s why Michael’s Naturopathic Program products are tailored to different life factors based on life stage and situation.
The Bottom Line
Everyone’s body and needs are a little different, but the same simple advice holds true: nutrient optimization through whole foods is the best approach to staying at a healthy weight and living well for a lifetime.