Many of us get stuck at a certain weight after a long period of dieting. The dilemma of how to maintain or stay with same type of food habits for life keeps them in an ambiguous situation. While few go on a wild binge eating spree and end up ruining all their efforts, few continue with the same determination and go ahead and aim for more. This cycle keeps on going in a loop for every other person, but at some point we need to know how to maintain the fitness level that we have achieved!
To start with, etch it in your mind that it’s going to be a lifestyle change; so the more ready you are to accept the change, the easier it becomes to leave that typical ‘Only –fiber rich Indian diet.’
Jot down these few pointers, which I am sure will be helpful for you:
- Always remember, higher your maintenance calories, easier it will be to maintain the weight. To lose fats, it’s important that you stay in a deficit, but it’s more important to quickly raise your calories and get some window for yourself once you have achieved a certain goal(Imagine there are two people, A and B; A has a maintenance of around 3000kcal, while B has around 1400kcal. It is quite easy to understand that A has the luxury to eat a lot and stay fit whereas B would always be in a state of worry of getting fat.)
- Following the above point, how to reach a higher maintenance? Well, exercise regularly and increase your activity levels, and when I say exercise regularly, I would definitely emphasize more on strength training as that is one of the contributing factors in improving the metabolism.
- Identify the percentage of body fat that you can maintain easily. If you want to be a guy with around 10 % body fat, obviously the maintenance would come at a cost. You need to be that strict as well. The protein intake, the rest and overall training has to be monitored regularly.
- Ideally, for an average individual, the best way would be to keep protein around 1.3-1.8 times of your body weight during maintenance, and rest you can adjust with carbohydrates and fats. This can vary though depending upon the individual body type and condition.
How to do this?
- Consider a person with weight of around 60 kgs. Once he has achieved his goal, he just needs to maintain his muscle mass or rather the healthy weight range, along with optimum energy levels. So it’s pretty easy to calculate that he should primarily focus on keeping his protein intake around that. Rest can be adjusted with carbs and fats. So while preparing a plan, include some 20-30 gm protein in each meal along with some quantified portion of fats and carbs.
- Following the 80-20 % rule – Keep 80 % of your daily intake with clean sources, rest 20 % can be adjusted with some out of the box food items. But keep a close watch on your progress and condition, so that you don’t fall off the wagon.
- Start tracking your calories even during maintenance, at least till you come to know of your maintenance calories. Also, start checking the nutrition labels of the food packets apart from the price and quantity.
- Fighting off the weekends – Plan your days in advance, so that you can choose the items smartly while dining out. (I make sure to go for rigorous workout before dining out on weekends, it’s better to reward yourself rather than working extra in guilt). Eg- choosing some grilled food or protein rich sources should be good, or may be cut down the food items from the plan, and have the carbs guilt free in the restaurant. These days we have so many food related apps, one can also check out the suitable places that would serve the items in advance( Be smart).
- What if I stop the exercising? – Well, wonder what would happen if you stop brushing your teeth! You want to maintain your fitness, you simply have to do it. Not necessarily everyday, but follow a routine that fits in your timeline and that you can be regular with.
Try it out, to see if this works.
Author credits – Shanu Shashank