If you recently shed some unwanted pounds, you're probably feeling proud of yourself — as you should be! But you may also be worried about keeping the weight off, especially when planning meals or eating out. But you'll be happy to know, that depriving yourself of food is not the best way to maintain weight loss.
Adding exercise into your daily routine has a much greater effect. A March 2019 study published in Obesity found that "weight-loss maintainers" relied on physical activity — as opposed to chronic restriction of food — to avoid regaining weight. For context, a "successful" maintainer in this study is someone who has maintained a reduced weight of at least 30 pounds for over a year.
"This study addresses the difficult question of why so many people struggle to keep weight off over a long period," said Danielle Ostendorf, PhD, in a press release. "By providing evidence that a group of successful weight-loss maintainers engages in high levels of physical activity to prevent weight regain — rather than chronically restricting their energy intake — is a step forward to clarifying the relationship between exercise and weight-loss maintenance."
But if you are someone who has lost weight, you may have to up your workout game a little more than someone whose weight hasn't fluctuated. The results showed, the weight-loss maintainers burned a significantly higher amount of calories per day (300 kcal) than people with a normal body weight. These findings were also supported by the fact that weight-loss maintainers tended to take more steps per day (12,000) than participants with a normal weight (9,000) and people who were overweight or obese (6,500).
This could seem unfair or just the motivation you need to hit the gym. The plus side, you can reward yourself with a delicious meal after you sweat. Anyone else ready to get moving? We know we are!