Losing weight is one of the most rewarding accomplishments, but once you have achieved your goal weight, the work doesn’t stop. Studies vary, but experts suggest that somewhere between two-thirds and 90 percent of those who lose a significant amount of weight gain it all back plus more within two to three years of reaching their goal.
The good news is that you don`t have to be one of them. Exercise just may be the key to helping you maintain your initial weight loss, not only by helping you burn calories and keeping your metabolism functioning at peak efficiency, but also by keeping your mood elevated so that you don`t fall into the trap of emotional eating.
The best exercise program to follow in order to maintain your weight loss is one that is both intense and varied. When you do the same type of workout over and over, your body becomes accustomed to it and it stops being a challenge, both physically and mentally. Varying your workouts challenges your body in new ways and keeps your mind fresh and your enthusiasm levels high.
Your exercise program should include at least 35 minutes of aerobic activity, seven days per week. This can be accomplished through walking, running, cycling, swimming, dancing, taking workout classes or playing an active sport such as tennis or soccer. You can increase the duration of your workouts and cut back on the frequency as long as you don`t fall below 60 minutes per day between three and five days per week.
Strength training is also necessary to build and maintain lean muscle tissue. Your metabolism slows down any time you lose weight and can stay at the slower level for as long as a year after you have reached your goal weight. That means you have to be scrupulous about counting calories to ensure that the weight doesn`t creep back on.
Building lean muscle tissue helps your body burn calories more efficiently, even when it is at rest. This can work in your favor on days when your calorie counts get a little out of hand and help to keep your body from slowing your metabolism down on days when you skip a meal.
Strength training can include calisthenics such as push-ups, crunches and other exercises using your body as well as those requiring free weights, kettle bells or exercise machines. In order to be effective, you must do eight to ten different exercises and repeat each one 10 to 12 times, three times every week.
The best way to maintain a healthy weight is to enjoy an active lifestyle. Follow all of the traditional hints such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator in addition to consistent aerobic exercise, strength training and counting calories, but also make sure that you move just for the fun of it.
Try a new sport every month, check out DVDs from the library or swap them with friends. Get a group together and play soccer, rugby, baseball, touch football or even have limbo contests anything to get your heart pumping and to remind you that having a fit and healthy body has benefits aside from a smaller clothing size.
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