Your jeans are a little to snug or there’s a little jiggle on the back of your arms. Maybe your muffin top has returned.
Almost everyone goes through periods of weight gain, but how you handle it helps determine if it’s a bump in the road or a major setback. Do not fall into the trap of believing that all is lost if you gain weight. Far too often we see people give up completely after gaining fairly small amounts of weight. We want to help you keep a molehill from becoming a mountain.
So, take a deep breath, relax, and read through the following six tips to help you stop your weight gain from destroying all your hard work.
- Stop weighing yourself every hour. Weighing yourself constantly only reminds you of a negative. Losing weight is a process that takes time, losing two pounds per week is considered the safe standard. To make matters worse, you can weight can vary during the course of the day due to hormones, water retention, or even the time of day. If you must weigh yourself, only do so once in the morning (or at night) each day. Use your daily weigh in as one measure of your progress, not your only measure. How your clothes fit, how you look in the mirror, and how you feel should also be considered.
- Don’t jump from diet to diet. Studies show that the most effective diet is the one you will follow faithfully. Surprisingly there was little difference between diet plans (South Beach, Paleo, etc), but the biggest factor in success or failure was people just sticking with it. So don’t worry about which diet plan is best, figure out which one best fits your lifestyle and go with it.
- Don’t buy a new wardrobe. You may have to buy a few new clothes so that you can feel comfortable, but by no means should you take all your clothes out in the front yard and have a bonfire. Keep those skinny jeans or that favorite top around as a reminder of where you are headed. Try them on from time to time so that you can feel the progress you are making towards fitting into them again.
- Don’t beat yourself up. You gained weight. It’s done. Unfortunately beating yourself up doesn’t count as exercise. Calling yourself names or engaging in negative self-talk will doom your efforts to lose the weight. Research shows that people who practice self compassion are more likely to change their behavior, and changing your behavior is really what needs to happen if you are to lose the weight. Accept your weight gain, then turn your attention to all the positive things you are doing to lose the weight.
- Keep exercising. Do not give up exercise! A reasonable cardio program coupled with a strength training program will help you lose the weight faster and help build habits to keep it off. Do not overdo it! Killing yourself in the gym will increase your chances for injury, and it will likely burn you out leaving you further behind than when you started.
- Don’t skip meals or start fasting. Fasting is generally bad no matter what. Skipping meals is also bad. If your body thinks it is being starved crazy things start happening. Eating at leas 3 good meals per day will help keep you from getting hungry and it will keep your blood sugar levels constant. Skipping meals causes your blood sugar to drop and increases the odds that you will go looking for large quantities of crappy foods. As odd as it sounds, starvation or fasting is the worst way to lose weight. Your body needs good fuel to burn fat and maintain healthy body functions.
Gaining weight is not the end of the world, even if it feels that way at first. The quickest way to get back on track is to relax and figure out a sensible plan. Jumping on the scale every hour, fasting, or burning your skinny jeans in the driveway will not help. Getting some exercise, eating properly, and being compassionate with yourself are far better ways to get back on track.